Dreadfulwater continues loom-weaving tradition
Cherokee Nation citizen and loom weaver Janice Dreadfulwater stands by a loom with a blanket she donated to the Cherokee Phoenix as the 2018 first-quarter giveaway. Dreadfulwater has loom weaved for about 15 years, learning from her sister-in-law and Cherokee National Treasure Dorothy Dreadfulwater Ice. The blanket will be given away April 2. LINDSEY BARK/CHEROKEE PHOENIX
A “Handmade by Janice Dreadfulwater” tag is sewn onto a loom-woven blanket donated to the Cherokee Phoenix for its first 2018 quarterly giveaway. The drawing for the handmade blanket is April 2. LINDSEY BARK/CHEROKEE PHOENIX
TAHLEQUAH – For the past 15 years, Cherokee Nation citizen Janice Dreadfulwater has been perfecting the craft of loom weaving that she learned from her sister-in-law and Cherokee National Treasure, Dorothy Dreadfulwater Ice.
Since she was 5 years old, Dreadfulwater said she’s always “dabbled” in some type of craftsmanship.
“I was sewing when I was like 5 years (old), making doll clothes. My first (craft) was sewing. Then I went over to crochet and cross-stitch. I’ve done some silversmithing, and I’ve done some beadwork. You know, I’ve dabbled in a lot of areas,” Dreadfulwater said.
Once she learned how to loom weave, she said she thoroughly enjoyed it.
“My first attempt was awkward, of course. But once I got the hang of it, it started going really fast,” she said. “It was just addictive.”
In a two-month span, she said she made approximately 20 loom-woven blankets.
Aside from making blankets, she makes scarves and shawls, but blankets are her specialty.
To loom weave, Dreadfulwater said she uses Ice’s loom. However, she’s making her own loom.
“One of my projects is to get my big loom together and hopefully have a place that I can put it. You’ve got to have the space in order to do it,” she said. “I’m in the process of putting one together. I’ve got the frame made, but as far as the hardware, that’s hard to locate for a larger loom.”
She said loom weaving one quilt can take anywhere from a day to a day and a half. “It takes (time) to get it all set up to start weaving, which I don’t like that part, but it’s necessary. The fun part is actually weaving.”
Dreadfulwater said she uses diamond, herringbone and non-traditional patterns in her work and different-sized yarn. She also said she’s never marketed her creations and has only sold one blanket. She said she mostly makes them for “enjoyment.”
“I’m proud to carry on the traditions that the Cherokee people have established and to be creative,” she said. “I just hope that whoever receives the blanket respects what labor of love that went into the project.”
Her donation to the Phoenix is a blanket with a diamond pattern. The drawing will be held April 2. For every $10 spent on elder fund donations, subscriptions or merchandise, one entry is entered in the quarterly giveaway drawing.
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