Welcome to Cherokee Beading!

Beading History

Cherokee beadwork grew from the trade network Cherokees established with European traders in the mid-1600\'s. They bought or traded for glass seed beads, steel needles, silk ribbon and cloth made of wool, cotton and linen. By 1776 Cherokee Beaders were skilled at their craft using these materials.

The Golden Age for Cherokee Beadwork was from about 1776 to 1840. After 1840, Cherokee beading stopped due mostly to the forced removal of the Cherokees also known as the "Trail of Tears".

After the removal, the Cherokees abandoned their beautiful beaded art. The relocation left them sick, cold, hungry, exhausted and facing the rebuilding of their homes, farms and families. By the end of the 20th century, few Cherokees were able to recognize their own ancestor\'s beadwork because so little of it had survived.

About Us

Elizabeth Blackwell and Kathy Robinson, mother and dauther, are tribal members of the Cherokee Nation; belong to the First Families of the Cherokee Nation; the United Daughters of the Confederacy; the Continental Society Daughters of Indian Wars; the Pochohontas Club; the First Families of the Twin Territories and the National Society United States Daughters of 1812. They became interested in learning the traditional Cherokee Beading after seeing the beautiful art of their ancestors in some of the local museums. When the Cherokee Heritage Center offered a class in 2007, which was being taught by beading artist, Martha Berry, mother and daughter jumped at the opportunity.

"Everyone Is Important"

Everyone is Important
During the Class, Mrs. Berry surprised the students by explaing they were invited to participate in a Cherokee Beadwork Revival Project sponsored by Robin Ballinger, CEO Flintco. Each beader was to create a beaded piece for a table runner. The runner is made of authentic 19th century materials including scarlet wood stroud, cotton calico lining and 100% silk ribbon. The beads are pearl-colored European glass seed beads. The piece is titled, "Everyone is Important".

Elizabeth and Kathy are proud to offer their skills and art to you in the tradition of their Cherokee ancestors using authentic pre-1800 materials whenever possible.

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Other samples