She began selling her work at little pow wows and swap meets, and names the Flagstaff Indian Days celebration as one of the more important events in her career. There, she was commissioned to create a pair of fully-beaded Sioux style moccasins. She received $150 for them. But as she began to attend bigger events, and looked at other beaders’ work – and prices, she came to a conclusion.
“I’m going to have to raise my prices!”
Lohnes laughed at the memory.
Still, her work is very reasonable, and she honors dancers with a discount. Her work is distinguished in that unlike other beaders in the area, she shies away from Navajo colors and designs.
“I am more comfortable with Northern Plains designs, such as Ojibwe, Sioux and Northern Cheyenne.”
A person who commissions a piece from Lohnes can expect the personal touch.
“I like to work with the person. We sit together and draw out the designs, but I let them know that in the end, things might turn out a little different.”
This is because Lohnes works with spirit. As she lays out her bead palette, placing colors next to each other, seeking the perfect highlight for a design, things do sometimes change.
“Most of the time, people have given me free rein to follow my instincts.”
Kim Lohnes’ name seems to have served her well – she has seen a great reward for her life’s work. She has two beautiful daughters: Kim – who is a blossoming recording artist – and Brenna, who is a student at the STAR School near the family’s Grand Falls home. She is a gifted artist and she has a home full of love and history, as well as another home in North Dakota.
She takes her family there occasionally. There, in the seat of her father’s family, Lohnes says they are easily recognizable. Lohnes is easily 5 feet 8 inches; daughter Kristin is 5 feet 9 inches. Although this is a respectable height on Navajo, it seems to be nothing at Spirit Lake.
“We’re the short ones,” she laughs.
Lohnes work will be displayed at the multicultural Heritage Fest scheduled at the Flagstaff Mall from June 27 to 29, which focuses on Native American and Hispanic cultures.