Zuni Fetish Carvings by Quandelacy


Ellen Quandelacy

picasso horse, ellen quandelacy, 1 7/8 x 1

One of the more notable families of Zuni fetish carvers and jewelers is the Quandelacy family. Now deceased matriarch Ellen Quandelacy learned the art of carving from her father, Johnny Quam, and her style is still very much in evidence in the carvings and fetish necklaces of daughters Albenita Yunie and Georgia Quandelacy.

Stewart Quandelacy blue opal medicine bear, 2 1/2 x 2 1/2

As individuals the Quandelacys have refined their own styles and techniques, and as Kent McManis stated in his book A Guide to Zuni Fetishes and Carvings, "Stewart Quandelacy's bears have almost become the quintessential Zuni fetish". The style is distinct and easily recognizable. Zuni artist Stewart Quandelacy has stated that he prefers the terms "Zuni carving" rather than "Zuni fetish", a preference that perhaps reveals a conception of art for art's sake, distinct from art with religious motive. Stewart is well known for his medicine bear carvings, but his bent for aesthetic license lies in what he calls the "turnaround bear", his own original stylistic development which transcends traditional folk art, and raises the craft of Zuni fetish carving to a true art form. Whether realistic, or semi-abstract, the soft, free-flowing lines he obtains with the minimal amount of change to the object stone is one of the most notable attributes of his carvings.

Stewart, Andres, Sandra, Faye, and Georgianna Quandelacy

turquoise wolf, ellen quandelacy, 1 7/8 x 1

Those same soft lines are also evident in the carvings of Faye and Sandra Quandelacy, well known for their corn maiden carvings and pendant necklaces, a style being taught to niece Kateri Sanchez.

blue Andean opal bear sitting, holding a fish from coral, andres quandelacy

Andres Quandelacy is well known for his small, intricate carvings of mountain lions, buffaloes, and standing bears. He has been credited as the first Zuni carver to place fish in the mouths of bear carvings. Andres' style is unique and readily recognizable. Better known for mountain lion carvings with the tail draped over the back, Andres has added the loop tail and the long tail in the last few years. As have the other members of the Quandelacy family, Andres has achieved international acclaim for his carvings, pendants, and fetish necklaces fashioned in the Quandelacy tradition.