It’s always such an honor working with Tayler Gutierrez! Tay is an indigenous woman and talented beadwork artist who started her small business, ‘Kamama Beadwork, during the peak of coronavirus and her work took off from there. This specific shoot was our second major editorial together and was used for her September launch. I’m so dang excited to share her work on my blog and coincidentally enough, so close to Native Heritage Month!
Handmade cultural art. If I had three words to describe Tayler’s work, that is what I would use. She is a mixed Cherokee artist that grew up in Washington State and is currently studying fine art at the Institute of American Indian Arts in Santa Fe, New Mexico. Before she took her business full time, she worked at a museum that closed during the pandemic and when given the opportunity to return to work, she chose her passion for her craft.
Using Instagram as her marketing platform, her first collection of beadwork sold out in five minutes. (AMAZING). In a New York Times article we were featured in, she mentioned, “It takes around eight hours to make one pair of floral beaded earrings.” Yes, EIGHT hours. She puts an insane amount of heart and detail into her work and it shows. Designs that native artists use are often passed down from one generation to the next, honoring indigenous traditions, dreams, and rituals. Which, in my opinion, is a fundamental part of how cultural art influences society today.
From the start, my vision for this shoot included a pool scene. Sadly, we didn’t have any connections at the time, so I brushed it off and left it to chance. On my second tiny plane into Santa Fe, I ended up sitting by a girl whose mom lived near the area we were planning on shooting. She was super sweet and we exchanged info before going our separate ways.
The next day, I found out the location we had planned for fell through. Immediately that morning, I drove around location scouting for a backup plan. (Insert PANIC) As I walked through the first spot, I thought of the girl on the plane and went into full-on manifestation mode. With fingers crossed, I sent her a message asking if she knew of anyone with a pool we could use. Long story short, her mom’s neighbor saved the day! She happened to also be an artist, had a pool, and wanted to connect. We met via phone and solidified details the day of. It was a freaking Godsend and turned out to be the exact vibe we were looking for!
Kamama Beadwork | Handmade cultural art. If I had three words to describe Tayler’s work, that is what I would use. She is a mixed Cherokee artist that grew up in Washington State. Currently, she studies fine art….