Todd Westika

Todd learned the art of fetish carving mostly on his own. A relative made a small bear for him to use as a “guide,” and then he “took it from there.” His knowledge of rocks came from some geology classes he took as a geological engineering student. Todd won first place at the 1994 American Indian and Western Relic Show in Pasadena, California. He has won many awards at the Zuni Show of the Museum of Northern Arizona.

“Since a fetish is believed to have a spirit, as though it were alive, I want people to get a sense of security and happiness from my carvings. Whenever I’m about to work, I put any worries aside and try to have only good thoughts so that those would be passed on to anyone who comes in contact with the fetishes. I’ve always enjoyed collecting unusual rocks. Now in addition to collecting them, I give them new life. Earlier influences and an imagination play a big role in transforming ordinary rocks into the different fetishes.”

Todd says that the question he is most often asked is “How long does it normally take you to carve a fetish?” Observing the care he takes in forming and finishing each piece, an appropriate answer to this question might be, “It takes as long as is required for the carving to be truly ‘finished’ by his standards.”

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