Amanda Crowe was a prolific artist and educator known for her woodcarvings of animals. She is featured in this November 2018 Google Doodle, a collaboration with the Qualla Arts & Crafts Mutual and William H. Crowe, Jr., her nephew and fellow woodcarver.
Born in 1928, Crowe was raised within the Qualla Boundary in North Carolina, which is territory owned by the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians. Her artistic talent emerged early, as she began drawing and carving around the age of four. Although Crowe said she was “barely old enough to handle a knife,” she was determined to express herself. Studying with her uncle Goingback Chiltoskey, a well-known woodcarver in his own right, Crowe honed her skills, carrying her tools to school to pursue her passion for creativity and even selling her carvings as a child.
From Blue Ridge Heritage on her career as an educator after graduating from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago:
Going home and giving something back to her people seemed natural to Amanda Crowe. That decision, said one of her former students, led to the transformation of carving in Cherokee. What had been a minor craft became a virtual art industry, in large part because of her influence as a teacher. Helping students achieve their own goals of learning to carve and sculpt in wood and stone and seeing many of these same students continue their work after graduation became a deep source of pride for her.
This video shares more of her story and her carving work.