About the Artist :Russ Kruse
Over 35 years ago, inspired by his Cherokee heritage, Russ Kruse discovered his passion for creating reproductions of Native American artifacts. Researching many tribes through the years, his passion just continues to grow. His channeled expertise in flint knapping, carving, beadwork, feather painting, leatherwork, scrimshaw, and relief-carving have allowed Russ to make a multitude of unique art pieces. Through his carvings and artwork, he reflects the inner spirit of himself. People from many walks of life have bought his art, and his life calling is to continue the traditions behind this art and to share it with people of many cultures.
“My compulsion to create accurate, detailed, museum-quality depictions of the spirit of the art, all made by hand with natural materials, manifests itself in the variety of these works.”
- War Shirts
- Peace Pipes & Pipe Bags
- Knives & Beaded Sheaths
- Dance Sticks
- War Clubs
- Painted Feathers
- Medicine Bags
- …and more.
Russ Keck was born in Orange, Texas, and was adopted by the Kruse family when he was three years old. As a child, Russ was introduced to the Native American culture by his uncle, who kept cases full of arrowheads that he’d found on his land and nearby. This sparked his interest in Native American culture and he soon began to create bows and arrows. Seeing his interest in handcrafting objects, his adoptive father, a carpenter, taught him how to work with wood. Russ then taught himself to carve animals out of pieces of Ash, Mesquite, Birch, and Maple trees.
While pursuing a career in carpentry, he continued with his creations, realizing that the inspirations he used to create these pieces of art were something more than just a hobby. He began to research the origins of his biological family and discovered that he was descended from the Cherokee people. Finally having his suspicions proven right about the natural ability to create art, Russ then realized that creating this art was his heritage and his life’s calling.
Russ called San Antonio, Texas, home for most of his life. In 2009, after a second heart attack, he began a journey of traveling the Southwest in a motor home with his wife, Jan, creating and selling art fulltime. On New Year’s Day, 2011, inspired by the magic of the desert and the beautiful Arizona sunsets, they decided to make Cave Creek their “home base”. In 2013, family, including a new grandbaby, called them back home to the San Antonio area.
Russ has sold his art to galleries, trading posts, and Native American shops in Texas, New Mexico, Arizona, California, Oregon, Utah, Colorado, Pennsylvania, and New York. In addition, he sells to collectors all over the United States, and has shipped many headdresses to a collector/musician in Finland.
Russ is available for private showings, exhibitions, and demonstrations, and teaches flint-knapping and the art of lazy-stitch beadwork to all ages. He feels that part of his calling is to teach these creative traditions so that they can be passed on to future generations