Native Crafts

We spent Saturday and Sunday in Tahlequah at the Cherokee National Holiday, and I’m so glad we went.  I thought I might post yesterday with some reflection, but there’s still processing going on in that department, so I’ll wait a bit longer.

While there, we browsed through all the arts and crafts booths and art shows.  There’s lots of jewelry, but I get a feeling that basket weaving and pottery were main crafts.  Also, there were delightful gourd masks, beautiful wooden flutes, drums and dress.

The pottery has inspired me.  I’ll admit that watching the hand-building and seeing the works in the art shows convinced me not to give up on pottery altogether.  Maybe I just need to work off the wheel.  I also feel like we could try to pit fire some pieces (after first firing them in the kiln to give them a better chance of making it!).  Here is one example of Cherokee pottery, but most at the art shows were done in the blackware style, I guess.  (Both are examples from Joel Queen, who apparently is a prominent artist in this tradition.)

I’m hoping that all the jewelry inspired my daughter, who has lots of jewelry-making supplies.  Or maybe she’d like to try basket weaving.  The demonstrator said she used commercial dyes on commercial reeds, but on natural reeds, she used natural dyes just because that felt right and was in line with what she was taught.

I believe that creating is in all our heritages.  Beauty of creation itself is a gift and one we have the privilege of sort of re-enacting . . . on a very small scale.  Our real gift may just be the conscious appreciation of the act and the joy in sharing our divine inspiration with others.

(basket photo by cherokeebasketweaver from

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