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“My life and my jewelry have been greatly influenced by two things. The first is by my good fortune to have grown up and to continue to live on the Hopi Reservation. This enables me to witness the grandeur of the landscape on a daily basis and to be involved constantly in the ceremonial activities that are taking place here. The second major influence is that of my uncle, Charles Loloma.
When Charles came back to Hotevilla, I was still in high school. As I watched and listened to him I became interested in helping him and learning art. I was most fortunate to be able to work with him, listen to him, and listen to his conversations with other artists of various kinds for those years of apprenticeship. His insight is a major factor in my work.
Charles taught that beauty is all around us on Hopi; in the environment, in the culture, in ceremony. By combining elements from what is a part of my everyday life, the finest of ideas, with the finest of materials, I can interpret a part of Hopi for people to see and wear.
Each piece of jewelry is hand-shaped. As with a child, each one is different and requires individual attention. What begins as flat sheet metal or a piece of sandcast is shaped gradually to its final form, allowing for its individual strengths and development.
Charles spoiled us by purchasing and using only the finest of stones. I continue to enjoy inlaying with only the finest of materials, looking for the inner secrets of each. Sometimes the idea for a piece comes from a stone—the way it is shaped or the feeling it gives. From the stones comes the shape and structure of the inlay. My role is to allow the stones to become what they can, in the way that they need to be. When a piece is completed, it can then go on its own to create joy and happiness in others.”
- Verma ‘Sonwai’ Nequatewa