Dawn Wallace

I was born in Santa Fe, NM and grew up there spending most of my time in the gallery/studio of my parents, Denise and Samuel Wallace.  I began with watching and then working on my parents jewelry and eventually graduated to creating and selling my own work.

My parents worked together on the jewelry they created.  My mothers strong connection to her Alaskan Native heritage is clear in her designs.  

My grandmother was born in Cordova, Alaska but at 14 went away to a boarding school.  Of the 6 children my grandmother had, 4 chose to move back to and live in Cordova, but my mother chose a different path.  She met my father and they moved to Santa Fe, NM  where she attended the Institute for American Indian Arts.  She began selling her jewelry as a vendor under the Portal at The Palace of the Govenors in down town Santa Fe and later at Indian Market and eventually at their own gallery.  

They settled in Santa Fe but she took my brother and I up to Alaska every summer.  While I know she enjoyed the life they created in New Mexico, she also very much missed Alaska and her siblings.  Her designs reflect her love of her family and culture and I think creating them is a way of bringing that with her where ever she is and sharing it with others. 
My Fathers passion for stones was obvious in the care he put into the selection and carving of each stone.  They worked together, her designing and fabricating and him doing the inlay and lapidary.  Together I think they created really innovative work.

So this is where my jewelry and art career began.  When I started to make my own work I applied to SWAIA's Indian Market and was accepted into the youth category at 14 years old.

A couple years later my parents decided it was time for a change and new adventure. They closed the gallery, packed up everything and moved across the Pacific Ocean to live on the Big Island of Hawaii  

I took a break from Jewelry Making to finish up with my schooling  and to adjust to living in Hawaii. After graduation I attended college in NYC and graduated with an  A.A.S in Jewelry design from the Fashion Institute of Technology. 

After moving back to Hawaii from NYC I met my husband and we live here on the Big Island with our three children. We bring them up to Cordova every summer like my mother did with me as well as trying to get back to visit my husbands home in American Samoa.  

I have continued to attend and sell the jewelry at the SWAIA Indian Market in Santa Fe each year, as well as the Heard Indian Market in Phoenix.   It is also exhibited and sold through galleries in Alaska, New York,  New Mexico, Vermont and Sydney, Australia.  

I work with my brother David Wallace in the same way that our parents did.  He does all of the stone and Fossil Tusk inlay for my jewelry.  My designs often reflect my Native Heritage and connection to my family in Alaska.  They are more contemporary though.  I’m inspired by Alaska, my family there, and the land and animals, by my children, my husband and our tropical home.  Lines are important to me and I try to give them a lyrical quality and motion when designing the jewelry.  I also hope to tell a short story in each piece and often include parts of the animals habitat within the portraits. 

Watch a movie about the Wallace family here: this segment of Crafts In America (PBS) from 2007 tells their story.