|Loloma was born on January 7, 1921. His father was a Hopi Indian, Rex of the Sand and
Tobacco Clan. His mother, Rachel Loloma was from the Badger Clan. His father was an
accomplished weaver and moccasin maker and his mother was and excellent basket maker. The
Loloma family lived in a traditional Hopi village. Over the years Charles Loloma developed
a sense of design, dedication and meticulousness that was considered to be the Hopi way;
in which art is not different from daily life. Loloma attended day school as a child. His
talents were recognized by his teachers and he was encouraged to draw and paint. Charles
finished high school in 1941. By that time he was an accomplished artist in his community
and received many commissions.
As many others, Loloma was drafted into the army in 1941. He became a camouflage expert
and was stationed in Missouri. From there he spent time in the Aleutians as an engineer.
In 1942 he married Otellie Pasivaya. Loloma returned to her village, Second Mesa, after he
was discharged in 1945. With the help of the GI Bill, Charles attended the School for
American Craftsmen at Alfred University. There he studied design, mechanical drawing,
ceramic chemistry and marketing.
Loloma applied for a Whitney Foundation Fellowship. With the grant he studied the clays
used by Hopi Indians. Through his experiments he proved that shale clays would turn into a
glaze if fired at high temperatures. During his stay at Alfred Loloma also discovered he
wanted to pursue an occupation as an artist. He and his wife set up a shop in the Kiva
Craft Center in Scottsdale, Arizona. After several years of working with clay and weaving
Loloma decided to try making jewelry. He continued to make and sell his jewelry in his
shop. He was a self-taught silversmith. Loloma did find some help in a book called The
Navajo and Pueblo Silversmiths. Loloma's early work was mainly cast objects designed
in a traditional Hopi fashion. Loloma also taught part-time at Arizona State College and
in Sedona during summers. He was able to formulate ideas on design and gather information
on selling and marketing through these various experiences. Loloma and his wife were the
first Indians to successfully run a pottery shop. Because of this they received attention
that inevitably helped their business.
In 1962 the Institute of American Indian Arts was founded. Loloma was appointed head of
plastic arts and sales departments. Loloma traveled to Paris in 1963. While in Paris, his
jewelry was modeled in fashion shows and exhibited in private shows. After this visit he
returned to the Institute in Santa Fe where he remained until 1965. He then went back to
his village in Hotevilla. Soon after his return he divorced his wife and remarried. He
built a studio in his home and continued making jewelry.
Loloma believes his most important contribution to the field was what he called
"inner gems". These were hidden stones in his jewelry, once the jewelry was put
on you could no longer see the gems on the inner side of the jewelry. These gems were to
indicate inner beauty of the wearer. Usually these gems were more valuable than the gems
on the outside of the jewelry.
Loloma received many awards and prize and is represented in numerous collections
nationwide. In 1972 he was featured in two films, one called Three Indians and the other,
Loloma. Loloma passed away in 1991and his studio no longer produces jewelry.