Recognized as the leading voices of today’s Contemporary Native Jewelry scene, Designers and Goldsmiths Melanie Kirk-Lente and Michael Lente (Isleta Pueblo) command a distinctive presence at the top of collectors’ lists world-wide. The Lentes continue to carry on their well-known family tradition in fine jewelry design, being taught by Melanie’s father, renowned artist Andy Lee Kirk.
Constantly striving to combine contemporary elegance with Native American design themes is the driving force that motivates this husband-and-wife team to continually evolve, allowing their designs to actually redefine the art form. Their jewelry design is known for the use of traditional and contemporary materials, such as gold, sterling silver, turquoise, coral, Australian opal, sugilite, and diamonds.
Both as collaborators and individuals, the Lentes have amassed an impressive list of top awards and showings at premier venues, including the Santa Fe Indian Market, Eiteljorg Museum, and Heard Museum. Considered by many to be true works of sculptured fine art, their pieces are presented for acquisition in select fine art galleries throughout the United States, including Santa Fe’s premier venue: Legends Santa Fe.
The family tradition of creating high-quality, collectible jewelry works was established by Andy Kirk, and extends throughout the family to include Melanie’s uncle Michael Kirk and his family: Cousin Anthony Gatewood, Sister Kimberlee Kirk, and most recently, Michael’s brother Andrew Lente.
There are other art mediums constantly explored and expanded on by their family: Metal art by brother Cody Crumbo, and cousin Brandon Jojola, pottery by grandparents, aunts, and Melanie’s mother. The Lentes draw from the rich heritage in Native arts that the entire family shares.
Surrounded by their three daughters, Justine, Taylor, and Samantha, inspiration never runs short. Life in their native Isleta Pueblo is ingrained with their Native beliefs and steeped in centuries-old traditions. Participation in pueblo ceremonies remains a priority to their family values. Melanie and Michael share, “Our way of life has been handed down for hundreds of years, and will continue to flourish through the next generation of the Native people.”
Bio from artist website: http://www.lentejewelry.com
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