A new book by Anna Fariello of Western Carolina University’s Hunter Library examines carvers active among the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians in the early to mid 20th century.
The 66-page “Cherokee Carving,” on sale through the Qualla Arts and Crafts Mutual and the Museum of the Cherokee Indian, gives an overview of carving as a Cherokee tradition, including the creation of pipes, masks and figures, and touches on the bas relief technique, which produces a two-dimensional image on a flat plane. The last half of the book is devoted to short biographies of nine individual Eastern Band carvers.
Most of the carvers concentrated on wood, although one, the self-taught John Julius Wilnoty (b. 1940), is famed for his work in stone. Many spent their formative years on the Qualla Boundary while others, such as Goingback Chiltoskey (1907-2000), Amanda Crowe (1928- 2004) and Will West Long (1870-1947), spent years away from Cherokee while they honed their skills. Crowe, for instance, the lone female featured in the book, studied sculpture in Mexico with Jose de Creeft, the artist who created the Alice in Wonderland statue in New York’s Central Park.