Jolene is a daughter of well-known artists Ben and Felicita Eustace. Ben, from Zuni, was a jeweler who, in turn taught his Cochiti wife Felicita the art of jewelry making. Felicita is also a potter, specializing in traditionally made storytellers. The Eustaces passed their demand for quality on to their 13 children, including Jolene.
Jolene was educated at the Institute of American Indian Arts in Santa Fe. She learned jewelry making from her parents and Hopi jeweler Duane Maktima. She has been fabricating jewelry since the mid-80s.
Always seeking challenges, Jolene relocated to Essen, Germany in the mid-1990s with her German-born former husband and infant son. Several times a week, she commuted by train between her home and Europe’s renowned art school, the Künstakadamie, in Düsseldorf. There she studied frawing and painting. Jolene is a recipient of a fellowship from the Southwestern Association for Indian Arts (SWAIA) and has worked with SWAIA’s mentor program, teaching jewelry techniques to Native students.
Jolene’s jewelry is characterized by the quality of materials and its striking individuality. She says, “Whoever said you have to play by the rules? I want my jewelry to say something. It cannot be just jewelry. In my jewelry, design and fabrication have to deal with personal experiences and traditional values conflicting and collaborating with present society.”
Jolene’s parents once said to their children, “If you’re going to do jewelry at tall, you have to do it our way, the right way.” It wasn’t the designs they were talking about, it was the technical aspects of their work: setting stones, welds, and engravings. From the time of their training, the Eustace kids learned a respect for materials and techniques of their art.
Jolene’s hallmark is a stamped “JAE” and a trademark design which represents sage that was designed by her Dad long ago.