Published on June 16, 2013 by Amy
Early in his life, award-winning designer, Fritz Casuse, showed natural aptitude for the arts which his family encouraged. As a graduate of the Institute of American Indian Arts, where he studied sculpture, Fritz has adapted his experience in other artistic disciplines to his jewelry. He views his jewelry as “something you can walk through,” highlighting an attention to dimension and texture that offers a sense of space and wonder. Each of Fritz’s designs focus on color and balance, enticing you to regard the whole work as a single masterful sculpture. His designs truly break the mold on Native American jewelry with a contemporary stroke that will amaze collectors.
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Fritz’s early work experience as a graphic designer, eventually gave way to jewelry-making as he gradually became more involved in his projects for the Santa Fe Indian Market. His efforts would garner accolades from some of the most prestigious art fairs dedicated to Native American work. Fritz holds blue ribbons from both the Heard Museum Guild Indian Fair & Market (2005) and the Santa Fe Indian Market (2005). In 2006, he became a fellow of the Southwestern Association for Indian Arts, and added to his honors “Best of Classification” awards from both the Heard Museum and the Santa Fe Indian Market for his 18k yellow and white gold perfume-vial ring, Nizoniful.
Mindful of his role in encouraging the next generation of Native American artisans, Fritz has returned as an instructor to the Poeh Arts Center in Pojoaque, NM, where he was once a student. His time as a teacher has helped to strengthen his own skills as a jewelry-maker and inspires him and his students to experiment with progressive designs. An amiable spirit, Fritz explains that his fashion-forward, sculptural jewelry designs are a combination of forethought and serendipitous discovery, resulting in jewelry that excites both his students and collectors. Examples of his awe-inspiring jewelry can be seen in Dexter Cirillo’s book, Southwestern Indian Jewelry.
Fritz, who has called Santa Fe, NM home for the last 12 years, is originally from Twin Lakes, NM in the Eastern part of the Navajo reservation in New Mexico. He started his family four years ago and shares his home with his wife and 3 year old son. The subtle balance of his environment – the purity and texture of architecture, landscape, insects and animals, and the sea – and the fun of family-life and teaching, mix together in a creative experience that doesn’t feel like a job.
Teaching has been especially rewarding. As a role model for his son, his nieces and nephews, and his students, he has found that he learns as much as teaches. His students, in particular, provide a unique experience as they come from different tribes and pueblos bringing with them their customs and heritage. In the end, Fritz says that he has a difficult time describing his own work to others.
Relios, a Non-Native-owned company in Albuquerque, New Mexico, is excited to bring Fritz’s jewelry to a broader audience. His design trademarks include textured sterling silver, stones, and pearls. Each piece of Fritz’s jewelry is marked with his personal hallmark to ensure you are purchasing a genuine piece of jewelry designed by Fritz.