As a young boy growing up in Shiprock, Tutt, now 34 years old, remembers watching his grandfather craft his jewelry. “He would let me play with the tools,” said Tutt. “When I got older and showed interest in jewelry making, my grandfather gave me all his tools.”
It is those very tools that grind, saw and cut the abstract designs of Tutt Jewelry Design today. Tutt says the tools are well over 40 years old. And these days he is using those tools to finish a squash blossom necklace started by his grandfather.
Tutt’s creations all start with rough rocks. “I try to build around the stone rather than cutting the stone to fit a mold. It’s like meditation for me. How I’m feeling spiritually fuels the expressions of my designs.”
Tutt melts and mills his own metal.
“Travis has really interesting and unique designs, very modern,” said Malcolm Bates, the owner of Old Highway Trading Post. “I’ve worked with Travis for over five years and we’ve sold a lot of his work.”
Tutt Jewelry Design can be purchased at Old Highway Trading Post, Winter Sun Trading Company and directly through Tutt Jewelry Design at 928-707-9150. The website is currently under construction.
FBN caught up with Tutt to find out more about what he has learned from business.
What advice would you give to someone just starting out in your industry?
Having patience and determination to keep going forward. There are times you want to give up but there’s always going to be a door open to see where you want to consider taking your business. I’m basically self-taught, as my grandfather never tutored me, I just watched. The harder you work, the harder it will pay off.
What was your greatest work mistake?
I stopped making jewelry during a major struggle in my life. But I’ve had a spiritual awakening of who I’m really supposed to be and what I’m supposed to be doing. Through my hardships the last few years, my experiences have brought me through as a better person, as an artist, and provided a better perspective for my jewelry designs.
Who do you admire and why?
I really admire my wife, JeriLynn, and my children, Arrius, Anna, Kingdom and Selah. My wife has a strong Christian faith and she is a great support in so many ways.
What character traits do you look for in business associates?
Being honest. Whether I’m buying and selling, I look for people with integrity and people that have the same determination as I do.
How do you unwind?
Exercise (I like to run), bible study and prayer.
Story and photos by Veronica Tierney