Skip navigation


by Mavis Doering

Woven hickory strips, leather, feather
Dimensions: 17.75 x 10 x 10
Purchased through a National Endowment for the Arts grant, 1979

Lightning by Mavis Doering

The Artwork

This vertical, soft square-shaped basket has a body comprised of tan and dark brown hickory strips. Lightly colored hickory strips are woven into bands at the top and bottom of the basket. These bands provide a top and bottom to each column of lightning bolts. Dark brown hickory strips draw attention to the lip of the basket. By using leather to attach a single feather which runs the length of the lightning-patterned body of the basket, the artist is able to create emphasis.

The Artist

Mavis Doering was born in Hominy, Oklahoma and was the third generation of a family of basketmakers. In the 1970s, she began researching weaving techniques by gleaning information from books and museums. She was mostly self-taught. Beginning in the 1970s, she researched weaving techniques from books in libraries and museums. Through these studies, Doering was mostly self-taught.

Doering created baskets that were primarily of post-removal Cherokee basket patterns and materials, but she added her own personal elements through painting and the addition of feathers and beads. She produced mostly double-walled baskets, many of which honored legends and took the shape of clay pots.

Doering is known to have gathered her own materials and make her own dyes from materials she gathered from her mother's land near Tahlequah. For her weaving materials she used buckbrush, reed, honeysuckle runners, white oak splits, ash splits, river cane, and cattail leaves. In addition to a wide range of natural dyes which she made from nut hulls, berries, and leaves, Doering also experimented with brilliant aniline dyes.

Doering exhibited her baskets widely, including at such venues as the Southern Plains Indian Museum, Coulter Bay Indian Art Museum in Anadarko, Wheelwright Museum of the American Indian in Santa Fe, Fred Jones Jr. Museum of Art in Norman, Oklahoma Historical Society of Oklahoma City, the Kennedy Center in Washington DC, and the Smithsonian Institution Folklife Festival in Washington DC. In 1982 and 1983, she received majors commissions from the Oklahoma State Arts Council for over 50 baskets.