Pictorial by Famous Hopi Weaver Ramona Sakiestewa

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Pictorial by Famous Hopi Weaver Ramona Sakiestewa

Pictorial by Famous Hopi Weaver Ramona Sakiestewa. Size 52″ x 72″.

Hopi Weaver Ramona Sakiestewa

Ramona Sakiestewa is a self-taught weaver using prehistoric Pueblo techniques from the American Southwest. Her early work employed hand spun and hand dyed yarns. She researched native plant dyes of the Americas along with developing and reproducing cochineal and indigo dyeing techniques. She adapted traditional upright continuous warp weaving methods to horizontal floor loom weaving. In 1981 Sakiestewa opened her weaving studio, Ramona Sakiestewa Ltd., weaving one-of-a-kind tapestries full-time.

Sakiestewa’s earliest weavings were simple banded floor rugs in the classic Pueblo style with a contemporary palette. She taught herself by reading books and with the help of a few generous acquaintances. She mastered techniques for dyeing yarn and began showing her work at Santa Fe Indian Market.Sakiestewa’s preferred tapestry size was 50” x 70” inches. Her imagery remains abstract—the style that comes most naturally, she says, and captures the essence of her subject, whether inspired by ritual objects, ceremony, or the landscape of the Southwest.

(Sakiestewa) has pressed issues of scale, texture, color and tone in works that shatter old barriers separating weaving, painting and mixed media.” – Ann Lane Hedlund

In the late 1980s Sakiestewa wove thirteen tapestries from the drawings of Frank Lloyd Wright for the Frank Lloyd Wright Foundation, Phoenix, AZ. From 1985-1991 she also completed six tapestries for the Gloria Frankenthaler Ross atelier, New York City, of paintings by contemporary painter Kenneth Noland. Sakiestewa was commissioned to design a series of limited edition blankets for Dewey Trading Company, woven by Pendleton Blankets, Pendleton, OR; and a limited edition, “Ancient Blanket Series”, woven by Scalamandre, Long Island City, NY.

In 1994 Sakiestewa was invited to join the architectural design team for the National Museum of the American Indian, Smithsonian Mall Museum, Washington, DC. A 10-year project, Sakiestewa created a design vocabulary for the project and collaboratively designed architectural elements for the museum that opened September 21, 2004. Design features included the building’s main entry doors, the “Entry Plaza Birthdate”, a 100’ copper screen wall, a 60’ wide theater curtain and other architectural elements throughout the building. She authored the contributing essay, “Making Our World Understandable” in the companion book, ”Spirit of a Native Place – Building the National Museum of the American Indian[4]

In 2009 Sakiestewa closed her weaving studio to further develop her works-on-paper and painting and architectural projects. Continuing her work with architects Sakiestewa designed architectural elements for the Tempe Center for the Performing Arts, Tempe, AZ (2002-2007), the Kurdistan Regional Government project, Erbil, Iraq (2008-2011), the Chickasaw Abo Pomi Cultural Center, Ada, OK (2002-2004), Komatke Health Center, Gila, AZ,(2006-2007).

Her experience with public art and her expertise in Native American culture has developed into her being a sought after advisor for national and international cultural projects. She worked as a design consultant for the observatory and astronomy center for the University of New Mexico [5] She served in the position of Chair of the New Mexico Arts Commission; trustee of the International Folk Art Foundation, Santa Fe; member of the National Park Service Concessions Management Advisory Board, Washington, DC, Secretary of the Interior appointment; member of the New Mexico Coin Commission, Santa Fe, a gubernatorial appointment; trustee of the Georgia O’Keeffe Museum in Santa Fe.