Originally featured in Points West magazine in Summer 2015
Hopi hair ornament made by Charles Loloma
Hopi artist Charles Loloma was an innovator in stone and silverwork. His elegant designs consisted of colorful mosaics of semi-precious stone set in silver, often combined with unusual materials such as ironwood or rosewood. The strong vertical lines and three-dimensionality in this hair ornament, made with lapis, coral, malachite, ironwood, silver, and turquoise, reflects the angularity of the landscapes of the Southwest in the artist’s Arizona homeland.
Other influences far from home—such as the architecture of Frank Lloyd Wright—account for the powerful elegance of Loloma’s work. This particular piece was donated to the Buffalo Bill Center of the West in 1996 and is one of the few representations of Loloma’s work in the Center’s collections. It appeared as an example of a distinctively American art form in the special exhibition Adornment in the West: The American Indian as Artist, which was on display in summer 2015. The exhibition celebrates a rich and vibrant heritage of creativity, artistry, and design by showcasing items created by master American Indian artists like Loloma, as well as many others.
Charles Loloma (1921 – 1991). Hair ornament, Hopi, ca. 1980s. Gift of Jo and Warren Buxton, Phoenix, Arizona. NA.203.982