Betty Maney makes white oak baskets, pottery, Cherokee dolls, and a variety of beadwork pieces. In addition to being a talented crafts person and demonstrator, she also excels as an educator in hands-on workshops.
Growing up in the Big Cove community, Betty Maney attended Cherokee schools through the seventh grade. Her mother, a basketmaker who was raising eight children, then moved the family to Florida to seek better employment. Betty Maney’s mother had learned basketry from her mother-in-law, Annie Powell Welch, and Betty Maney, in turn, learned basketry from watching her mother. “God gave me the talent of basketmaking in the early years as a little girl,” she says. “It was then that I began to pay close attention to the details of how Mom would construct her white oak baskets.”
Betty Maney returned to Cherokee in 1982 with a family of her own, and gradually began to reconnect with Cherokee arts and crafts. In the late 1980s, she began making white oak baskets again. Her husband Sam splits the white oak for her and makes the hickory handles; Betty uses bloodroot and butternut to dye the splints. 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 explains. More recently, she began to design brilliant beaded jewelry and a unique series of beaded tablecloths, lamp shades, and valances.
Betty Maney has demonstrated basketry and beadwork in Cincinnati, Ohio, Huntington, New York, and at The Healing of Our Spirits Conference in Sydney, Australia. She has displayed her work at the Asheville Giduwah Festival, the Museum of the Cherokee Indian, and the Cherokee Voices Festival. Her miniature baskets and her beadwork have won first place at the Cherokee Fall Fair for three consecutive years. She has taught basketry, beadwork, and pottery to the advanced art class at Swain High School and conducted hands-on workshops at the Museum of the Cherokee Indian. She teaches each year at the Cherokee Youth Arts and Culture camp sponsored by the Qualla Housing Authority Drug Elimination Program. Her work is available at Qualla Arts and Crafts, the gift shop of the Museum of the Cherokee Indian, the Medicine Man Arts and Crafts shop, and from Betty Maney directly.
Betty Maney is willing to travel anywhere if her travel expenses are reimbursed, and the amount of her fee is negotiable. She is not available to work or demonstrate on Sundays.