Walter Howato, Hopi Pueblo Carver

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Hopi Pueblo carver Walter Howato is known to have launched into a series of experiments to see if he could make his carving look really old. He found the secret in the early 1960's.

Four Hopi Pueblo artists were most responsible for the revival of carving traditional "Old Style" Katsina dolls:

- Walter Howato of First Mesa 

- Manfred Susunkewa from Second Mesa

- Jimmy Koots of Third Mesa

- Jimmy Kewanwytewa (Jimmy K) of Moenkopi

These artists influenced other carvers from their villages and mesas. Over a hundred carvers joined in the "Renaissance" of carving traditional "Old Style" Katsina dolls.

Walter Howato (1921-2003) was part of the Reed Clan. Walter showed talent in both carving and painting. After his graduation from the Santa Fe Indian School, Walter was hired by Walt Disney Studios. He Was joined by Navajo painter R.C. Gorman and San Ildefonso Pueblo artist Romando Vigil, Tse Ye Mu. Walter later recalled his "Magical" days at the California resort of Disneyland: "We did a lot of things. Somtimes I played an Indian at Disneyland, and Sometimes I painted and did some interior decoration with my friend R.C. Gorman. R.C. and I painted everything up there" (Howato in Day 2000:42).

Today, Walter Howato's Katsina dolls are highly valued. Many are preserved at the Heard Museum in Phoenix, AZ as well as in collections around the world. Walter Howato earned international recognition as a master carver and a fine artist.

Reference: Hopi Katsina: 1,600 Artist Biographies by Gregory and Angie Schaaf. 

TAGS: Hopi Pueblo, R.C. Gorman,  San Ildefonso PuebloKatsina dolls, Jimmy KootsRomando Vigil, Tse Ye MuManfred SusunkewaJimmy Kewanwytewa (Jimmy K)