The Haywood County Arts Council has been celebrating Cherokee arts and culture month. Many different artists have had the opportunity to display their art and even perform demonstrations. Betty Maney will demonstrate her basket-making skills from 10 a.m.-noon on Saturday, June 22 at Haywood County Arts Council in Waynesville.

Betty Maney makes white oak baskets, pottery, Cherokee dolls and a variety of beadwork pieces.

Growing up in the Big Cove community, Betty Maney learned basketry from watching her mother. Betty Maney’s mother had learned basketry from her mother-in-law, Annie Powell Welch.

“God gave me the talent of basketmaking in the early years as a little girl,” said Maney. “It was then that I began to pay close attention to the details of how Mom would construct her white oak baskets.”

After living in Florida for a spell, Maney returned to Cherokee in 1982 with a family of her own. She gradually began to reconnect with Cherokee arts and crafts. She began making white oak baskets again.

When she became interested in pottery, she sought out Amanda Swimmer and learned from her, as well as from her own sister-in-law, Melissa Ann Maney.

“If I like something, I just start asking questions of people, then reading and learning,” she said.

Betty Maney has demonstrated basketry and beadwork in the northern U.S. and in Australia, as well as locally.

Along with Maney, Joshua and Lauren Adams will demonstrate their wood carving from 3-5 p.m. on Saturday, June 29.

Joshua is part of a long lineage of Cherokee woodcarvers and had the privilege to study under renowned Cherokee artist Dr. James Bud Smith. He was directly influenced by legendary Cherokee artists Amanda Crowe and John Julius Wilnoty.

Joshua works predominantly in the medium of wood sculpture, but his portfolio includes stone carvings, paintings, photography, molding, 3D printing, pottery and videography.

His work has been shown in several shows throughout the world. He is a proud member of the Eastern Band of Cherokee, and is an alumnus of Western Carolina University. He is also a member of the esteemed Qualla Arts and Crafts Cooperative.

The month-long display will be up until June 29. It is an exhibit entitled Solitude & Mystery: John Julius Wilnoty. John Julius Wilnoty, a self-taught sculptor, took up carving when he was about 20 years old.

Wilnoty has created hundreds of stone carvings, each with its own mysterious iconography.

Wilnoty had not been carving very long when he gained the attention of the public. His “Eagle Dancer” was a masterful carving that used the natural grain of the wood to emphasize the movement of the dancer.

John Julius Wilnoty has been described as a “legendary” figure among Cherokee artisans. Columnist John Parish even dubbed the artist as Cherokee’s “Michelangelo.” He’s been on display and taught in Mississippi, California and Washington, D.C.

Wilnoty became a member of Qualla Arts and Crafts Mutual, the Cherokee’s prestigious artisan cooperative.

Since that time, Wilnoty continued to carve, but did less carving after seriously injuring his hands and fingers with tools that must remain sharp enough to gouge hard stone.

The Haywood County Arts Council is located at 86 N. Main Street, Waynesville, NC 28786. Check out or call 828-452-0593.

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