Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Bears on the Streets of Cherokee, NC

We spent much of today with my sister, Judy, and her husband, Vern. They drove up from Simpsonville, SC, and we met them in Cherokee, NC. We began getting caught up on the past few years by heading to Grandma's for lunch--Grandma's Pancake & Steak Restaurant. Our photograph was taken by Fauzia, our server, a very pleasant young woman from Indonesia.

After lunch we headed to Qualla Arts and Crafts where a variety of the creative works of members of the Eastern Band of the Cherokee Indians are on display. Among the variety of artistic works are the decorative, skillfuly-woven baskets that have replaced the more functional bushel baskets once used for measuring and storing their farm produce.

Qualla Arts and Crafts Mtual, Inc., the result of the growth of a cooperative begun in 1946, is primarily responsible for keeping alive the arts and crafts of the Eastern Band of the Cherokee Indians.

These baskets caught our attention because of their beauty and the quality of the workmanship. The one on the right won first place at the Cherokee Indian Fair.

While at Qualla, we learned that about 15 bears have appeared on the streets of Cherokee and that this number was expected to grow.

Fortunately, these bears are fiberglass bears decorated by Cherokee artists. "What's most important is that each one tells a story inspired by our tribal artists," says George Lambert, director of marketing for Cherokee Travel & Tourism, as reported by Linda Lange. Three of the bears are pictured below.

"Eagle Dancer Bear" by Lora Powell.

"Sequoyah Syllabeary" by Charles Saunooke. The title refers to the written language and alphabet of the Cherokee language developed by Sequoyah. More on this person in a later entry.

"Cherokee Sunset" by Joel Queen.

Bears in downtown Cherokee--what a beautiful sight.

1 comment:

Reina said...

Oh wow! I haven't seen Judy or Vern in years! How fun to see them and you all together. The baskets you pictured are wonderful. That is an art form I have considered learning as I love using baskets and they are so decorative too. Thanks for sharing this!