To me, collecting fetishes is perfect for a furry. It is a work of art. It is spiritual. It is a nice thing to which to decorate your den. There is a growing market out there for Native American crafts. Navajo rugs that people used to pick up in the 50's in Gallup or Albuquerque for $20 while traveling Route 66 are now going for thousands of dollars. Indian pottery is a big item selling for hundreds if not thousands of dollars. There is starting to be a big market in fetishes now. I think of them as con badges. You can go to a con and commission a full drawing from an artist for $50 or more, or you can get a con badge for $10-20. The same principle that applies to cons applies to the fetish world as well. You can get a Dark Natasha or Marci badge for >$50 or from some up-and-coming artist for $10. There are certain fetish artists that can fetch a hefty fee because their work is well known. There are many lesser-known artists, however, that you can pick up for a lot less.
Most of the carved stone fetishes come from the Zuni Pueblo. Kitty and I decided to take a trip to the Pueblo to see if we could find better deals than buying them in galleries here in ABQ. Zuni Pueblo is about 140 miles to the southwest of ABQ near the AZ border. We loaded up a cooler with meat, cheese, and sodas and headed out for a nice road trip. On the way we stopped at El Morro National Monument which is a huge sandstone bluff with the "graffiti" of those who had stopped at a large pool at its base (some of the only water around). The graffiti was from the Indians that lived in the region prior to the coming of the white man, the Spaniards that traveled throughout the Southwest in the 16th through 18th centuries, and American pioneers from the 19th century. Some of the etchings were incredibly ornate. It must have taken some people a day or more to carve their names (and poems and such).
We finally made it to the Zuni Pueblo and stopped at several shops/ trading posts. We bought several fetishes. I bought 3 bears for myself and Carol bought 2 cats. I was a bit concerned when I paid over $100 for a very ornately carved bear. The work was exquisite! I have never seen a detailed fetish quite like it. At the next stop the owner (from the Middle East) was selling fetishes for incredibly low prices. I feared I had been taken for a ride at the 1st shop. I saw a bear that looked very much like the one I had just bought. My heart sank. I asked the owner how much the bear cost. As he pulled it out he told me that it was from one of the best carvers in the region. His work easily sells for over $300 in some galleries but I could buy this one for just over $100. *phew* I had picked out quality! We bought numerous fetishes for gifts at this place. He had a large selection and was willing to bargain. We found it quite interesting that the Indian-owned shops sold for prices comparable to those in ABQ while the ones owned by non-Indians tended to have better prices. It's probably because the Indians want to see their own people get as much money as they can from their wares while the non-Indians are just in it for the buck. We saw this as an Indian came in to sell his wares to the non-Indian. He was treated like common vendor selling a product.
So....what did I buy? What did I spend $100 on? Take a look!
another bear with spirit bundle
bear carved in amber
bobcat for Kitty