Making jewelry started over 20 years ago when Pat was fortunate enough to study under a local silversmith, Greg Lewis. Working in traditional materials (silver, copper) learning traditional repousse techniques (stamp and hammer), this gave him a firm foundation in jewelry fabrication, tool development, and general craftsmanship. Several years later, he met Charlie Bird, another esteemed jeweler from Paguate. He taught Pat a different view on silverwork and aesthetics of jewelry design.
During his college years at Southern Methodist University (Dallas, TX), Pat studied Mechanical Engineering and landed a position in a prototype machine shop building one off components for various mechanical devices. This apprenticeship was a true eyeopener. Learning the skills of a machinist was a blessing. Pat thanks George Sabolski for taking the time to teach him.
Acquiring all these skills eventually lead to the startup and growth of his current business, Custom Steel. Yet after many years producing jewelry for body piercing, Pat still craved making personal adornment like he had in years past.
It was only until recently that he felt comfortable introducing a new medium, style and technique (along with tons of encouragement from friends and artists alike) into a market that is solely defined by what native art *should* be. This time using a different skill set and utilizing a material that was familiar to him (SS). His design still has traditional native undertones, with a contemporary edge. Coupled with influences both on and off the reservation, industrial design, and limitations forced onto him by the material of choice.
– To step out of traditional fabrication techniques and materials, yet remain true to my sense of style, aesthetics, and tradition, with exotic materials that are both familiar and foreign to me.
– To pull artistic elements from various cultures (both native and non-native) across decades of industrial and traditional design.
– To gain recognition and acceptance by both my peers and community for the innovative use of technology in a market that is judged by its definition of *traditional*.
– To push the envelope on what is considered *native*
– Finally, to just have fun.
Pat Pruitt won Best of Show at the 2017 SWAIA Indian Market with his sculpture titled, "Sentinal v1.0". Made from more than 800 individual pieces of Titanium and Zirconium, Sentinal v1.0 is the perfect silhouette of a traditional Laguna pot. Once again Pat pushes the boundaries on what Native art is, by blending futuristic materials and technologies with traditional designs and aesthetics.