Michael Talahytewa recently hand-crafted a spectacular Eagle Dancer. He photographed the process from cottonwood root to finished Kachina. We have made a short video showing the artistry and work that goes into hand-crafting a Hopi Kachina.
Michael Describes His Process
“I began with simple work like piecing on arms, ears, feathers, sashes, etc.. I then gradually worked my way up to more complicated dolls with the finest details done by hand. All of my dolls are made from cottonwood root with feathers, hair, tails, sashes, belts,etc., all being carved with the finest quality from one piece of wood. Usually, before I start, I rotate the wood on a table until I get an idea of which Kachina to make. It depends on how the wood is formed. I get a picture or some would say a vision of the Kachina that I’m going to make. Sometimes I like to carve with a friend and share ideas. My favorite Kachinas to carve are the Sun Kachina, Owl Kachina, Deer Kachina, Long Hair Kachina, and the Eagle Kachina.”
Michael shares with Carol a few things about his latest piece, a Hopi Eagle Kachina…
About Michael Talahytewa: Michael Talahytewa is an extremely gifted Kachina carver. He carves exclusively out of one piece of wood. Michael was born in Tuba City and grew up in Moencopi, AZ on the Hopi reservation where he still resides today. He grew up with his parents Stacy Sr. and Louise and his 3 brothers and 8 sisters. Colleen, Bobby, and Elsie Talahytewa are also very good carvers. Michael started carving when he was 15 years old. He was inspired by his father who he use to watch carve. One piece carving takes a lot of time, concentration, imagination, and patience to create the finest quality by hand. Michael is also very involved with the day to day life of the village and the dances. He also works, so he has little time to carve. We feel very fortunate when he comes into the shop with a Kachina and customers that buy his dolls feel fortunate too.