One of the few remaining American Indian makers of double-weave baskets will demonstrate her craft for the public during a visit to the University of South Alabama’s Alfred and Lucile Delchamps Archeology Building on Monday, May 18.
Mary Thompson is visiting the University to deliver three of her baskets, which are made from river cane. The baskets will be displayed in the Delchamps Archeology Museum when exhibit construction is completed in 2010. She will also be delivering a wooden corn mortar and pestle. All the items were made using traditional Cherokee methods. The pieces were commissioned by the University’s Center for Archaeological Studies and purchased with the support of private gifts.
The program will begin at 5 p.m. with a presentation by Thompson’s brother, Kevin Welch, who is an expert on heirloom plants and traditional gardening.
At 6 p.m., Thompson will talk about her baskets and demonstrate some of the techniques she uses. Cherokee artist Jim Long will display a large woven river cane mat, which will also become part of the museum’s exhibits.
Thompson, Long and Welch are from Cherokee, N.C., and they are members of the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians.
Dr. Greg Waselkov, director of the University’s Center for Archaeological Studies, said the items will be a welcome addition to the center’s new exhibition space.
“They will help to preserve and interpret ancient cultural traditions still practiced by native peoples in the Southeast,” Waselkov said. “It has been a privilege to work with Cherokee artists and elders on this exceptional educational project.”
All of the Cherokee presentations at USA are free and open to the public.
Light refreshments will be served.