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Ramson Lomatewama


Rollin and Mary Ella King Fellowship

Ramson Lomatewama, a Hopi poet, jeweler, traditional-style katsina doll carver, stained glass artist, and glassblower, has been named the 2005 Rollin and Mary Ella King Fellow at the School for Advanced Research.

Ramson was born in Victorville, California. Raised in Arizona, he attended school in Flagstaff but participated in traditional Hopi life by going to the reservation on weekends. Besides creating silver jewelry, he has carved “old style” katsina dolls for many years. Fervent about using traditional materials and techniques, his pigments are all natural and he spins his own twine to attach feathers to the dolls.

While teaching Hopi Culture at the Rockwell Museum in Corning, NY in the late 1990s, Ramson discovered the art of glassblowing at the Corning Museum of Glass. Raised in a fairly conservative village on the Hopi reservation, he has strong traditional values, beliefs, and taboos, one of which restricts males from working in clay; so in glassblowing, he found his calling. “I have always loved and admired Hopi pottery,” he said, “and glassblowing allows me to express this love and admiration in a way that does not violate or overstep cultural boundaries.”

With no formal training, he learned the art through reading, workshops, and trial and error. During his tenure, he would like to create a piece of glass that reflects the value of Hopi history, tradition, and culture, melded with the contemporary Hopi mind. This piece would communicate “change and transition” while retaining the strength of culture and traditions. Adding another dimension to the project, he would like to write poetry to document this creative experience. He has written several books of poetry, including Silent Winds, Poetry of one Hopi, and Drifting Through Ancestor Dreams.

Ramson hopes to create a curriculum by which the Hopi youth “could be instilled with traditional values and at the same time be allowed yet another venue of expression, creative or otherwise.” He feels that it is important to live and work according to cultural traditions, but also understands how to benefit from modern society.

He has showed at the Santa Fe Indian Market, the Museum of Northern Arizona, Fusing Traditions, a traveling exhibition, and the San Diego Museum of Man Show.

The Indian Arts Research Center at the School for Advanced Research is pleased to welcome Ramson Lomatewama, the 2005 Rollin and Mary Ella King Native American Fellow.