Published on June 17, 2014 by Carol
Lita Atencio is a member of Santo Domingo Pueblo. She was born in the pueblo and lives there today with her husband and children.
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Santo Domingo is well known as the home of skilled Native American jewelers. Bead making has been practiced there for many years and remains an important art form, along with other jewelry and pottery. Lita grew up in a family that made and sold beads.
She remembers traveling to California as a young child, to help sell her family’s jewelry at a show. Lita began to learn bead making by helping her mother.
As each step in the intricate process was mastered, she grew closer to the accomplished artist she is today. When asked if she preferred making one type of bead more than others, she smiled and said “I like making them all”.
There is great variety in Lita’s bead necklaces. Not only does she use an assortment of materials, but she is a master of many styles of beads, from fine shell heishi to polished pillow shaped beads of turquoise. She cuts and polishes rondels of various sizes that her children nicknamed Cheerios, because of the shape they most resemble. Her necklaces can be an elegant single strand of rolled turquoise or multiple strands of fine melon shell beads, finished with heishi and sterling cones with a hook clasp.
Lita attends a few select shows across the country and we are very pleased to present her work in the gallery.