Tahlequah Daily Press


August 6, 2013

Oosahwe uses beading skills to adorn hats

TAHLEQUAH — Weaving beads into tiny patterns to make jewelry is as challenging and rewarding as any artistic expression.

For two decades, Nancy Thomas Oosahwe has been working in beads, and her current passion is adorning hats.

“I love to see the finished items. I challenge myself to keep trying different things. That is how I came to do the hats,” Oosahwe said. “I found one at an antique mall and could already see how I wanted it to look.”

Once she figured our a technique, she began to work with designs and colors. It takes 30 to 40 hours to complete a hat.

“I make art because of the satisfaction I feel when I see the completed projects,” Oosahwe said. “And I would say I enjoy the reaction of those people who look at my art and those who choose to buy it.”

Reading and watching older artists taught Oosahwe how to bead.

“The technique for most beadwork can be found in books. What is important are the colors and patterns you decide to use,” she said. “I enjoy using basic traditional colors.”

She prefers to work with glass-cut beads.

“When I first started beading, most beads came from Czechoslovakia. That was before the iron curtain came down and beads were much more expensive back then. Now there are many sources for supplies,” she said.

Right now, Oosahwe chooses to work with beads and leather, but in the past, she learned wood-carving from Thomas Muskrat and Nancy Prickett. Oosahwe also took classes with other area teachers.

“I took a pottery class with Jane Osti, a graphic arts class at one point. I was mediocre at everything,” she said.

Her art has been influenced by Thomas Muskrat more than anyone else, she said.

“He would hand me something and tell me, ‘See if you can bead this.’ Then when I was finished, he would often tell me he liked it, but then he would give me constructive criticism. Not always easy to listen to, but I always learned and worked hard to improve.”

A graduate of Northeastern State University, Oosahwe has Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees in Elementary Education. She was once a third-grade teacher at Shady Grove School, and eventually retired as superintendent of Bell School.

“Those were the most stressful and traumatic years of my adult life,” she said. “Titles aren’t that important. It is all about the kids to me.”

Future endeavors in art include “a leather jacket to put beadwork on, and a man in Missouri sent me a beaver jaw to put beadwork on.”

She’s married to Jess Oosahwe, and they live in the Shady Grove community. They have a son and a daughter, and 10 grandchildren.

“I like to powwow, read, sew, crochet, and of course, beadwork,” she said. “My husband, Jess, has also become noted for his art with beads and leather. He has created many traditional items.”

They set up at Arts on the Avenue in June, Cherokee Holiday in September, and the Keetoowah Celebration in October, all here in Tahlequah.

Anyone wanting to learn beadwork could start with Light Eyes Shop, where the owner is capable of getting anyone started, Oosahwe said.

Text Only
  • rf--tps-foundation.jpg TPS Foundation supplements ailing budget

    When facing another year of flat state budgets, classroom teachers can use all the help they can get.
    Tahlequah Public Schools Foundation’s sole focus is enhancing opportunities for teachers. Every year, the group funds grants for projects.

    August 1, 2014 1 Photo

  • M Farinelli Live music spans the county during August

    Cherokee County has experienced mild weather this summer, but it’s about to heat up with an August packed with live music.

    July 31, 2014 1 Photo

  • rf-Quilt-1.jpg UKB quilting class touts tribal tradition

    Recently, several women and one man gathered to learn or refresh their sewing skills. They created quilt pieces at the United Keetoowah Band Wellness Center, with instructors Cindy Hair and Ernestine Berry, director of the John Hair Cultural Center and Museum.

    July 30, 2014 1 Photo

  • rf-Faith-7-29.jpg New opportunity opens door for local pastor

    A unique opportunity for ministry training will begin next year in Tahlequah.
    The River Ministries will be launching The River Training Center, a complete ministry school. The training center will also perform community outreach and sponsor mission trips, all beginning in January 2015.
    The founder of the school, Pastor Brandon Stratton, was raised in Tahlequah and previously pastored Calvary Assembly of God Church.

    July 29, 2014 1 Photo

  • 22ndAmendment.jpg Presidential terms limited by 22nd Amendment

    The past 30 years have been marked by occasional grumbling from one American political party, and celebration from the other - depending on who occupies the White House - about the disqualification of a president after eight years of service.
    For much of the nation’s history, a presidency could last indefinitely.

    July 26, 2014 1 Photo

  • sg-Paperbacks.jpg Paperbacks still survive in the digital age

    In an era when mobile technology is always at hand, most people can access an electronic book at any time. Such literary luxuries weren’t widely available to previous generations until the dawn of the paperback book.
    Wednesday, July 30, is set as a day to celebrate the low-cost, portable book during National Paperback Book Day.

    July 25, 2014 1 Photo

  • rf-skydiver-tomahawk.jpg Former resident tapped for national skydiving award

    A man known locally for putting Tahlequah on the international map by bringing world-class skydiving events to town is being inducted in the National Skydiving Museum Hall of Fame in October.
    Norman Heaton said he’s very honored to be selected for the prestigious award given to people who have made significant contributions to the sport of skydiving.

    July 22, 2014 1 Photo

  • 20th-Amendment.jpg Inauguration day changed by 20th Amendment

    Sometimes an amendment is added to the U.S. Constitution that is uncontroversial and virtually unlitigated.
    Such is the 20th Amendment, which moved the seating of the new Congress and the presidential inauguration day to January, and enumerates procedure if a president-elect dies or cannot take office.
    Because the “Lame-Duck Amendment” addresses procedure, it is long.

    July 21, 2014 1 Photo

  • rf-School-Fashion.jpg Fashion show to feature local teachers

    A fun fashion event that will provide funds for one lucky area school is coming up next weekend.
    Local teachers and students have until Tuesday, July 22, to sign up for the Teacher and Student Back 2 School Fashion Show at Arrowhead Mall in Muskogee.

    July 21, 2014 1 Photo

  • rf-actress.jpg TV’s ‘Mistresses’ has second local tie

    Tahlequah has at least two ties to the TV drama “Mistresses.”
    Local florist Josh Cottrell-Mannon designed the flower arrangements for the show’s season finale, and Arriane Alexander, daughter of local resident Sharilyn Young, is portraying a television news reporter.

    July 16, 2014 1 Photo


Do you think "blue laws" related to Sunday alcohol sales in Oklahoma should be relaxed? Choose the option that most closely reflects your opinion.

Alcoholic drinks should be sold Sundays in restaurants and bars, and liquor stores should be open.
Alcoholic drinks should be sold Sundays in restaurants and bars only; liquor stores should stay closed.
Liquor stores should be open Sundays, but drinks should not be served anywhere on Sundays.
The law should remain as it is now; liquor stores should be closed, and drinks should be served on Sundays according to county option.
No alcohol should be sold or served publicly on Sundays.
     View Results
Tahlequah Daily Press Twitter
Follow us on twitter
AP Video
Renewed Violence Taking Toll on Gaza Residents 2 Americans Detained in North Korea Seek Help US Employers Add 209K Jobs, Rate 6.2 Pct House GOP Optimistic About New Border Bill Gaza Truce Unravels; Israel, Hamas Trade Blame Raw: Tunisia Closes Borders With Libya Four Rescued From Crashed Plane Couple Channel Grief Into Soldiers' Retreat WWI Aviation Still Alive at Aerodrome in NY Raw: Rescuers at Taiwan Explosion Scene Raw: Woman Who Faced Death Over Faith in N.H. Clinton Before 9-11: Could Have Killed Bin Laden Netanyahu Vows to Destroy Hamas Tunnels Obama Slams Republicans Over Lawsuit House Leaders Trade Blame for Inaction