Tawney Willie-Cruz held out till she was nearly thirty before learning how to turn silver and stone into the beautiful jewelry her family is so well known for crafting. She began lessons with her father, renowned silversmith Lonnie Willie. Learning along with her were her husband, Allen Cruz, and her younger brother Cooper. Tawney feels blessed to have parents who have provided her with two quite different native backgrounds to grow up with and enjoy. Her father is of Navajo roots while her mother is from South Dakota and of Sioux ancestry. Tawney is happy to share both native cultures and now draws from both in her jewelry designs with she describes as traditional with a bit of contemporary twist. The jewelry making techniques she enjoys most are the three S’s – saw work, stamp work and shaping. Eight to twelve hours days at the work bench are common and welcome her these days. When possible she relaxes with her favorite activities-shopping, hiking cooking and more shopping!