Mary Thompson grew up surrounded by Cherokee craft. After growing up on the Qualla Boundary, Mary went abroad as a member of the Air Force, and it was during this time that her interest focused on the traditions and culture of her family and ancestors. Since that time, Mary and her family had produced their traditional Cherokee crafts from home, but now they have a working studio at Cherokee Baskets and Vessels. At this studio, Mary, her sister Betty Maney, their children, and their grandchildren create pottery, basketry, jewelry, clothing, and more. The family work of four generations is on display in the gallery.
Mary and Betty are founding members of the Cherokee Potters Guild. Their family pottery style is based in the stamped pots of the 1800s with traditional fire smudging techniques. Mary also makes river cane baskets and wall mats in the double weave technique. To complement her river cane wall mats, she builds custom frames in which to display them. The family also makes period clothing, custom designing their fabrics, producing pucker toe moccasins, and carving shells for gorgets, earrings, and necklaces.
Visitors to Cherokee Baskets and Vessels will see separate rooms for separate traditions. The studio is set up with a basket/pottery room, a sewing room, a picture framing/mat shop, a gallery to display artwork, and an outdoor area for preparing oak and river cane splits. The splits are soaked in a backyard creek that cascades down a waterfall.
The studio offers classes in shell carving, stamp pottery, and sewing.
Open by Appointment