Sherron continues family tradition of loom weaving

BY LINDSEY BARK
Reporter
04/28/2020 11:30 AM
Main Cherokee Phoenix
Cherokee Nation Emma Sherron holds her loom woven piece that she donated for the Cherokee Phoenix’s quarterly giveaway. Taking about eight hours to complete, the piece is a 21-inch-by-11-inch wall hanging with a diamond pattern. Sherron learned to loom weave three years ago and continues making projects. COURTESY
Main Cherokee Phoenix
Cherokee Nation citizen Emma Sherron works on a project on her grandmother’s loom. She has been loom weaving, a tradition in her family, for the past three years. She learned to weave from her great aunt, Cherokee National Treasure Dorothy Ice, who is known for the art. COURTESY
Main Cherokee Phoenix
A loom shows a project in mid-creation by Cherokee Nation citizen Emma Sherron. The project is being woven using a diamond pattern. COURTESY
TAHLEQUAH – Cherokee Nation citizen and 15-year-old Emma Sherron has been loom weaving for the past three years. She started by taking a class from her great aunt, Cherokee National Treasure Dorothy Ice, who is a well-known loom weaver.

“I started weaving about three years ago, and my great aunt was teaching a class, and my grandma decided to take my sister and I. We went during Thanksgiving break and that’s how we both started getting into it,” she said.

Sherron said loom weaving is a “style of art” that involves a loom, yarn and patterns to create different loomed items.

“There are many different shapes and sizes of looms, which create the different woven pieces. But the size you choose limits the size of the piece you want to create,” she said. “These pieces, using yarn, can be woven into coasters, ‘mug rugs,’ bookmarks, scarves, wall hangings, shawls, table runners and various sizes of blankets.”

Sherron said she uses her grandmother’s various-sized looms to practice.

“I do not, unfortunately, have my own personal loom because they are rather expensive. But I do thankfully have access to my grandmother’s collection of looms that she lets me use at any time,” she said. “A loom consists of many different parts such as the wooden frame, heddles, wire reeds, pedals, shuttle, cloth roller, warp wheel, warp roller and levers. These together raise and lower the loom to create a pattern with your choice of colors.”

She said loom weaving patterns also vary, some harder to learn than others.

“The easiest design to learn and start with is a straight or traditional weave. That is the pattern I first learned,” Sherron said. “But more recently I have learned how to create with the herring bone and diamond pattern, such as my piece from last year’s Cherokee Art Market Youth competition. That was the first herring bone pattern I created.”

The design she donated to the Cherokee Phoenix for its quarterly giveaway is a burgundy, tan and cream-colored wall hanging, 21 inches by 11 inches in size, and has a diamond pattern, which she said was harder to learn. She said it took her about eight hours to complete.

“This piece I am donating is my first piece with the diamond design. But there are several other designs and patterns that can be created, but those require a different type of warp,” Sherron said.

She said loom weaving spans back generations when Cherokees first learned to weave.

“That is one reason most school children were taught to weave, they used blankets and shawls to keep warm. Cherokees have been weaving for many generations. It is also usually passed down from one generation to the next.”

Sherron said loom weaving is a family tradition, which is a reason she wanted to learn.

“My great aunt is Dorothy Ice, and it’s kind of a family thing as well, wanting to keep the tradition of weaving in the family, just wanting to keep it going,” she said.
About the Author
Lindsey Bark grew up and resides in the Tagg Flats community in Delaware County. She graduated magna cum laude from Northeastern State University in 2012 with a bachelor’s degree in mass communication, emphasizing ...
lindsey-bark@cherokee.org • 918-772-4223
Lindsey Bark grew up and resides in the Tagg Flats community in Delaware County. She graduated magna cum laude from Northeastern State University in 2012 with a bachelor’s degree in mass communication, emphasizing ...

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