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Object Monday: Agnes Welch Basket

Basket, Agnes Welch (MMA 88.65.91)

Planter Basket by Agnes Welch (MMA 88.65.91)


This 18 centimeter (7 inch) high basket, described as a planter container, was woven by Cherokee basket weaver Agnes Lossie Welch (1925-1997). She crafted it in white oak and walnut, with a design of plain plaiting of dark brown and orange dyed wood.

Agnes Lossie Welch was born in North Carolina in 1925 in the Big Cove community on the land of the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians. She learned to make baskets at age 12 in classes taught by well-known Cherokee weaver Lottie Queen Stamper. Her early baskets were made using rivercane.  Later in life, her mother-in-law taught her to work with white oak, which became her specialty. Agnes experimented with natural dyes, using bloodroot to create a yellowish red and walnut root for a dark brown color.

The baskets Agnes wove, using saplings cut down by her husband, helped raise money for materials to build her house and support her 12 children. Agnes Welch was one of 100 other Cherokee craft workers formed the Qualla Arts and Crafts Mutual, Inc., a Cherokee artisan cooperative, back in 1946. In 1971, the cooperative honored her with a solo exhibition of her work.  To learn more about Agnes Welch and see photos of her at work, click here.

Information on Agnes Welch and other Cherokee basket makers is presented in the collaborative online Cherokee Traditions project. This project is a partnership of Hunter Library Digital Initiatives at Western Carolina University, Qualla Arts and Crafts Mutual, Inc., and the Museum of the Cherokee Indian, with support from the Cherokee Preservation Foundation and Blue Ridge National Heritage Area.

Name: Basket (planter cover?)
Artist: Agnes Lossie Welch
Dates/Period: 20th century
Culture: Cherokee
Collection: Ethnology
Object: 88.65.91
Post by: Erika Alvero
(Acknowledgment: information presented in this entry is based on Anna Fariello’s, Cherokee Baskets: From the Hands of our Elders (History Press 2009), as excerpted on the web site of the Cherokee Traditions Project)