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News > Press Releases > Press Release

Press Release

Release Date: January 03, 2020

by Chickasaw Nation Media Relations Office

  • Eric Smith, Chickasaw craftsman and ancient weapons expert, has years of experience creating clothing, weapons, footwear, gorgets, quivers, bows, arrows and buckskin lavishly adorned with feathers and accoutrements.

SULPHUR, Okla. – The Chickasaw Nation will offer an assortment of classes and workshops for both experienced and aspiring artists throughout January, kicking off the new year at the ARTesian Gallery & Studios, 100 W. Muskogee St.

The roster of expert artists and artisans preparing learning opportunities for the community include Patta Butcher, Leanne Parker-West, Donna Welch, Eric Smith and Moninya Mulder.

Interested students can plan on developing skills in arts and crafts such as silk painting, quill ink, watercolors, oil pastels, book page crafts, gourd art, leatherworking and sewing.

Patta Butcher - Silk painting

Choctaw artist Patta Butcher has planned silk painting classes where attendees will handcraft a wearable and unique art piece by applying dyes on silk. Butcher will lead the group as they design their fabric with a fusion of contemporary concepts and traditional Native American motifs.

Butcher has been a professional artist for more than 30 years with a background in fashion design, clothing and textiles. She has a Bachelor of Arts degree from the University of Oklahoma and was named the 2017 Red Earth “Honored One.”

Butcher’s silk painting classes are planned for 10:30 a.m.-noon and 1:30-3:30 p.m., Jan. 25. Students in these classes will create silk wall hangings.

An enrollment fee of $25 includes instruction and materials. Pre-registration is encouraged. Class size is limited.

Leanne Parker-West - Multimedia

Leanne Parker-West, a Muscogee (Creek) artist and teacher, has planned hands-on classes at the ARTesian Gallery & Studios.

She spends the fall and spring semesters teaching junior high and high school art at Dickson Public Schools in Ardmore. Since 2012, Parker-West has also taught art during the Chickasaw Arts Academy. Now she is sharing her 24 years of art education experience with the community.

Parker-West said she planned her classes as child-friendly and accessible to everyone. All skill levels are welcome.

Her classes in January will be available 4-6 p.m. and include: oil pastels Jan. 8 and 10; book page crafts Jan. 13, 16 and 17; mini canvases Jan. 21, 22 and 24; and quill ink and watercolor Jan. 27, 30 and 31.

An enrollment fee of $10 per class includes instruction and supplies.

Donna Welch - Gourd art

Multi-talented Chickasaw artist Donna Welch crafts gourds into colorful vessels that can be functional or works for display.

Welch’s art has been exhibited in California, Utah, ARTesian Arts Gallery in Sulphur and in the Chokma’si Gallery located at the Chickasaw Nation Arts & Humanities building in downtown Ada. She also provided gourd artwork for the 2018 Dynamic Women of the Chickasaw Nation Conference.

Welch is a traditional Chickasaw storyteller. She also designs customary Chickasaw regalia, sewing garments from scratch. She creates quilts and handbags, draws with colored pencils and is experienced in beadwork.

She incorporates ancient motifs in her work, including her gourd art, which is the chosen medium in which she hopes to expand, grow and flourish.

Welch has planned fine gourd art classes 1-5 p.m., Jan. 9 and 23. These classes cost $50 per class and will focus on wood burnt and beaded gourd vases.

Eric Smith - Cultural crafts

Eric Smith, Chickasaw craftsman and ancient weapons expert, has years of experience creating clothing, weapons, footwear, gorgets, quivers, bows, arrows and buckskin lavishly adorned with feathers and accoutrements.

Smith’s expertise, attention to detail and dedication to replicating historically accurate ancient weapons has had Hollywood moviemakers knocking at his door. He made all the bows and arrows used in the thrice Oscar-award winning movie “The Revenant,” a 2015 film starring Leonardo DiCaprio, voted Best Actor for his part as mountain man Hugh Glass.

Smith has planned cultural workshops at the ARTesian Gallery & Studios throughout 2020. His first workshop in the new year, 9:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m., Jan. 11, will explore how to create buckskin leggings. Students break for lunch midday. These workshops cost $100 per session.

Moninya Mulder - Sewing

Moninya Mulder will teach how to sew a fur pouch Jan. 18, 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Students will design, cut and sew fabric and fur to create a traditional pouch or bag and leave with a fashionable accessory to wear with pride. The $100 cost includes all class instruction and materials.

Tana Washington Exhibit

Visitors and students are welcome to browse the works of Tana Washington, which will be on exhibit at the ARTesian Gallery & Studios Jan. 6 through March 9. A reception for her work Jan. 11, 1-3 p.m., will be hosted out of the ARTesian.

Washington is a self-taught Cherokee artist who was born and raised in Muskogee, Oklahoma, and was introduced to art at a young age and has practiced her craft throughout her life.

Washington’s work can be found in a variety of media. She has been awarded in several categories including scissor-cut, brushwork, graphite, wood and alabaster carvings.

About the ARTesian Gallery & Studios

Located in the heart of downtown Sulphur, the ARTesian Gallery & Studios is a space for creating, appreciating and sharing fine art. The 7,400-square-foot facility features an art gallery, classroom space, reception and retail space.

The facility was designed to assist and promote Chickasaw and other Native American artists. The gallery provides an excellent venue for artists to display and market their work. A reception area houses art shows and meet the artist receptions. Five separate studio spaces are also occupied by various resident artists.

The ARTesian Gallery & Studios offers public art classes for all levels. Students can learn many different art media such as painting, weaving, dyeing, crafts, drawing, beading, printing, soapstone carving, moccasin making, quillwork, needle punch and embroidering with French knots taught by world renowned artists.

Nearby attractions include the Chickasaw Cultural Center, Chickasaw National Recreation Area, Chickasaw Visitor Center and the Oka’ Chokma’si Sculpture Park, all conveniently located near the Artesian Hotel.

The ARTesian Gallery & Studios is open 9 a.m. to 6 p.m., Monday through Saturday.

To register for classes and workshops, or for more information regarding other upcoming events, call (580) 622-8040.