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Felino Eriacho & Students - brother Melvin Eriacho, daughter; Jessica Eriacho, niece & nephew; Gayla & Orin Eriacho

Felino Eriacho began carving in 1980 when he graduated from high school in Zuni. His earliest carvings were in antler - mostly owls and birds with beaks. He learned to carve from his grandfather, Andrew Weahkie, and from his uncles Roger Tsabatsaye and Will McKaye.

Felino spent his early summers herding family sheep alone in the mountains of the Zuni Reservation. It was there that he learned the lay of the land, the habits of the native animals, and where he could find native fluorite, azurite, and travertine.

In the mid 1980s, Felino studied mechanics at TVI and worked as a civilian at Kirtland Air Force Base in Albuquerque.

Felino moved back to Zuni permanently in 1987. He started carving Kachinas from cottonwood. He began carving fetishes from stone. He chose to use only stone found on the Zuni Reservation - native fluorite, azurite, travertine, and chert. In 2004 there was a large forest fire in the Zuni Mountains. The land was put off-limits to everyone including Zunis. Felino's source of azurite was unavailable and the last surface traces of this deposit disappeared. In 2008, Felino found another deposit of azurite. Thus it became possible to carve again in this stone.

Challis and I first met Felino near the Inn at Halona in Zuni. He was returning from guiding a bow-hunting trip in the Zuni Mountains. He is a registered, active professional hunting guide. He does little carving in the late summer and fall during hunting season.

Today, Felino is famous for fetishes carved from native stones and Kachinas carved from cottonwood. He sometimes overlays his fetishes with a thin mosaic of azurite and malachite. This mosaic is meant to represent the thin layers of malachite/azurite that were once found in the Zuni rock matrix on the Reservation. Today, these deposits have played out, so Felino has to use mosaic overlay in its place.

Felino is an exceptionally good teacher. He taught fetish carving to his wife, Shellie Jamon, his older brother Melvin, his daughter, Jessica, his cousin Orin Eriacho, and his friend Richard Epaloose. We have posted here several of Felino's carvings, some of his Kachinas, and the work of his students. We hope that you will love Felino's work as much as Challis did and Karen, Stephanie, and I do.