You see, fetishes are works of art, and so the rules of art apply. Those that have bought furry art at cons should know how this works. You can go to the Dealer's Den and pay $20-$30 for a Michele Light or Marci badge, or you can spend $5 in Artist's Alley and get a badge from some up-and-coming artist who perhaps had never been to a con before. As has been seen from all of the posts from folks who bought art at MFF and posted pics, there are a LOT of talented people out there. In the art world, however, name dictates price. The serious fetish buyers look for particular carvers. Many times I have gone into a fetish shop and have been told that so-and-so carved a particular piece. I could quite frankly care less. I am buying a piece because I like the way it looks. That's what art should be all about. There is also the whole "Native-American art thing" at play as well. Indian art is a hot commodity. Rugs and blankets that used to be sold to tourists on Route 66 in the 50's can now be worth thousands of dollars. Pottery has also gone through the roof. When Kitty and I went to the Four Corners area earlier in the year I was sad to see that so many of the Indian vendors were selling the same mass-produced crap which was perhaps painted differently. Fetishes are starting to become a hot item now as well.
We went to about a dozen places in Gallup. We could tell how much the fetishes would be by the look of the store and the way the fetishes were presented. If they were arranged nicely in lighted glass cabinets (and there weren't many of them), they would be expensive. There was actually one fetish-only shop that we wanted to look through, but I could tell it was Indian owned. How did I know that? When we got there the first time after noon, they were closed for lunch. When we went by a second time around 2:30 they were closed to go watch the parade that was happening in town. Great way to do business, guys! Finally we hit the "sweet spot" that we were looking for. There was a touristy place with wall to wall merchandise. They had nice Indian crafts mixed in with the touristy crap. When we asked about fetishes we were directed to a cabinet where they were haphazardly arranged in a cluttered corner. We had to sort through several boxes to find the right species we were looking for on our list. Once the clerk knew that we intended to buy 20 or more, the prices plummeted! It took a long time to sort through all of the boxes and find the perfect match for the people on the list. I always say that the fetish will "speak" to you when you're looking. I was a bit disheartened to find a lack of felines, but it was no problem finding bears and wolves/foxes. Once again, it was just a matter of finding the right one for the right person. After about an hour we left with a few dozen little boxes. A quick trip to another trading post and we found the felines that we had been looking for. Score! We had completed our mission!
So for those that responded to our offer, expect something in the mail during the next 2 weeks. Oh, and here's a pic of our haul: