I am Kassie Kussman.
I’ve always been an artistic person. Growing up in NorthSt. Louis county Missouri, where the schools are not the best, I struggled academically but excelled in art. I graduated high school and later earned a degree in Graphic Design. Soon after I worked as an Art Director for a number of years until I had my daughter.
It’s important to me to teach her about our indigenous heritage. Because my ancestors were forced to assimilate into colonial society and being raised in a city so far removed from our Cherokee community my family had little cultural knowledge to pass on to me.
I learned the traditional art of silversmithing as a way to reconnect with my culture. I strive to create heirloom-quality pieces my daughter will be proud to pass on to her children. Through silversmithing I have been able to learn about where I come from and express myself as an indigenous woman in ways I’ve never been able to before. In many of my pieces you will find traditional Cherokee designs, like woven basket patterns and other culturally important symbols.
My hope in sharing my work and my story is to let people know what it means to be Native American today.