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*New Jewelry* Updated: February 3rd 2014
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Ken WilliamsKen Williams
  "I am a beadworker. I was born into this artistic tradition and I have had the benefit of generations’ worth of knowledge and experience passed onto me. Beadwork is something I grew up with, it is both familiar and comforting. For these things, I am very grateful.
  I am mostly self-taught; I began observing and experimenting with beadwork when I was six years old. While residing on my father’s reservation, the Cattaraugus Seneca Indian Territory in western New York, my older brother Dallin Maybee and I would experiment with beading and we learned the techniques mostly through trial and error. I started with basic necklaces and earrings, along with smaller miniature pouches, which I sold locally to much success. I continued to work with these types of projects until I was about 13.
  As a teenager, I moved to Utah and began to spend more time with mother’s family at the Wind River Indian Reservation in Wyoming. My family there, the Spoonhunters, have long been regarded as master beadworkers. Their influence and guidance came at a pivotal time for me, such that their support and inspiration spurred me to start bigger projects like dolls, bags, cradleboards, and moccasins. Both my late uncle Robert Spoonhunter and my aunt Agnes Spoonhunter Logan were key role models who encouraged me to pursue beadwork as a serious life endeavor. I resolved to focus on refining my work—not only as a potential future for myself, but also so as to reflect well upon my family’s reputation.
  In the spring of 2007, I graduated from the Institute of American Indian Arts (IAIA) with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Museum Studies. During my studies, I took advantage of taking traditional beadwork classes from my “sister”, and instructor, Teri Greeves. Teri encouraged me to discover my “own” style and in many ways, she really broke me out of my shell. I newly realized how my personal contemporary style could interplay with hundreds of years of traditional beadwork aesthetics. She instilled me with an added confidence about myself and my work; this confidence came from recognizing who I am, where I’ve been, and that my future is full of new possibilities.
  All of this points to my current work, which manifests a truly modern style that is still firmly rooted in my traditional upbringing. I have come to focus mostly on fancy bags of all sizes and shapes, including handbags, shoulder pouches, and delicate pictorial purses. I strive to have my pieces tell stories and build memories, not only for myself and my family, but hopefully, also for those new people who I will meet that are attracted to my work. As I look forward towards my future, I am proud to say that my beadwork will continue to evolve, just as the traditions themselves have done so before me."
  Ken Williams beaded purseKen Willams *NEW*
Beaded Purse


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