Japanese art collectors have become fascinated by Native American Art. It is not uncommon for us to see several buyers from Japan come into the Trading Post during one business day. Recently Navajo artist Lyndon Tsosie just returned from a trip to Japan where he did demonstrations and met with Native American art enthusiasts. We just met with Hopi basket weaver Jewel Kagenveama who was invited to Japan to teach about her craft.
Hopi Coil Baskets
Kagenveama, Gladys - Kagenveama, Rowenaa - Kagenveama, Tressa
FIRST YEAR MAKING ART:
How long have you been weaving baskets?
I started when I was about 12 years old. My mother (Rowena Kagenveama) is a basket weaver who was taught by her grandma and aunt and then she taught me. Our family have been basket weavers for a long time.
How old are you now, and do you have lots of friends who weave baskets?
I have no friends who weave baskets. It doesn’t seem like it is very popular with my generation.
Anyone else in your family, besides your mother, an artist?
My father is a silversmith. His name is Bennett Kagenveama and does traditional Hopi overlay. He uses BAK with a spider for his hallmark.
Do you remember your first piece?
It was a small plaque with a Mudhead design.
So you were invited to Japan, how did this happen?
A Japanese dealer, Duke, was doing interviews in Hopi to take a group to Osaka.
What other type of artists went?
I was the only basket weaver. It seemed we had a painter, kachina carver, flute maker, potter, and five silversmiths.
When you got to Japan where did you go?
We demonstrated in an Ethnology Museum.
Did you get to do lots of sight seeing, playing tourist?
We mostly stayed at the museum meeting with people.
How about food, did you get to eat lots of Japanese food?
I missed piki bread. Food there is very different, lots of seaweed. The only thing I was familiar with was the McDonalds.
What a neat experience for you, and thank you for sharing some of it with us