Friday, January 4, 2008

Fetish Fixation

Native American fetishes have certainly captured my attention this week. Today Sandy and I visited a fetish carver, Sammy Smith, who showed us the whole process. He began by showing us his hardened, callous hands; I've never seen a rougher pair. He told me he has been carving fetishes for 40 years. He can crank out a small fetish in raw form --from a small slab of stone--in matter of a minute or two. An electric grind stone is his primary tool. It was interesting to see some near boulder size rock (mostly picasso marble) crowding the work area. To me it was an enlightening demonstration of the enormous work effort that goes into producing this Native American art form.

Sammy's products are superb especially considering the retail price range of his fetish necklaces ranging from a low of less than $20 to around $300.

The sea of fetish you see depicted in the image here is from a 7 stand necklace. He formerly produced a 10 strand necklace, but it ended up being bulky beyond appeal.

I have a new found respect for Native American fetish carvers and I once again thank the customer who asked me the challenge question before she bought her own fetish necklace from Wilford's Trading Post.