SC museum showcases Chickasaw art

Release Date: August 08, 2014

by Media Relations Office

  • Chickasaw artist Tyra Shackleford is shown with an award-winning stomp dance belt similar to the one she crafted to display at the McKissick Museum on the University of South Carolina campus in Columbia.

ADA, Okla. – Tyra Shackleford unquestionably is her father’s daughter.

Both have Chickasaw handmade cultural art displayed at national museums; he in C.H. Nash Museum at the Chucalissa Archaeological Site in Memphis, she in McKissick Museum on the University of South Carolina campus at Columbia.

Ms. Shackleford, special projects coordinator for the Chickasaw Nation Cultural Resources Department, is the go-to crafts expert for many projects, especially finger weaving. Her father, Randy, is a math and science teacher in Paoli, Oklahoma, and celebrated Chickasaw artist.

Her most recent honor was a second place overall finish in the textiles, weaving and clothing division of the Red Earth Native American Cultural Festival, the largest and most prestigious in the nation. Mrs. Shackleford’s hand-woven, bison hair stomp dance belt, appointed with glass beads, was manufactured with arrowhead designs.

For the museum, Ms. Shackleford sent several items for display.

“I sent them a finger woven belt, a clutch style purse which has a pleated flap. Every other pleat has a strip of finger weaving on it. I also sent a purse with an across-the-body strap which is finger woven and the entire front panel of the purse is finger woven. Both purses are made with buffalo hair yarn. The belt is made from acrylic yarn,” Ms. Shackleford explained.

The strapped purse was a first place entry in the Southeastern Arts Show and Market in 2012. The other purse was featured this year in the Art of the Chickasaw Women at Sulphur’s ARTesian Gallery and was displayed for a month, April 17-May 16.

“It is an alternating pattern of my “flame design” and the basic chevron pattern. The colors are black, red, orange, yellow, blue,” Ms. Shackleford said.

“I think it is an honor to be recognized as a Chickasaw artist and be a part of representing Southeastern style art. I have been working the last several years to establish myself as an artist and I feel like this is another step toward my goal,” Ms. Shackleford said. “I am excited about this museum exhibit because it will help educate about Southeastern art, traditional and contemporary forms, and I get to be a part of that. As an artist, my goals are to show in various native art shows, have items in museums, and make enough business for myself that I can be a full time artist.

“I also want to educated people about Southeastern art, in general, and finger weaving and traditional textiles, specifically. I am slowly accomplishing those goals. This is the first time I have been asked to put items in a museum and I think it will open the door for many more opportunities,” she added.

Last Updated: 10/20/2014