Kelli Palmer is a combination of the Warm Springs, Wasco, Paiute, Shoshone, Yakama, and Hoopa tribes. She grew up on the Warm Springs Indian reservation. The influence of her art shines through in the traditional Native American baskets, both the Wapus and Cornhusk.
Growing up, Kelli would watch her mother make Wapus (traditional root gathering) baskets. She would sit there while her mom taught classes, watching the ladies weave until it was dark outside. When her mother was helping at a Northwest Native American Basketweavers Association basket gathering, her mom tricked her into walking around and she ended up sitting down for her first class. After that, Kelli was hooked.
She has been making baskets for many years now and hasn’t been able to stop since that first class. While she creates other forms of art, including beadwork and sewing, she is still known for her baskets. She now teaches her own basketry classes in different areas of Oregon and Washington. But Kelli hasn’t stopped learning; she still asks her mother questions, reads books, and is always researching to learn more.
Kelli has also participated in many shows over the years and has received awards. She received Best in Show at a Tribal Member Art Show in Warm Springs in 2009 and Honorable Mention at the show in 2011. She has also had her art displayed at Central Oregon Community College, Juried & Invitational Exhibition All Things Considered VI Show at Fuller Craft Museum, and the Oregon Folklife Network.