The hype around Mud Lowery jewelry designs is so real. I feel like I checked Instagram one day and all of the sudden, I was seeing his work everywhere. But don’t get me wrong, this hype is totally deserved – I caught up with Mud in Fort Worth, Texas where he was promoting his work at a Sip-N-Shop event hosted by Sterling Coomer. He’s an incredibly humble and personal guy with a knack for stunning silver work and bold, unique designs.
As I’ve been doing with other artists, I wanted Mud to weigh in on buying authentic turquoise and what inspires him while giving him a chance to show off his work to a new crowd. If you aren’t a fangirl of his designs yet, prepare to become one!
What is your tribal affiliation?
I’m Lumbee Indian which is a tribe located in Robeson County, North Carolina.
What does your culture mean to you?
It means a lot! My family in North Carolina are the coolest people in the world. They know so much about our tribe and other tribes. They haven’t turned their back on being Native American when times were really hard, not even 50 years ago. We have our own way of speaking, way of cooking – just a whole separate way of life. They are all hardworking, honest, caring and supportive. My grandparents have so many stories about growing up farming and how hard they worked as kids. I have noticed that a lot in most tribes. When my kids get older I want him to be even more involved than I am. I want them to value our tribe and traditions more than we do now.
How did you get started creating jewelry?
My grandma would always buy my sisters and cousins turquoise jewelry when we would go back home to Robeson County. I was always fascinated with the pieces she would buy for them, and the history behind the designs. As I got older, I painted pretty often and got into tooling leather. I always created with more of a “southwest” feel and still really enjoyed learning about Native American art. So, one day I just decided I wanted to take a break from painting and tooling leather and wanted to try silversmithing.
What is the biggest inspiration in your work?
I would say my biggest inspiration would be mountains. Last year I was blessed enough to travel a ton. I always get in such an energized mood and start thinking creatively when I travel. I went to Colorado several times; California, North Carolina, Wyoming, Montana, Idaho, Utah, Canada, Haiti, Italy and Switzerland (all these places have the prettiest mountains). Everywhere I went there were mountains that made me sit and stare. This inspires me to create things that would make someone else sit and stare, whether that be making a cuff or designing art for a t-shirt.
Do you have a favorite piece?
My favorite piece so far would have to be this Squash Blossom I made or this large Royston cuff I made.
What do you want others to see when they get a piece from you?
I want them to be able to tell, just from looking at it, that my pieces are original and that they took time – that I put a lot of thought into the design. I want them to think that their money was well spent.
Do you have a muse?
I do, but they are not jewelry designers. They are just people that I am inspired by, whether that be their creativity or work ethic. I think Virgil Abloh is super inspiring and talented. Sam Larson is an incredible artist and I really enjoy following his work. And then George Strait and Trevor Brazile too.
Is there somewhere you’d love to see your pieces featured?
Vogue, Cowboys and Indians, Western Horseman, really anywhere!
What would you like people to know about you, or what you do?
Man, I’m not sure. I’m super proud to be an enrolled tribal member. I think that it is always a good idea to support Native Americans; there is so much to be learned from all the different tribes. I really appreciate the people that want to learn and support enrolled members. I just want to keep learning and growing and eventually give back to future members. Thanks to some of my close native friends like Shondina (instagram: @ShondinaLee) I get to have really meaningful conversations about our culture and how special it is to be enrolled.
Where are you located now?
Fort Worth, Texas!
What’s the best way for someone to buy a piece from you?
My new (and improving) website- MudLowery.com
Thank you so much to Mud for giving me the inside story on being a native jewelry designer and what inspires you. Readers, definitely check out his website and social media as well. I want to encourage you to support native American artists, as the western industry is so heavily influenced by their work and culture.
Follow Mud Lowery on Social:
Facebook: Mud Lowery