Shirley Cloer is a Cherokee artist and manager of the Oconaluftee Indian Village in Cherokee. She was just a teenager when she started working at the Village in 1969. The Village has long been an artistically fertile forum for Cherokee artisans to share techniques and ideas with each other, and with young people who aspire to learn their techniques. After more than forty years working closely with some of the best practitioners of traditional Cherokee crafts, Cloer herself has become one of the community’s renowned artists.
Her family includes important bearers of Cherokee tradition, including her uncle Walker Calhoun, who was a National Heritage Fellowship recipient, and her education in the traditional arts has been enviable. Among her teachers were North Carolina Heritage Award recipients and other acclaimed masters. She learned fingerweaving from Mary Shell, Addie Taylor, and Geneva Ledford, and beadwork from Nicey Welch and Martha Owle. Amanda Swimmer and Osey Smith taught Cloer pottery, and Emma Taylor, Helen Smith, and Dinah George were her basketry teachers. She also comes from a family of important bearers of Cherokee tradition, including her uncle Walker Calhoun, and aunt Emily Smith, along with numerous other relatives.
In addition to managing the Oconaluftee Indian Village, Shirley Cloer does occasional demonstrations. Her work is available for sale at the gallery of the Qualla Arts and Crafts Mutual.
Shirley Cloer is available for demonstrations, instruction, and shows of a variety of artistic media.