My name is Shane R. Hendren, I was born into a ranching family in New Mexico USA. Growing up my family instilled in me a strong work ethic and appreciation for the culture and traditions of my forbearers. This foundation was buttressed by visits to museums and cultural activities that broadened my horizons and opened my eyes to all of the possibilities that art had to offer.
I grew up drawing, painting and expressing my creativity by any means I had at hand. Frequently my subject matter was the livestock and people who cared for them that I was exposed to. From an early age I was aware of the equipment that the cowboys around me used and I was enamored by it. I learned that the quality of a person’s equipment reflected their dedication to their vocation and respect for their equine partners. I often pondered as a child the source of the silver bits I coveted because they could not be found in the local feed stores tack department.
My Granddad had the World Champion Quarter Horses and I learned that he ordered his fancy bits from craftsmen in the USA and Mexico who built them individually by hand. This was my first awareness that there were people who dedicated their lives to producing what I saw as works of art. This affinity never left me. When I went to college at the Institute of American Indian Arts where I earned a degree in Museum Management, I embraced the opportunity to learn the fundamentals of metal smithing and silver-smithing. The metals classes there provided me with a solid foundation in these skills and opened my eyes to the unlimited possibilities the noble metals possessed.
I continued my education at the University of New Mexico earning a BFA in all disciplines in 1993. It was at UNM that I built my first spurs from scratch for a metal sculpture class. I viewed spurs the way I do jewelry, as sculpture with a context. In critiques, I had to defend and explain this and why or how I could even consider spurs art. The popular belief among the art community at the time was that if something was functional it was not art. I was successful in defending my spurs as art, because I did copious amounts of research about the cowboy arts and their long and varied tradition. This research only deepened my admiration of the work and the people who dedicated their lives to producing it.
I have dedicated the last twenty-two years into developing my skills as a metal smith, focusing my production on jewelry. Over the years my work has matured and improved to the point that it is my primary vocation and how I provide for my family. My jewelry has progressed through various evolutions that are denoted by the metal smithing techniques I was focused on at the time, such as mokume-gane, cuttlefish and tufa casting, hollow form construction to name a few.