“I traded one precarious life of ups and downs for another – most people don’t choose the life of an artist, so you really have to want it.” –Shane Hendren Shane Hendren is a self-described Genuine American and it shows in everything he does. Born into a New Mexico ranching family, Hendren learned bull riding and metalworking before discovering his real talent for creating beautiful and unique jewelry. Hendren honed his talents at the Institute of American Indian Arts and the University of New Mexico, where he graduated with a rare BFA in all disciplines. So he’s as adept at sculpting, painting and even performing on stage as he is at his vocation. Fortunately for us, he chose the art of jewelry. And despite his long and storied ancestry of Irish, Choctaw and Navajo descent, Hendren puts no limitations on his artistic process. “I never did self-identify as an Indian artist – I never saw myself that way,” he says. Hendren has dedicated over 20 years to developing my skills as a metalsmith, focusing my production on jewelry. It has progressed through various evolutions denoted by techniques like mokume-gane, cuttlefish and tufa casting and hollow form construction, to name a few. Indian Arts & Crafts Association, the world's leading American Indian Arts Alliance, named Hendren its 2016 Artist of the Year. This prestigious honor has been awarded to Hendren three times, a first in the history of IACA.