In his Cherokee Treasure Wool Blanket, Cherokee artist Bryan Waytula honors the weaving tradition of his family and community. He’s adapted age-old basket designs to be woven on a modern blanket, fusing past and present in a product that’s accessible to a global audience in a way that one-of-a-kind baskets aren’t able to be. “When people purchase Native art by a Native artist, they’re buying American history,” says Bryan. “They become more familiar of our stories and lessons that have been passed down for generations. By supporting Native artists, us Native artists are able to continue and pass on our cultural teachings to younger generations.”
Watch our short video on YouTube to learn from Bryan and his mother the history of the designs, their family's weaving legacy, and more behind-the-scenes details!
Bryan was selected as the winner of Eighth Generation’s 2021 Elder’s Wool Blanket Design Contest. His design honors his mother, grandmother, and lineage of Cherokee basket weavers in a complex combination of classic basket designs, including the noon day sun, double peace pipe, chief’s daughter, and double chief’s daughter. A Cherokee double wall basket is a utilitarian object of exquisite beauty. Woven with thin strips of naturally-dyed cane, the weaver creates a double-wall in which the exterior basket design is different than the interior basket design. The number of current traditional Cherokee basket makers are few and their baskets would be considered an heirloom in today's market.
Bryan comes from a family of incredible artists—both his mother, Vivian Garner Cottrell and grandmother, Betty Scraper-Garner have been recognized as are Cherokee National Treasures and master-craftsmen in the art of basketry, famous for their incredible woven works of art. “I can remember Granny demonstrating showing and teaching admirers how to make a traditional Cherokee basket,” says Bryan. “Mom talks about Granny teaching her and I feel she's always with us when we travel as we're bringing her stories and knowledge along with us.”
Being honored as a Cherokee National Treasure is the highest honor a Cherokee artist can receive. This honor is bestowed upon Cherokee Nation citizens who have shown exceptional knowledge of Cherokee art and culture and actively work to preserve and revive traditional cultural practices that are in danger of being lost from generation to generation.
- Bryan's grandmother, Betty Scraper Garner received her Cherokee National Treasure award by Principal Chief Wilma Mankiller in 1993.
- Bryan's mother, Vivian Garner Cottrell received her Cherokee National Treasure award by Principal Chief Joe Byrd in 1995.
“When I picture this blanket in someone’s home,” shares Bryan, “I hope this design brings a smile to their face. I hope they’re sharing this blanket and design with their loved ones, as my mother and grandmother shared these patterns with me.”
Q: Do I have to be Cherokee to purchase this blanket?
A: No! This blanket is designed for anyone to treasure and enjoy. Bryan, his family, and Eighth Generation want you to know that as a non-Native or non-Cherokee person you are very welcome to purchase, use, and display this design, and that doing so shows your true commitment to supporting Native prosperity an excellence. Thank you!
- 2-sided design
- Covers top of queen size bed (59 in x 78 in/ 200 cm x 150 cm)
- Colors include black, white, and soft red
- Microsuede edge band
- 100% wool pile; 100% polyester warp
- Designed by Bryan Waytula (Cherokee)
- Photos by Kari Rowe (Lakota, Ojibwe) and modeled by Douglas and Aaron
- Video by Travis Holt Hamilton
- Dry clean
- Thank you for supporting Inspired Natives®, not "Native-inspired."
- Thank you to the Seattle Indian Health Board's Elders Group for their assistance in choosing our finalists for this contest. We appreciate your help and role as honored elders.
5% of all blanket sales support the Inspired Natives® Award for emerging arts entrepreneurs.
- Recommended care is dry clean only; however, you can rinse your blanket on a gentle, cold setting and hang-dry away from direct sunlight
- Clean liquid stains immediately with warm water and mild detergent
- Never use harsh chemicals or scrub wool
- Store blanket away from direct sunlight