The artist’s latest collection — shown at the Yaamava Fashion Daze in Southern California in April and photographed by Jasper Soloff — was influenced by the beautiful natural landscape she grew up in Alaska . “I took inspiration from the oval, which was the basic design shape for the Tlingit’s shape,” says Younger. “Looking back keeps me going: I look back at traditional designs and try to imagine new twists to appeal to younger generations. It’s all about passing on the art form.” The collection includes elegant drop earrings and chunkier statement necklaces, all in her Crafted in signature Silver and Copper. “One of my favorites is the big copper breast piece,” says Younger. “Brass at the collarbone and a graceful line dangling from the front, engraved with wild roses. I love the juxtaposition of bold pieces and shapes with soft flowers.”
Of course, for For Younger, the use of silver and copper has a deeper meaning than its appearance. For the artist, working with these materials – materials her ancestors have used for centuries – is a way of passing on her lineage and imbuing the wearer with a set of special qualities. “As I learned more about copper and its deeper history with my community, I gravitated toward that,” Young said. “Copper represents status, strength, supernatural power and protection.” She also sees a sense of power in using these traditional materials in a modern context, especially when colonists prevented her elders from doing so. “I want to pay tribute to my grandmother, who was not allowed to practice her culture,” Younger said.
Younger is one of many emerging contemporary artists bringing traditional crafts into the present. The artist said she was inspired by seeing this movement happening in the Aboriginal art world. “Over the years I’ve been carving and creating metal art, I’ve seen more authentic Aboriginal art come to light,” Young said. “It’s great to see our community being recognized, and I hope it continues to empower the next generation.” In the meantime, Younger will be busy creating more handmade pieces to adorn himself. “While I’m making custom orders, I’m continuing to design new statement pieces for the fall shows,” says Younger. “My happy place is my studio. You can also find me at the Sovereign Santa Fe Market this August. Come meet me!”