Ellouise Crispin was born to Nancy & Doniciano Crispin of Kewa Pueblo, New Mexico (formerly known as Santo Domingo Pueblo) at the Santa Fe Indian Hospital in 1968. She is the second oldest of Don and Nancy’s five children.
Ellouise grew up in the family home on the Kewa Pueblo Lands with her sister and three brothers. She started learning the family craft of jewelry making and design at the age of four and by the age of ten, she was designing and creating her own pieces. Grinding, sanding, and shaping stones by hand (heishi), slicing stones for inlays and stringing the heishi beads. She would accompany her parents when they sold their jewelry at the Palace of the Governor’s in Santa Fe, New Mexico, or to other artisan/Native American arts and craft shows. Don and Nancy would take their children with them to Arizona, Colorado and Northern New Mexico to buy the raw materials needed for their jewelry, teaching their children about the quality of the materials, where the best mines were, and the various types of turquoise. Ellouise literally learned how to make jewelry from the ground up.
After graduating from Bernalillo High School, Ellouise attended New Mexico Highlands University for her advance education. She then enrolled at the Southwestern Indian Polytechnic Institute (SIPI) for her certification as an eye technician. She had a successful career in the eye-care industry but after the birth of her daughter, Ellouise found that working at Casino Hollywood as an EMT and security guard had a more flexible schedule for a single working mother. She found her job at the Casino rewarding and fun. During her employment at the Casino, Ellouise had a son.
Working at the Casino, Ellouise met her future husband, John, and they were married in 2003. They accepted a job as live-in managers at a mobile home park in Albuquerque. With the manager position, Ellouise had the time to return to her artistic passion, making jewelry. John encouraged her to return to the Portal to sell her pieces. And Sunrise Jewelers was born.
Ellouise’s jewelry was quickly recognized as exceptional and became much in demand. She began to attend artisan shows across the southwest. She sold her jewelry at the Santa Fe Indian Market, The Autry Southwestern Indian Arts Marketplace, Pueblo Grande Museum Indian Market, Colorado Indian Market, Eitlejorg Indian Market and Festival, University of Arizona Southwest Indian Art Fair, the Annual Kewa Arts & Crafts show on Labor Day and many others. The application process for these shows was thorough. She had to produce documentation of her Tribal Affiliation and degree of heritage, verify that her work was hand-made from beginning to end using natural materials, and supply quality photographs and detailed descriptions of her pieces (aka: juried.). Her efforts and hard work earned her the “Best of Show” for the jewelry category at the San Diego Museum of Man show and the B.C. Waddell Memorial Award in Jewelry for her “Moon & Stars” necklace.
Ellouise collaborated with her mother, Nancy and the two of them became co-authors of the Reversibles, which are jewelry pieces that have two sides on the pendants or bezels so that the piece is actually two in one. You can reverse the wearing of the necklace to show the other design and color on the opposing side.
The reversible necklace, earrings and bracelets have become signature pieces of Ellouise’s talent.
Ellouise currently resides New Mexico, minutes away from the Kewa Pueblo. She has stayed active with her Pueblo community and events.
Ellouise loves spending time with her children and grandchild. When she needs a break from making jewelry, she enjoys live concerts, hiking in the mountains and spending time at the Kewa Pueblo participating in family events and festivals.