Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Clay county

I want to e-visit all the counties in NC that are currently listed on the NPS "final map" which I did not discuss when drumming up action in the outside counties for the National Heritage Area. So I'm working left to right.... and today is Clay county. I can't find a lot. These are extreme mountains. It became a county because of the difficulty in travel to get there anyway. But, it is apparently on the path of Gen. Rutherford and must be considered in the NHA to emphasize the enormous feat undertaken by the militia of the day to repel the Native Americans. I guess it was "justice" for taking up with the British.

There is an Indian mound near the county seat of Hayesville. A collection of beautiful modern traditional masks are an example of a very old art form that continues to hold deep meaning for modern Cherokees. Ancient artifacts on display were excavated from the nearby Spike Buck Mound. This exhibit features a very important collection of particularly wrenching inventory of all the worldly goods – furniture, buildings, livestock – that Richard Walker, a justice on the Cherokee Nation’s Supreme Court, and his family lost when they were forced to leave North Carolina.

This was from the time of the Trail of Tears. Note his English name... Gosh, is it like Jewish items from the Holocaust victims? You know it is hard to imagine, especially by the 1830s, how this could happen. It makes you humble.

I don't think I have ever visited Clay county. But this is why I like looking things up in detail, I always find something in NC I want to see.

Look at this newsletter from the Cherokee Preservation Foundation. The woven baskets are incredible. You can see them in Cherokee, NC too.

I see the Clay County Historical and Arts Council Museum has a new display on fabulous feed sacks and being a textile nut I want to see these. I had a Pony from the time I was eight. We bought feed for him from a supplier in Apex. It smelled sweet and was packed in fabric bags with different dobby or print patterns. My cousin and I used the fabric to design these marvelous halter tops... you know, a string in the top to gather at the neck and in a triangle shape to tie behind. Of course we couldn't have been more than 14. But hey, it was hot. We didn't wear them to the grocery store very often. However, I knew I liked designing clothes after that.

This leads to the other great design resource of Clay county which I have never been too but which is famous...John C. Campbell Folk School in Brasstown.

There's not so much there, but what is there is fun or thought provoking. Let's go.

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