Irene Lomayaktewa

Perry Null Trading

How long have you been making baskets?

Irene Lomayaktewa

My mother taught me when I was very young. The first basket I completed on my own was when I was in 6th grade.

Perry Null Trading

Do you still have the basket?

Irene Lomayaktewa

No, I finished it in the summer time and sold it for five dollars. That would have been in the 1960s.

Perry Null Trading

Do you remember the basket?

Irene Lomayaktewa

Yes, it was small and had the head of a mudhead on it.

Perry Null Trading

So you have been making baskets ever since?

Irene Lomayaktewa

My mother told me it was something I could always do if I didn’t have another job, and at the same time help out when I was doing something else.

Perry Null Trading:

Has basket making always been your fulltime job?

Irene Lomayaktewa

No, after graduating from high school in the early 1970s I went to the Indian School in Albuquerque for two years and became an LPN. Then I went to work and Phoenix as a nurse.

Perry Null Trading:

So how long have you been back in Hopi?

Irene Lomayaktewa

I returned in the 1990s and have been doing basket weaving fulltime since then.

Perry Null Trading:

Do you like being back in Hopi and doing baskets?

Irene Lomayaktewa

Yes, I work when I want and have family around me.

Perry Null Trading:

Each Mesa does something different, which Mesa do you live on?

Irene Lomayaktewa

The Second Mesa, that is where the coil baskets come from. Polacca does pottery and the 3rd Mesa makes the wicker baskets. I am married to a man from the 3rd Mesa, but can only work on my baskets here, on the 2nd Mesa.

Perry Null Trading:

What are the traditional Hopi coil baskets made from?

Irene Lomayaktewa

We make the coil basket from straw and yucca that we pick from areas around Hopi. Many of the colors are from the yucca plant, yellow comes from yucca being harvested in winter, the white is summer, and the green can be picked aany time of the year. Also, we will use sunflower for the black and Hopi Tea (hohocy) for the red.

Perry Null Trading:

How do you decide what figures you are going to put on the basket?

Irene Lomayaktewa

When I dream about the baskets I will draw the visions and use that to decorate the baskets.



Available art from: Lomayakewa, Irene Lomayaktewa, Irene