Jimmy Yawakia

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As a child at Zuni Pueblo, Jimmy Yawakia started carving using whatever materials he could find. He learned to carve from his stepfather and brother and first started by carving serpents from cottonwood roots. He next carved from antler and then moved on to turquoise and coral.  Jimmy learned well and by 1990, one of Jimmy’s fetish carvings was featured in the publication The Fetish Carvers of Zuni by Rodee and Ostler.  As a young man, he spent many years working as an Emergency Medical Technician, but eventually decided to quit his job due to the emotional stress of the profession. He often recalls that when he stopped working as an EMT and started carving full-time  he soon found working in stone became extremely healing for him and he knew he was hooked. Jimmy says that his fetishes are “his children” and speaks quite specifically about the meaning of each fetish he has carved.  He thinks deeply about the stone and its’ meaning and through a spiritual synergy with his materials, which often involves praying with the material, he creates a carving which evokes the spiritual essence of the animal.