Artist Bio: Eddie Morrison (Cherokee)

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Carved Bear - Eddit Morrison     Limestone - Eddie Morrison

"When I carve, I consider the natural forms of the wood & stone, and believe in letting the material speak for itself as it has its own story to tell."

Eddie Morrison is a contemporary sculptor who works in wood and stone. Born in 1946 in Oklahoma, he was raised in Tahlequah, Oklahoma by his Cherokee grandmother, Jane Batt Brackett. He attended Northeastern State University in Tahlequah and graduated from the Institute of American Indian Arts in Santa Fe, New Mexico with a degree in Three Dimensional Arts. Other formal study included classes at the Art Student League of Denver and Marble Stone Carving.

Eddie's earliest artistic recollections were of his grandmother and aunt designing and sewing quilts along with crocheting items. He also remembers, "There was always someone doing something with wood" in his home and community. "My best friend's father would sit for hours-on-end carving pieces of wood into beautiful traditional bows and arrows. I believe I was more influenced by him than any other person about my feeling for wood. I was also deeply influenced by the great Apache artist, Allan Houser, who was a guest lecturer and teacher at the Art Student League of Denver."

Houser encouraged Eddie to continue his studies on a more advanced level at the Institute of American Indian Arts in Santa Fe. Upon graduation, Eddie received the Faculty Department Award for Outstanding Student in Three Dimensional Art. Eddie had also pursued painting, influenced by his brother, Jesse Hummingbird, but never felt completely comfortable with this medium. Through his discovery of his connection to wood and his studies, he realized that carving is his calling.

Eddie's work depicts a variety of themes. Animals are a prevalent subject, particularly bears, eagles and buffaloes. Eddie also carves human figures in traditional presentations, such as wearing a wolf skin cape, a blanket, or feathers. He says he strives to produce work that represents American Indian people with "pride and dignity…My ideas and themes come from the philosophies of Indians about life, spirituality, respect for life, animals, and all that is around us, and the great creator."

Eddie often uses red cedar because he likes the beautiful color variations. He allows the gentle curves or unusual twists naturally found in the wood to appear in the finished pieces. Another favorite material is Kansas limestone, which he collects himself. While some of his pieces are fully carved, others have the figures emerging from a rough hewn background, or on a "base" of material left un-carved. Much of this limestone contains fossils from a prehistoric sea that once covered much of North America. These fossils are often visible in the rough portions of his stone sculpture.

Eddie Morrison's sculpture brings out the beauty of the natural materials and captures a moment in time of life, allowing Eddie to share his own story and that of his tradition.

© The Indian Craft Shop 2011