Biography and Look Book
"Shokmalli' Collection look book
Kristen Dorsey Designs, LLC was founded in 2011 by Kristen Dorsey. For Kristen, jewelry is more than just ornamental adornment; it is a medium with which she has forged her cultural identity. Looking to her cultural heritage, her feminine, handcrafted jewelry pieces are a unique mix of Chickasaw visual traditions infused with inspiration drawn from the beauty of the California Coast.
Dorsey honed her craft at the School of the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston, MA while earning a degree in American studies with a concentration in Native American studies from Tufts University. Dorsey’s academic and artistic interests converge in her jewelry. The materials and techniques she uses reflect Dorsey’s research and passion for the history of Native American southeastern adornment. As a result, Kristen Dorsey Designs offers clients a unique historical and cultural perspective. Chickasaw jewelry is characterized by shell carving, copper relief sculpture, and freshwater pearls. Using Mississippian imagery from shell and copper gorgets as inspiration, Dorsey creates jewelry using traditional materials. She is also noted for her work in the traditional southeastern technique of creating relief work from flat sheet metal, commonly known by the French name repoussé. According to Dorsey, “working with these materials and imagery connects me to my ancestors. I firmly believe that culture is never lost, but rather forgotten, and creating art is a way to remember. I strive to create timeless jewelry which is rooted within tradition while maintaining a contemporary edge and elegance."
"I believe that jewelry is a sacred narrative. Jewelry captures a moment of significance for the wearer, it marks important transitions in a life, it symbolizes relationships with one another, with one’s community, with one’s cultural identity, and with one’s spirituality."
Kristen Dorsey Designs, LLC continually strives to maintain environmentally friendly and ethical manufacturing practices. All pieces are built by hand in Los Angeles, California using conflict-free natural gemstones and recycled metals.
Kristen Dorsey is proud to be a member of the Native Jewelers Society, a community of Native American Jewelers and collectors formed to promote the work of Native American Jewelers around the country. View her profile here.