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Kelly Church - Ottawa / Chippewa


 Kelly Church is a member of the Grand Traverse Band of Ottawa and Chippewa Indians in Michigan.  She comes from and unbroken line of Black ash basket makers, and from the largest black ash weaving family in the Great Lakes.  She is an artist and activist and shares her knowledge of working with black ash trees as well as educating the public on the effects of the Emerald ash borer on cultural traditions.  

She has received numerous awards and Fellowships for her basketry including the NMAI Artist Leadership Program (2006, 2009-2011), SWAIA Fellowship 2008, Artist in Residence at the Eiteljorg Museum 2009, Artist in Cultural Collaboration for US Embassy of Canada 2012-2013, FPF Business Leadership Award, Basket Maker representative for the Great Lakes at the Smithsonian Folk Life Festival 2006, and most recently was awarded a Native Arts and Culture Fellowship for Traditional Arts.

She has shown her contemporary baskets and paintings in shows Nationally and Internationally at the United Nations in NYC, Museum of Arts and Design, NYC, NMAI DC and NYC, Santa Fe Indian Market, Italy, Germany, Spain, England and the Netherlands, among many other places.

She is best known for her creativity in combining metals, and photos into her baskets, and using her baskets in her activism as with her “Seventh Generation Black Ash Basket” woven out of vinyl blind, and ribbon.  She is known for weaving innovative creations such as the Strawberries, Fiberge Eggs, Top Hats, and Bracelets of copper and black ash.


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