Emily Smith makes white oak baskets and honeysuckle baskets with materials gathered from the woods and dyed with natural dyes. She can demonstrate basketry, or she can teach small group hands-on workshops. She enjoys working with students of any age, up to and including senior citizens. Groups should include no more than fifteen students.
Born and raised on Indian Creek, Emily Smith has lived on the Qualla Boundary all of her life. She attended day school at the Big Cove School, and eventually earned her GED. Both her father and mother were basket makers; her mother made white oak baskets. When Emily was eight years old, she began making baskets with little oak strips that her parents discarded. Her first basket was a breadbasket, and her family used it to store silverware for many years. She dyes her basket splints with walnut and bloodroot for decorative weaving in her own distinctive patterns. Emily Smith has presented programs about basketry at schools and colleges in Georgia, North Carolina, and Alabama.
Although she occasionally makes baskets from honeysuckle vines, she is best known for her white oak baskets. Accompanied by her daughter JoAnn, Emily Smith is willing to travel throughout the region to demonstrate basket making or teach one-day workshops. Her daughter assists her with driving and with the programs. Hands-on workshops must supply the following materials on site: scissors or knives for each student, tables, and blue denim or other thick material for padding the lap while weaving the white oak splints. Their fee is negotiable and must include compensation for any travel.