Learning a Lost Art

Cherokee Beadwork Expert to Lead TMA Workshop


August 9, 2010 (TYLER, TX) – The Tyler Museum of Art will host a Cherokee Beadwork Workshop on Sunday, August 15, 2010 in the TMA classroom. The workshop will be led by leading Cherokee beadwork expert and artist Martha Berry, whose own artworks are on view in the current exhibition Cherokee Beadwork: Finding a Lost Art. The class lasts from 1:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m. and costs $30 per person. Some materials will be provided, but participants need to bring basic supplies listed below. Space is limited and advance reservations are required.

Traditional beading techniques once used by members of the Cherokee people were once all but lost, that is until Mrs. Berry began a personal pursuit to discover information about her own Cherokee heritage. As she uncovered information about the Cherokee nation, she realized that there was very little information remaining about the intricate beading style and technique they employed. After years of research and study, Mrs. Berry is one of the few experts in this field of study and artistic practice.

In the workshop, Mrs. Berry will teach participants the history of this art form as well as several techniques such as single bead edging, two-needle appliqué, and two-bead flat stitch (time permitting) used to make Cherokee beaded purses. The participants are asked to bring the following supplies easily purchased either at stores like Hobby Lobby or a fabric store at modest cost: one twelve-inch embroidery hoop; one-half yard inexpensive muslin cloth; one spool all-purpose thread, any color; one or two regular hand sewing needles; one felt square, any color; one hank or tube of size 10 or 11 seed beads, any color; and one thimble, if the participant is accustomed to using one.

The instructor will provide other materials such as beading needles (size 12), Bee’s wax, pins, scissors, binding to practice edging technique, handouts with photos and information about Cherokee beadwork, and pattern/instructions for two styles of Cherokee beaded purses, which the participants can pursue on their own after the workshop.

The workshop is being held on the last day that both Cherokee Beadwork: Finding a Lost Art and The American Indian through the Eyes of Edward S. Curtis are open to the public. The American Indian through the Eyes of Edward S. Curtis is organized by the Tyler Museum of Art and is sponsored by the Jean and Graham Devoe Williford Charitable Trust. Cherokee Beadwork: Finding a Lost Art is organized by the TMA, guest-curated by Martha Berry and sponsored by Hibbs-Hallmark Company. The Tyler Museum of Art is supported by its members, Tyler Junior College, and the City of Tyler.

The Tyler Museum of Art, accredited by the American Association of Museums, is located at 1300 S. Mahon Ave., adjacent to the Tyler Junior College campus off East Fifth Street. Regular hours are 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday, and 1 to 5 p.m. Sunday. (The Museum is closed Mondays and major holidays.) Lunch is available in the Museum Café from 11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. Tuesday through Friday, and the TMA Gift Shop is open during exhibition hours. For more information, call (903) 595-1001 or visit www.tylermuseum.org.