Drywater, Lorene

Lorene Drywater was designated as a Cherokee National Living Treasure in 1990 for her traditional clothing such as tear dresses and ribbon shirts She said she learned to sew by watching her momma and began to sew as soon as she could hold a needle. Lorene has become most recognized though for buffalo grass dolls. She was featured in a 1995 National Geographic magazine article about the Cherokee Nation. In the magazine it was noted that she was the only Cherokee Indian making traditional buffalo grass dolls. Lorene said, "I was about five years old, and wanted a store bought doll. I'd seen my cousins throw tantrums and decided to see if one would work for me." Lorene said she threw her tantrum while walking with her mother to the creek to wash clothes. "Instead of getting me the doll, my mother told me to pull up some plants and wash the roots off in the creek. Then, she showed me how to make them into a doll." She has been making dolls ever since. The dolls are made from buffalo grass with the roots becoming hair for the dolls with the heads and bodies made from the grass. After Lorene would gather the plants, wash them and make the dolls, then she would then line them up and let them dry. At this point she would start making dresses for the dolls. Each doll received a cotton calico "tear" dress with detailed trim and petticoats.

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