Alterna-Fair Artist Event Scheduled in Place of Cancelled Indian Fair | Cherokee, NC

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Alterna-Fair Artist Event Scheduled in Place of Cancelled Indian Fair

The Alterna-Fair is a new event taking place at the Museum of the Cherokee Indian, October 5-10, from 10 am to 4 pm, featuring Cherokee artists and musicians who will be demonstrating their crafts and selling their wares. It was created as an alternative to the 108th Annual Cherokee Indian Fair, which was cancelled due to COVID-19. 

The Alterna-Fair will be set up in the lobby of the museum, or outside, weather permitting. Visitors can chat with the artists on hand, watch how they make their art, and purchase one-of-a-kind handmade goods.  

The Alterna-Fair is free, but admission to see the museum exhibits is ticketed. Masks are required for entry in the museum and social distancing is observed. 

Alterna-Fair Artist Schedule

Monday, October 5

Enjoy traditional Cherokee flute music from Mathew Tooni (pictured above). Mathew has acted in and played traditional Cherokee flute for Unto These Hills, the historical Cherokee outdoor drama. In 2017, he received a Native American Music Award nomination (NAMMY) for his album, Through Their Eyes, Vol 1. 

Nathan Bush, from the Snowbird Community in Cherokee, will also be on hand demonstrating traditional copper work. Nathan’s work is displayed in the hospital in Cherokee and at Qualla Arts and Crafts Coop. Since 2015, he’s demonstrated metal arts at the Oconaluftee Indian Village, and sold his copper work at the Cherokee Indian Fair.  

Tuesday, October 6

Charlie Jumper, a member of the Long Hair Clan in Cherokee, will demonstrate traditional copper work and woodburning techniques. His copper medallion shown above illustrates the water spider, a well-known symbol in the Cherokee creation story, credited for bringing fire to earth.  

Wednesday, October 7

Meet master artists Butch Goings and Lousie Goings. Butch is a woodcarver and Louise (pictured at the top of this blog) is a basketmaker from a very distinguished family of basketmakers. They have been married for over 50 years. Butch and Louise’s work can also be seen at Qualla Arts and Crafts Mutual, Inc., where they have been members since the 60s. 

Another artistic couple, Missy Crowe and Simon Crowe, will also be displaying their crafts. Missy makes beautiful corn husk dolls (see above) that are representative of Cherokee regalia and lifestyle. Simon is a skilled wood carver.

Thursday, October 8

Meet the Atsila Anotasgi Cultural Specialists (pictured above), a group of highly knowledgeable and skilled culture keepers for Cherokee, based out of the museum. Their name means “fire builders” and their mission is to share traditional aspects of Cherokee culture with the rest of the world. Learn more here

Friday, October 9

Jenn Bird will display traditional beadwork, including beaded jewelry (shown above), as well as laser engraved goods. Jenn is making the beaded royal crowns for the next Miss Cherokee, Teen Miss Cherokee, Junior Miss Cherokee, and Little Miss Cherokee winners. Each crown can take up to a month and a half to make, and Jenn will have one, in progress, to share with attendees. 

Waylon Long and Michelle Long are accomplished artists specializing in traditional Cherokee crafts. Waylon does woodcarving, including stickball sticks, and Michelle, who has also made the crowns for previous Miss Cherokee pageant winners, will demonstrate traditional beadwork.

Alicia Wildcatt will be showing her handmade silver jewelry, which she sells under the name Greybeard metalsmithing. Alica takes traditional Cherokee symbols, like the Cherokee syllabary as the seven clans, and makes beautiful jewelry inspired by those elements. See one of her syllabary necklaces below. 

Saturday, October 10

Reuben Teesateskie and Monk Walkingstick will demonstrate and sell their woodcarvings. Both Rueben and Monk have masks in the current museum exhibit, Many Faces: A Cherokee Mask Exhibit, which showcases traditional Cherokee masks, as well as the traditions and customs behind their creation and use.

Blake Wachacha is an artist specializing in resin crafts. She makes accessories and household items in vibrant colors with glitter and beads suspended in resin. 

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