Cherokee basket maker to offer class in OKC

11/25/2019 08:30 AM
Main Cherokee Phoenix
Mary Aitson
OKLAHOMA CITY – Red Earth Art Center presents a basket-weaving workshop led by award winning Cherokee basket-weaver Mary Aitson from 10 a.m. to 3 p.n. on Dec. 7.

The workshop is presented in conjunction with Red Earth Treefest on exhibit Dec. 4-13 at the OSU-OKC Student Center at 900 N. Portland.

Aitson, a Cherokee Nation citizen, was named the 2018 Red Earth Honored One, an award bestowed upon a Native master visual artist whose support of Indian art has been substantial throughout their life. She lives in Woodward where she is retired from teaching sixth grade for 38 years in Kansas and Oklahoma.

Aitson became a traditional basket maker more than 20 years ago after studying under previous Red Earth Honored One Mavis Doering. She also studied under Cherokee National Treasure, Thelma Forest, and worked with Cherokee basketry master Eunice O’Field. She works with cultural designs and native materials including honeysuckle and buck brush. Her choices of natural dyes include black walnut and bloodroot as well as blueberries, elderberries and pokeberries.

Aitson embraces a spectrum of basketry mediums and has produced pieces in palm using both commercial dyes as well as non-traditional natural dyes like red onionskins and peach leaves. Her baskets have been in the gallery at the Southern Plains Indian Museum in Anadarko, Kirkpatrick Galleries in Oklahoma City, Plains Indians and Pioneers Museum in Woodward, and the Red Earth Art Center in Oklahoma City.

Aitson participates in the annual Red Earth Festival art market and has been an exhibitor at Santa Fe Indian Market for more than 15 years. She has demonstrated basket weaving at the Philbrook Museum of Art in Tulsa and on the “Artrain USA” sponsored by the Oklahoma Arts Council during the train’s stop in Woodward.

Workshop participants will create a small to medium sized double-walled Cherokee basket. A class fee of $65 includes all materials. Class size is limited and participants are urged to bring a spray bottle, towel and a sack lunch. To register and learn more visit or call (405) 427-5228. Registration deadline is Dec. 2.


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