Hopi artist Valjean Lalo is a consummate artist, bridging the gap between traditional and contemporary. He lives a very traditional Hopi life at the village of Hotevilla on Third Mesa, farming and creating his artwork. Valean weaves traditional Hopi clothing, including sashes, kilts and dresses, using cotton yarn. He also carves kachinas. Valjean is married to Dorlene Gashweseoma, who hand-makes traditional wicker baskets, plaques, piki trays and large willow peach baskets. Valjean is Greasewood clan and Dorlene belongs to the Spider Clan.
Keeping Tradition Alive
Valjean hand weaves traditional clothing, often including the complex technique of diamond twill weaving. Only a handful of weavers remain at the Hopi Pueblos creating hand woven crafts.
“There are times that a piece of art comes in the shop that makes us so appreciative to work with Native artists. When the traditional Hopi dress by Valjean Lalo came in, I was stunned by its beauty.” ~ Carol Watters
Valjean and Dorlene have two sons, Raynard and Gene. Their son, Raynard “Tawma” Lalo carves traditional-style kachinas and also carves beads, creating beautiful necklaces. Gene “Tutsqua” Lalo is a kachina carver and a weaver.
Valjean has earned several awards for his traditional weaving. Most recently, he earned 1st Place in Textiles and Best of Show at the 2017 Annual Hopi Festival of Arts and Culture.
“Weaving is a dying art here on Hopi. I weave to keep this alive for our children and the next generations. The Hopi language and our different art forms help keep our identity and traditions alive.”