The Indian Arts & Craft Association at its annual spring show and sale selected Albuquerque, New Mexico-based artist Shane Hendren as their 2007-2008 Artist of the Year. It is the first time in the history of this organization this prestigious award has been given on a masterpiece that has Japanese influence. Hendren charts this Native American Craft movement for a contemporary piece of jewelry that incorporates various advanced metalsmithing techniques, including, but not limited to the Japanese laminating technique known as mokume gane. The necklace titled “Sacred Circles” is a reversible masterpiece, with each circle tufa cast, married metals accentuate the outside of seven circles, accented with 27 layers of copper and silver mokume-gane shadowboxed on one side, and inlaid with Wright’s Mountain on the reverse side. The Museum of Indian Arts & Culture purchased this necklace for their permanent collection.
Shane Hendren, of Navajo, Choctaw, Comanche and Irish heritage, attended the Institute of the American Indian Arts in Santa Fe, NM where he received a degree in museum management and studied metalsmithing. Since the 1990s, Shane Hendren, has developed what he calls “Native Minimalism”. Jewelry professor Lane Coulter introduced marriage of metals and mokume-gane techniques in 1990 to Hendren. He also brought in masters such as Harvey Begay, Sessim Durgham, Dwayne Maktima, Michael Good and others to teach and inspire his students. Shane produced his first mokume-gane at IAIA in 1991. Metalsmithing was a natural process for Shane and pushing the envelope of jewelry was an exciting challenge.
Upon graduation from IAIA Shane pursued a museum career. He installed the first exhibit for the Museum of the American Indian in New York City and the inaugural exhibit for the IAIA Museum at its current location. Shane continued his jewelry studies with Professor Constance DeJong at the University of New Mexico were he received his BFA in all disciplines in 1997. He was determined to produce work that epitomizes his core values of balance and harmony while reinforcing his traditional understanding of the universe. His research of mokume-gane and the Samurai tradition from which the technique comes exposed parallels between it and his own Navajo traditions.
Using the Japanese technique of laminating metals in his jewelry was not only symbolic of the way Shane walks in two worlds but also a physical representation of that. These techniques are virtually unused by other Indigenous jewelers and few non-native jewelers due to the high level of skill required to perform them.
Shane Hendren’s designs and work recently received First, Second, & Third Place Honors at the Eiteljorg Museum Indian Market in Indianapolis, IN. At these national and international shows, Hendren continues to represent Albuquerque and his community winning awards and putting Albuquerque, NM at the top of his clients list. Hendren’s vibrant designs continue to draw ribbons nationally from various Museum Exhibition from Coast to Coast, competing with other jewelers from different parts of the United States and Canada. These accolade bolster the validity and integrity of his jewelry and honor his years of dedicated effort and hard work. The artist can be contacted directly via email at firstname.lastname@example.org or by calling 505-833-0301. More information and examples of his other work can be found at the website, www.shanehendren.com.