Pueblo: Zuni Pueblo

As wonderful as Jeff Shetima carvings are, they are not Zuni fetishes in the true sense of the word. Shetima’s carvings are better described as stone sculptures of animals depicted in their own surroundings. The animals depicted in his carvings have fine facial expressions and show the muscularity and motion. Many are caught in mid-stride, maybe turning or looking up. The detailing of the faces, feet, hair and tails is most amazing.

Jeff’s favorite carving material is Picasso marble. He likes to carve starting with large pieces of rock – whittling down to the center – he feels the strength and color of the stone and makes very good use of its properties in the carving. During the whittling down process, Jeff forms a bond between himself, the subject, and the stone. This spiritual bond is an important part of each carving. Jeff says “every stone that I hold in my hands must be in harmony with me before I start a carving. Only with good thoughts, energy and feelings will I proceed to carve. This helps ensure that the positive energy will be internalized in the finished carving.” Often, he finds a stone of similar (or contrasting) color that is used as a base for the more detailed carving and bonds well with the spirit of the main subject. He uses colored stone inlay in many of his pieces – and his hallmark is a micro-inlay multi-color line on the back of the carving – with jet, turquoise, mother-of-pearl, and other stones.

Jeff Shetima was born into a family of accomplished Zuni jewelers some forty years ago. He began working as a silversmith at an early age and soon developed a reputation for his fine lapidary work. Jeff began carving fetishes about fifteen years ago, incorporating his fantastic lapidary skills.

In his choice of subject matter, Jeff enjoys exploring relationships between creatures. His choice of stone is always brilliant, and his use of materials results in dynamic, life-like scenes. His work is part of the permanent collection of The Museum of Man in San Diego and is highly sought after by serious and knowledgeable collectors.

Today, in addition to creating beautiful works of art, Jeff finds himself busy taking care of this wonderful family and being very active in the religious doings of the Katsina ceremonials at Zuni Pueblo. You may read more about Jeff on his web site: http://jeffshetima.com/index.html

Adapted from personal information and information from Sedona Wolf