Cecil Calnimptewa, Jr., Hopi Pueblo Carver

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Cecil Calnimptewa, Jr. is a top prizewinning Hopi Pueblo carver. His one-piece carvings are highly sought by museums and serious collectors. Cecil is the only Hopi carver to have been profiled in a monograph.

Cecil shared his humble beginnings:

"My father used to carve Kachina dolls, and as a boy iI used to sand his dolls and help him with the painting of them"

"As I carve, I sing or chant to the doll, hoping that the good feeling that I am putting into the carving will be returned to me by the doll."

"I like to carve eagles best because I like to see how the wings come out."

Cecil Calnimptewa, Jr. (1950- ) was initiated and began to participate in the dances:

"When I would go to my village and dance I would always be the Yellow Fox because that it is how I was initiated. The elders tell us that when you die, you turn into that Katsina..."

To develop his style, Cecil's wife, Muriel Navasie, helped him by serving as a model. He draped her with fabric to study natural folds in cloth. He also dressed himself up in lilts and sashes, carefully observing the details while standing in front of a mirror. Muriel said of her husband's carvings:

"I admire my husband Cecil Calnimptewa's work because he carves as no other carver dose, showing the anatomy of the body and the drape of the garments."

In August of 1991, Cecil won Best of Division, Best of Class, and First Place ribbons at Santa Fe's Indian Market. After they returned home, tragedy struck. Muriel suddenly became ill and soon passed away from pneumonia. The loss of his wife was hard. While his family members helped him maintain a gallery on Third Mesa, Cecil consoled his children. He later returned to carving. crating some of his most powerful artwork.

Source:  Hopi Katsina: 1,600 Artist Biographies by Gregory and Angie Schaaf.

TAGS: Katsina Dolls, Hopi Pueblo

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Artist Signature of Cecil Calnimptewa, Jr., Hopi Doll Carver