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Jeff Shetima and nephew Kendall Shetima

Jeff Shetima comes from a Zuni family with a long tradition in jewelry. He did his first carving at the age of 11. He learned by watching neighbors, but is mostly self-taght. Now 36, he has concentrated on fetishes since he was about 30. He lives with his wife and teen-age daughter in Zuni.

Jeff is famous for his animals - which have fine facial expressions and show the muscularity and motion of the subject. Many are caught in mid-stride, perhaps turning or looking up, and are about to change direction. His detailing of the faces, feet, hair and tails is the finest in Zuni.

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. 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.

We are proud to have collected a few of Jeff's pieces and offer them to you here.