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The Highlight of the Month program at The Indian Craft Shop focuses on a particular craft area, region or artist family/group. Our aim is to illustrate the diversity of tribal groups and the wide variety of artistic expressions and traditions in the country today.

Dolls in a basket by Lorene Drywater   

Lorene Drywater makes a variety of crafts, but has become most recognized for buffalo grass dolls, which she has been making for most of her life. She receives calls from collectors around the world wanting her buffalo grass dolls. She has been honored as one of Cherokee Nation's Living Cultural Treasures and was awarded its Medal of Honor in 2000. She gained international fame when she was featured in a 1995 National Geographic magazine article about the Cherokee Nation where she was noted as the only Cherokee Indian making traditional buffalo grass dolls.

Lorene remembers her first doll. "I was about five years old, and wanted a store bought doll. I'd seen my cousins throw tantrums and decided to see if one would work for me." Lorene said she threw her tantrum while walking with her mother to the creek to wash clothes. "Instead of getting me the doll, my mother told me to pull up some plants and wash the roots off in the creek. Then, she showed me how to make them into a doll." Lorene has continued making dolls since that time, becoming a master with buffalo grass.

Lorene's dolls are unique and skillfully made. The roots of the plant become hair for the dolls, the heads and bodies are made from the grass. Each wears a cotton calico "tear" dress with detailed trim and petticoats. Lorene proudly signs each of her dolls.

new design ideas. A member of the Bear Clan, Phil signs his work with a stylized bear paw or a double "P."

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