Yvette Talaswaima & Gerald Lomaventema
Silversmith Jewelers

“We base our artwork upon Hopi geometric designs and traditions. The designs we use come from rain, water, clouds, prayer feathers, animals, clan symbols and nature.”
-Yvette Talaswaima

“You have to make jewelry that makes sense; you have to make jewelry that has meaning.”
-Gerald Lomaventema


Cultural Community: Hopi/Qäö- Wungwa (corn clan)
Location: second Mesa, Arizona
Yvette Talaswaima

Gerald Lomaventema

Yvette Talaswaima
Hello, my name is Yvette Talaswaima. I am Qäö- Wungwa (corn clan) from the village of Musungnovi on Second Mesa. I have 3 daughters and 3 grandsons. 
I learned my art form from my husband  Gerald Lomaventema in 2003. Gerald use to work at the Hopi Co-Op Guild and when it closed he started working out of our home. He built a studio next to our home. At this time I helped him finish the jewelry. Doing what I called “the dirty work”, because I was always black from polishing the jewelry.
Over the years I picked up little things and our studio was always open. I could go in there and teach myself how to do different techniques. It was up to me if I really wanted to learn.
I started by making Hopi chains.
My husband , Gerald was getting a lot of orders for chain and he asked me if I wanted to try. At that time I was scared of the torch and didn’t want to ruin anything so I started by flattening some wire and started with big links to solder. 
Now, I specialize in making handmade chains. In addition to chain, I also learned how to cut with a jewelers saw. Using different flower designs and I love to design different flowers.
My hallmark is the lightning bolt, it was used by Uncle, Dawson Numkena.
We base our artwork upon Hopi geometric designs and traditions. The designs we use come from rain, water, clouds, prayer feathers, animals, clan symbols and nature.

Learn more about the unique Qwa-Holo Hopi Silvercraft here.

Gerald Lomaventema
I learned traditional Hopi overlay and other techniques from other fellow Hopi artists in the 80’s and 90’s. I had to find something to take care of my wife and my kids. When I was learning at the Hopi Silvercraft Cooperative Guild there used to be like 30 men working in a big room in rows. It used to be a fun place, you know, because people would be joking or we’d be listening to some traditional music.
My great uncle Fred Kabotie–I didn’t know he was a famous artist until I got older–he and another elder, Paul Saufkie, were mentors. They taught the GIs after they came home. They didn’t want the men to leave the Hopi reservation. 
When we were first learning, the elders used to tell us that everything about the pottery—even the ancient pottery that was laying on the ground—means something, those geometric designs and figures they all have a meaning to us. So, in our jewelry, we’re doing the same thing. We’re expressing a little bit about ourselves and our culture in these pieces. You have to make jewelry that makes sense; you have to make jewelry that has meaning.   
I tell my students, you have to find yourself, your identity. People will know who you are through your jewelry. It takes a while, a lot of sacrifices and a lot of disappointment at the same time, but I think it’s worth it.

Gerald Lomaventema is a Hopi jeweler and recipient of a 2016 SFA Master-Apprentice Artist Award. Lomaventema teaches students the Hopi overlay technique, which was first developed by Hopi artist Fred Kabotie and his brother-in-law, Paul Saufkie, in the 1940s.