Pueblo: Kewa (Santo Domingo)

Making heishi is her family’s tradition, and Jan began learning the art as a child. Learning to create heishi from stones and shells is a good memory, because she enjoyed the fact that her whole family sat around the table working together.

As Jan’s skills grew at making heishi, she began to create her own style using many of the same shells and stones as her parents, but with more colors and in a more random design.

Creating beautiful pieces isn’t the only part of the process that Jan enjoys. When people come to buy her work, she likes to indulge in her other passion – cooking. When visitors arrive at her home, she often has a little feast to offer them. Jan cooks not only for visitors, but also for special occasions such as the feast days, weddings, and other celebrations.

Long known for her incredible heishi jewelry, Jan is expanding her skills and is learning to work with silver. It’s a new experience that she finds exciting and one that has opened up ideas for new designs. It’s a continuation of her family’s long tradition of art. Her grandfather was a silversmith and a heishi maker. Janice’s grandmother was a potter, something she says is her next step in her artistic journey. That tradition continues in Jan’s children, who are both artists. She says it was a must that both of her children learn heishi, as well as their own art. It’s all a part of keeping the traditions alive in the next generation.