People of the Clay: Contemporary Cherokee Potters Exhibit | Cherokee, NC

How will Cherokee affect you?

“People of the Clay: Contemporary Cherokee Potters” Exhibit

As a medium, clay is a treasure to both artists and archaeologists. In the hands of a gifted Cherokee potter, like those spotlighted in the Museum’s latest exhibit, “People of the Clay: Contemporary Cherokee Potters,” clay is a wonderfully malleable artistic medium, allowing the artist to create the distinctive slopes, swirls, and curves of decorative elements––then, as it hardens, it eventually takes on the rigidity that makes pottery so functional. Archaeologists note that, because clay has been used by so many people in so many parts of the world over such a long stretch of time, we can study and link the progression of various cultures with the medium, learning important aspects of diet and civilization, for instance, along the way. “People of the Clay” will feature the work of more than sixty Cherokee potters from 1900 to the present, displaying more than one hundred pieces of pottery from the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians and the Cherokee Nation.

“This exhibit is an attempt to trace Cherokee pottery from its humble beginnings to its prestigious place in the Native American art world,” said Lambert Wilson, guest curator and member of the board of directors of the Museum. “Hopefully this exhibit will inspire others to collect and create pottery and art of any form; and in some small way help to preserve and celebrate the culture of the Cherokee people.” 

Well-known potters like the Bigmeat family from the Qualla Boundary, Amanda Swimmer, and Cora Wahnetah are included, and the exhibit also displays for the first time pottery by Amanda Crowe. Known internationally for her woodcarving, Crowe also made pottery with the same smooth, modernistic lines. From the Cherokee Nation, Anna Mitchell, Jane Osti, Bill Glass, and others are included.  Throughout the next year, the Museum will be offering pottery workshops and special events in conjunction with the exhibit.

Included with your ticket purchase to the Museum of the Cherokee Indian.
CHILDREN (6-13): $7 (kids under 5 are free)

Museum of the Cherokee Indian
589 Tsali Blvd.
Cherokee, NC 28719

For more information:
828.497.3481 ext. 1003


Qualla Arts and Crafts Mutual, Inc.

It’s difficult to find authentic, handcrafted art in today’s world. Luckily, it has been a Cherokee tradition for centuries. Qualla Arts and Crafts Mutual, Inc. is the oldest Native American cooperative in the country, with over 350 juried artisans creating traditional Cherokee masks, pottery, baskets, jewelry, and much more. Qualla gives you the chance to hold history in your hands, and even take it home.

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