Press Release

Release Date: May 17, 2017

by Loné Beasley



  • Karin Walkingstick

Karin Walkingstick, a self-described night owl, knows what it’s like to get caught up in a passion. The Cherokee artist and Claremore, Oklahoma, native often slips into a creative zone in the early evening and doesn’t stop crafting pottery until the wee hours of the next morning.

Walkingstick says working late at night has its advantages. “There are no interruptions, no phone calls. You can just keep working with no interruptions,” she said.

The downside is a supportive spouse who enjoys teasing her about her schedule. “My husband likes to laugh and joke that I get started at 9 o’clock, but I try to get started about six or seven or eight. It depends on when I get the regular housework done. When the rest of my house is clean, then I can sit down and do guilt-free work.”

Her efforts have been rewarded with multiple first place awards at various competitions.

Walkingstick is one of 116 elite Native American artists selected to showcase their creative talents at the Artesian Arts Festival in Sulphur, Oklahoma, Saturday, May 27.

Though her work ethic has no doubt contributed to her success as an artist, Walkingstick credits great mentors. “I’ve had some really good teachers,” she said. “I took a class with Jane Osti, a Cherokee National Treasure from Tahlequah.”

After an eight month apprenticeship with Osti, Richard Zane Smith, a Wyandotte Indian, took her under his wing. “He taught me how to paint pottery and how to build corrugated pottery,” she said.

“I feel really lucky to have studied with both of them.”

She has worked in both contemporary and traditional pottery. Traditional pottery involves the artist harvesting clay out of original soil and processing it by hand. “Traditional pottery also involves staying true to my tribe’s shapes and designs and firing them the old way.”

Contemporary pottery incorporates commercially processed clay purchased from a vendor. “Its design covers everything that isn’t traditional,” she said. “It also is likely to be fired in a kiln.

“Everything I make is coil built. I don’t use a pottery wheel. I use a method called slab and coil. I roll out a circle of clay with a rolling pin and drape the clay over something rounded. When it dries enough to hold its own shape, I turn it over and start adding coils. Coils are rolled out like a snake and added to the rim to build the pot taller.”

Asked if she ever reverts to a more traditional schedule, Walkingstick said she tries to get into a different groove right before a showing. “I have to switch it around and get back on normal people’s schedule about a week before the show,” she said.

Twenty-five Native American tribes throughout the United States and Canada will be featured during the Chickasaw Nation’s fourth annual Memorial Day weekend Artesian Arts Festival. Participants will be displaying art in such disciplines as painting, basketry, jewelry, sculpture, metalworking, bead work, photography, textiles and pottery.

A variety of musical entertainment is planned, as well as tribal dance demonstrations and regalia. Bands will provide continuous entertainment on two stages. The event is open to the public at no charge. Festivities begin at 10 a.m. and end at 6 p.m. at the Artesian Plaza located adjacent to the Artesian Hotel and Spa, 1001 W. First Street in Sulphur, Oklahoma. For more information call (580) 272-5520 or email artistinfo@chickasaw.net.

Last Updated: 09/16/2016