Published On: Tue, Nov 20th, 2018

How Amanda Crowe became a Google Doodle

The late Amanda Crowe (1928-2004), famed Eastern Band Cherokee wood carver, was featured as the Google Doodle on Friday, Nov. 9. (Image courtesy of Google)

 

By SCOTT MCKIE B.P.

ONE FEATHER STAFF

 

The world learned of a master woodcarver as they fired up Google on the morning of Friday, Nov. 9.  The late Amanda Crowe (1928-2004), famed Eastern Band Cherokee wood carver, was featured as the Google Doodle for that day.

“I stumbled across Amanda Crowe’s work when doing some research and was immediately entranced by her beautiful sculptures,” said Lydia Nichols, Google Doodler who worked on the project.  “The more I read about Crowe – her journey as an artist and her commitment to education and giving back to her community – the more I knew I found someone special who would be a perfect fit for a Doodle and the larger Doodle team agreed.”

Crowe, who started wood carving as a child, taught the art to over 2,000 students at Cherokee High School during her four decade tenure there.  Information that went with the Google Doodle on Nov. 9 described the importance of her legacy, “As many prominent American Indian artists studied under Crowe, her tutelage has been credited with fostering a resurgence of Cherokee carving.  Crowe’s work has been showcased in the High Museum in Atlanta and the Mint Museum in Charlotte in addition to private collections all over the world.”

Amanda Crowe (center) is shown in an undated public domain photo teaching wood carving to Cherokee students.

Nichols said preliminary research into Crowe came from the internet.  “But, that was just the tip of the iceberg.  We were lucky enough to work closely with Ms. Crowe’s nephew, Bill Crowe Jr., who was once a student of his aunt’s.  He was able to walk us through the woodcarving process and provide a more in-depth glimpse into his aunt’s life.  We also benefited tremendously from a partnership with Qualla Arts & Crafts Mutual who so generously provided access to Ms. Crowe’s original artwork.”

Crowe studied various forms of sculpture at the Art Institute of Chicago earning a Master of Fine Arts Degree.  She related that carving wood was always her favorite medium and was once quoted as saying, “The grain challenges me to create objects in three dimensions.  A mistake or flaw in the wood will improve your design.  To me, a knot can be the best part.”

It takes time and a team to create a Google Doodle.  “It took about four months to create the Doodle,” said Nichols, “including photographing Amanda’s carvings housed at Qualla Arts and Crafts Mutual, creating the animatic, a sort of moving sketch, and completing the final art.  We also shot a behind-the-scenes film on location in Cherokee, North Carolina to showcase Amanda’s life.”

The following staff worked with Nichols on the project: Helene Leroux, animation support; Colin Duffy, producer; Perla Campos, Madeline Belliveau, and Carlos Diaz – Marketing, Partnerships, & Licensing; William “Bill” H. Crowe Jr., music; Google American Indian Network, consultants; Jessica Yu, Brian Kaas, Doodle Team lead; and Silas Hite, music support.

Crowe’s works can be seen in collections at the Cleveland Museum of Natural History, the U.S. Department of the Interior, and the National Museum of the American Indian.

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