Zandra grew up in Martin SD, a small rural town between the Pine Ridge and the Rosebud reservations in SW South Dakota. She grew fond of the local crafts and culture, especially sewing and beading and painting. Aside from playing the piano, she spent most of her time with her arts. Zandra went to Dakota Wesleyan University to study music and art, then to the University of Minnesota at Minneapolis, and finally graduated from UCCS, majoring in Fine Arts.
Around 1990, she and some other Art majors at UCCS started the Mother’s Art group, and greatly benefited from the critique and art showings they did together in Colorado Springs. Zandra got married and became a mother herself, to two daughters. Initially that put the brakes on her art, as motherhood was her priority. But over time she found ways to help others with art, volunteering at school and judging art Reflections projects, and continuing to paint and show with the Mother’s Artist Group. As an adjunct instructor, Zandra taught classes in beadwork at the Pikes Peak Community College from 2000 – 2011.
Zandra has always studied up on the various methods of beadwork from around the world, and made ways to incorporate the methods into her own work. She has enjoyed teaching beadwork, stressing creativity and ingenuity, and says she learns as much from her students as they do from her.