TAHLEQUAH, OK Shell carver and Cherokee National Treasure
Knokovtee Scott will share his knowledge of shell carving using
river mussel shells beginning Feb. 7 at the Cherokee Arts Center.
The Feb. 7 class will be an introductory class and will begin
at 10 a.m. and end at 4 p.m. Beginning Feb. 16, and throughout March
and April, classes will meet from 6 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. on Mondays
The classes are a part of an effort through the Cherokee National
Treasures Program to preserve traditional Cherokee arts. Cherokee
National Treasures are able to teach classes through a new $50,000
grant provided by the Tribal Council. The grant will directly benefit
Cherokee National Treasures and provide opportunities for them to
sell their works or have them displayed.
artists who are awarded the title of national treasure excel in
their respective craft or art and are recognized by the tribe as
a master. Such craft or arts include pottery, basket making, knife
making, bow and arrows, textiles, weaving, painting and jewelry.
There is also a category for those who help perpetuate the Cherokee
It is an honor and a privilege to have Knokovtee teaching
the ancient art of Cherokee traditional shell carving, Cherokee
National Treasure Jane Osti, who is helping coordinate the classes,
said. In this class he will be teaching the art of carving
gorgets, earrings and pendants. Students that take his class produce
great work, a testimonial to his great teaching talent.
Scott prefers to use purple mussel shells found in rivers and
lakes in northeastern Oklahoma. Purple mussels are rare and cherished
for their purple hue, which can turn into the colors of a rainbow
The Rose native began working with shells to make art in 1975
after returning home from studying art at the Institute of American
Indian Arts in Santa Fe, New Mexico. He said he knew the multiple
colors in the shell would make great jewelry, and the shell was
thick enough to work with.
You find 10 pounds of white shells to one of these (purple
shell). Theyre kind of a rarity among mussels, he said.
The classes and mentorships will continue through September.
For more information or to enroll, call Jennifer Pigeon at 918-453-5367
or Osti via Facebook.