Kristen Vanzandt from KVZ Designs

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Kristen Vanzandt from KVZ Designs

Amazing Hand Beaded Jewelry

More than 15 years ago, as a fearless and highly-experienced emergency nurse, Kristen VanZandt was a volunteer with a medical NGO providing healthcare to the isolated and impoverished of Lake Atitlán, Guatemala. Kristen was captivated with the spirit of Guatemala’s indigenous T’zutujil Maya. She gained their trust and love and in turn, they introduced her to their incredible trade-crafts---traditional weaving, crochet and macramé expertise handed down by generations for thousands of years. These artisans have adeptly applied the skill of backstrap weaving to the intricate use of beading.
     Kristen then made a bold career change and created a collective of skilled T’zutujil artisans and empowered them to use their ancient skills and construct one-of-a-kind necklaces, bracelets and earrings. Because of the complexity of KVZ Designs, just one piece can contain thousands of hand-laid stiches and individually woven glass seed beads in dozens of colors. As many as five or six artisans can be involved in completing one item. 
     Her distinct and imaginative designs have a graceful style that ranges from the subtle to the standout in both color and texture combinations. Kristen not only takes inspiration from the palettes and patterns of traditional Mayan dress known as the huipil, but also her lifetime of travels and interactions with cultures from all over the world. Each piece is a treasure, and expresses the bright personality and genuine soulfulness of the designer. 
     KVZ Designs have been showcased in world-renowned museum retail boutiques such as the Carnegie Museum of Art, The J. Paul Getty Museum, the National Museum of Women in the Arts, the Smithsonian Institution and various Peabody Museums.


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