Judith Ann Moriarty
Indian Summer Festival

A harvest of beauty

By - Sep 10th, 2010 04:00 am
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This weekend Indian Summer unfolds on the grounds of Summerfest, with an emphasis on honoring Native American war vets, military personnel and first responders.

Several of Kathy Thomas’ “Antler Baskets”

Me? I’ll be checking out The Circle of Art, in particular the amazing Antler Baskets of longtime Bay View resident Kathy Thomas, who I interviewed in her home on E. Holt. Thomas’s father was one-half Mission Indian of California and one-half Oneida Indian of Wisconsin.

She has early memories of watching her grandfather use grasses at Whitnall Park to shape a basket, but it wasn’t until 2000 that her interest caught fire and she enrolled in a night class at Hamilton High.

From that experience she forged forward with various teachers and in 2006, she began fashioning baskets using antlers and various materials.

The result is not so much a basket as a beautiful sculpture — an original, signed and elegant work of art that looks equally lovely whether hung on a wall, suspended from a ceiling, or placed in a nook or on the floor. They’re very contemporary and the antler (shed from Whitetail and Mule deer) is used not as a “handle,” but as the centerpiece around which various materials are woven.

Thomas says, “tradition has it’s place, but I like to tweak and explore a little.”

Indeed — the results of her creativity are all museum quality. I’m not the only one who thinks so — last year she won “Best of Show for New Artists” at the event, and she’s earned high honors at the Woodland Art Show in Oneida, Wisconsin for three years running. Look for her in The Circle of Art area. She’s authentic.

The 2010 Indian Summer Festival kicks off today at Henry Maier Festival Park and continues through the weekend. For more information and a full lineup of the weekend’s activities, click here. For more info about Kathy Thomas’ work, feel free to email her.

0 thoughts on “Indian Summer Festival: A harvest of beauty”

  1. Anonymous says:

    I was heavily involved with Indian Summer when it started, working for years with the Thursday Education Day event. The kids, teachers, and chaperones relished that day with the Indians along the lakefront.

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