Porcupine Hair, 18k Gold & Diamond Tulip Statement Earrings by Ataumbi Metals
Contemporary Native American work: These museum-quality porcupine hair tulip earrings are nearly 11" in length and are lightweight. As featured in a number of Vogue Magazine articles, Native American artist Keri Ataumbi's work is eye catching and one-of-a-kind.The tulip top is silver and gold with white pavé set diamonds. The drop features 18k yellow gold and black rose-cut diamond beads with porcupine hair. The porcupine hair drops are removable, leaving you with lovely large "studs" with diamonds.
The artist says "I'm interested in making work that combines elements we as indigenous people hold valuable (elk teeth, buffalo, feathers, porcupine hair etc.) with elements considered valuable in the popular culture (diamonds, high-carat gold, precious stones, etc.). There is a beauty that happens in combining different value systems through material that is inclusive. My work is a platform to educate and share my culture in a non-appropriated manner. I am very conscious of some elements of my culture that are inappropriate to share through my work and other elements of my culture that can be a tool to help create connections and honor our traditional aesthetics.
Raised on the Wind River Reservation in Wyoming, Keri Ataumbi was exposed to both traditional Native American aesthetics and contemporary art theory and practice from an early age. Her Kiowa mother ran a trading post and her Italian-American father is famous for his bronze sculptures. Ataumbi and her sister were encouraged to pursue their individual interests in art.
Ataumbi attended Rhode Island School of Design before moving to Santa Fe in 1990. After moving to Santa Fe she worked as a landscape designer while attending the Institute of American Indian Arts and eventually received a BFA in painting with a minor in art history from the College of Santa Fe. She currently lives and works in the Cerrillos Hills outside Santa Fe.
2000-2003 College of Santa Fe B.F.A., Magna Cum Laude, Painting and Art History.
1994-1996 Institute Of American Indian Arts A.F.A., Sculpture.
1990-1991 Rhode Island School of Design.
“My jewelry has a conceptual narrative exploration as its core. I use traditional Kiowa imagery and materials in a contemporary form.”
Assuming jewelry is a form of art, there is any number of standard mass-produced pieces. Alongside these easily recognized, easy to wear, staid mass marketable pieces, there is the fashion market, aimed to support trendy baubles. There is also ethnic jewelry, rooted in tradition, but more and more being made in mass for tourists. However emerging across the world and standing apart from these previously mentioned approaches to jewelry is the unique category of wearable art. In creating this type of jewelry the artist develops a concept and design, addresses the relationship between object and the body and thus engages in and deepens the discussion of fine art.
“The purpose of jewelry is not just for adornment. There’s information in it and it changes you when you put it on.”
My jewelry falls into the category of wearable art as it has a conceptual narrative exploration at its core. I am Native American, I use traditional Kiowa imagery and materials in contemporary form. This inquiry happens through an exploration of imagery and materials to create a small sculpture complete upon its own, as well as worn on the body. Informed by current visual culture, the history and theory of modern art and my personal aesthetic, my goal is to create work that strives to embrace contemporary jewelry making strategies by applying artistic methodologies that are different from traditional design processes. Different in that their dynamic comes from a content-based inquiry rather than tried and true design, marketability or a traditional form.
This piece is part of the NYCJW HERE WE ARE Marketplace. HERE WE ARE is a strategic initiative that supports the diverse spectrum of creators within the jewelry community by creating impact and action within and outside the industry through awareness, empowerment, and education. Launched in 2019 under the guidance of NYCJW’s Director of Cultural Diversity and Inclusion, Elliot Carlyle, HERE WE ARE is a combination of community-driven events including panels, webinars, and exhibitions. Initially designed to reflect and celebrate the many and varied cultures & visions across New York City, NYC Jewelry Week is excited to expand the reach of HWA across the United States as the platform enters its third year in November of 2021.
With over 50 participants, HERE WE ARE 2021 presents the work of fresh emerging talent alongside innovative established talent in the field of jewelry. HWA celebrates the voices and visions that make the jewelry world one of the most captivating industries around, HWA kicks off with an introduction to the faces and names of the hand-selected jewelers and artists involved.
Each jeweler and artist chosen to be a part of HWA 2021 has created a business that presents a well-crafted collection or body of work, a unique vision, and a dedication to the work. HWA serves to provide a platform for visibility, business growth, and connections for the jewelers involved and is focused on the pursuit of equity within the jewelry industry.