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Melvin Sandoval

Melvin Sandoval, San Felipe/Zuni Carver, is a cheerful and enthusiastic fetish carver. His elegant carvings - typically badgers, horned toads, moles and birds - have minimal detail, not even eyes. Stylized geometric lines distill the essence of the animal in an unadorned aesthetic. Melvin prefers matte stones such as sandstone, pipestone, alabaster and dolomite, and often achieves added detail through perceptive use of color variations in the stone. Oftentimes his sleek, low-lying creatures are crouched in an almost defensive pose which gives them a quiet drama.

Melvin was born of a Zuni father and a San Felipe mother. He was raised in Zuni and, in earlier years, he was a DJ in Zuni. Today he lives in San Felipe. In 2013, the Sandovals built a Zuni Shalako House. His wife, Erma Vacit, from a prominent Zuni family, now lives in the Zuni Shalako House and is a high-level accountant for the Zuni tribe.