Berra Tawahongva is one of the most acclaimed Hopi Overlay artists. As early as Berra can remember, he was sketching on any scrap of paper he could find. He soon graduated to painting and focused on Hopi themes of petroglyph symbols, animals, and kachinas.
When Berra was in 6th grade, he was first introduced to jewelry by Ramon Dalangyawma. To start, Berra would practice on pieces of tin. He soon worked his way through brass, then copper, and finally mastered silverwork. Berra said he would pour all of his designs from painting in the the silver.
In the mid 1980s, Berra worked at the Hopi Guild shop which has since closed. It was there that Berra mastered his craft.
His pieces are so unlike anything we have seen. Berra gets his inspiration from his environment up at Hopi. There are many petroglyphs on the Mesa walls. He looks for unusual petroglyphs, and when he finds one that inspires him, he will press his hand against the wall, and then his hand against paper, and get some resemblance of a figure.
If you look closely at his work you will notice he creates designs within designs. At first impression his pieces seem obvious, but his intricate work hides secrets you will find only by looking longer.
His pieces are very collectible and sold throughout the world. In Japan, Berra is one of the most collected contemporary Hopi jewelers at this time. Berra Tawahongva is creating some of the finest Hopi overlay jewelry we've seen by a contemporary artist and we’re proud to work with him.
He is a soft spoken and kind man full of life.