Nulhegan Band of the Coosuk Abenaki Nation
Jean Burbo is a member of the Nulhegan Abenaki Tribe. She was raised in an atmosphere where art was prevalent. Both her mother and father were artists. Her mother taught arts and crafts to both adults and children. As a result, Jean learned many skills at a very young age.
Jean lives in Connecticut, not far from the ocean, with her husband and her “fur baby.” Because she is now retired, she is able to devote much time to her art. She says, “Making art is so relaxing to me. When I’m touching the shells or stringing the beads, I’m taken away to another world. Sometimes, I feel like I am sitting with my Ancestors and sharing my time with them.”
She makes both traditional and contemporary styles of jewelry. Her favorite making chokers and bracelets with hornpipe. While walking on the beach near the ocean, Jean enjoys finding wampum shells and incorporating those found items in her creations. She also uses leather, as well as glass, wooden, and metal beads to finish her work.
I was born in Massachusetts but was raised in Vermont. My family was connected to Vermont and had been for centuries. I am a member of the Nulhegan Band of the Coosuk Abenaki Nation.
As a child, I spent many hours in the woods riding my horse, Cottontail, or walking with my dad while he told me about the beauty and spiritual connection we have with Mother Earth. He would teach me about the responsibility we have to protect and preserve the land. I have never forgotten those teachings, and now they are part of my life.
My ability for making jewelry and crafting came through the teachings of my mother, who was a very talented artist. It seemed like she was always creating something and she would include me; so I learned, at an early age, to enjoy designing jewelry. My jewelry has evolved over the years, and I now include both traditional and contemporary pieces.
Because I believe that wearing traditional clothing and jewelry is in honor of our Ancestors, I always smudge each piece when it is completed. I ask Creator to bless the item as well as the person who will wear it.
Vermont Abenaki Artists Association, Juried Artist since 2016