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Shane Hendren

Balance and harmony are the core values that motivate Navajo artist Shane Hendren and define the hours of thought and hard work that he spends in his Albuquerque, NM studio. Everything, from his practice of natural horsemanship to art and to the time spent with his family, is entwined intimately. His lifestyle is reflected in the marriage of metals and mokume-gane techniques that form the foundation of his jewelry work.

Since 1990, when Shane took his first jewelry course at the Institute of American Indian Arts, he has viewed jewelry as “sculpture for the body.” Metalsmithing was a natural process for Shane and pushing the envelope of jewelry-making was an exciting challenge. He became drawn to the difficult technique of laminating metals and marriage of metals known as mokume-gane. His research of mokume-gane and the Samurai tradition from which the technique comes exposed parallels between it and his own Navajo traditions; the individual participant’s dedication and honoring of their craft as well as all other phases of their life define the person.

The Japanese technique of combining metals is not only symbolic of the way Shane walks in two worlds, as a traditional Native American and also as a contemporary global citizen, but also a physical representation of that. Awards from Santa Fe Indian Market, the Heard Museum, Eiteljorg Museum and other shows across the country serve to bolster the validity and integrity of his jewelry and honor his years of dedicated effort and hard work. Recently, a piece of Hendren’s work, the Dragon Fly, was purchased by the British Museum for its permanent collection.