Heritage Center holds exhibit open house, reception Feb. 25

An open house and reception will be held 2:30 to 4 p.m. Sunday, Feb. 25, for “Cherokee Baskets and Their Makers,” an exhibit currently on display at Western Carolina University’s Mountain Heritage Center.

Organized by guest curator Steve Lott, the exhibit features more than 100 baskets on loan from regional collectors in the four major Cherokee basketry traditions of river cane, white oak, honeysuckle and maple. Cherokee basketmakers Louise Goings, Lucille Lossiah and Ramona Lossiah will demonstrate their craft during the Feb. 25 event.

Made primarily by Cherokee women using materials gathered from the native landscape, baskets have been a part of Cherokee life and legend for centuries. Featuring baskets that date from the 19th and 20th centuries, the exhibit showcases the works of basketmakers Ramona Baith, Ollie Bigwitch, Nancy Bradley, Rowena Bradley, Nancy Conseen, Lillian Crowe, Emma Garrett, Ollie George, Ollie Hornbuckle, Pauline Taylor Junaluska, Lucille Lossiah, Mary Jane Lossiah, Mollie Lossiah, Ramona Lossiah, Emily Smith, Mary Tramper, Agnes Welch, Carol Welch, Maidena Wildcatt and Eva Wolfe.

Two other events are planned in conjunction with the exhibit. A basketmaking workshop led by Katrina Maney will be held 2:30 to 4:30 p.m. Sunday, March 25, at the museum. Interested individuals can purchase a white oak wall basket kit for $45. Class size is limited, and participants must pre-register by Monday, March 12.

On Sunday, April 29, from 2:30 to 3:30 p.m., the former and current directors of Qualla Arts and Crafts Inc., Betty Dupree and Vickie Ledford, will discuss the qualities they look for in acquiring Cherokee baskets in a program titled “The Connoisseurship of Collecting: Cherokee Baskets.”

The “Cherokee Baskets and Their Makers” exhibit will remain on display at the Mountain Heritage Center through Monday, April 30.

The Mountain Heritage Center is located on the first floor of WCU’s H.F. Robinson Administration Building. For more information, call (828) 227-7129 or visit the Mountain Heritage Center on the Web.