The artist, Jayne Quam, married into the, celebrated, extended Quandelacy-Westika-Quam family and has been carving, along with her husband, Lynn Quam, for nearly 40 years.
The animals are all traditional in carving style; suggested, rather than realistically detailed in form. The white wolf is designated the Guardian of the East, by the Zuni; a protector.
More generally, wolves are revered for their hunting expertise and high position on the food scale. However, wolves are also known for their togetherness: they hunt in packs, and live in family units. That is the origin of this charming tradition of carving two wolves, united in one medicine bundle.
In this unique fetish, the artist has not only carved a loving couple, she has created a whole wolf family/pack! Snuggled on and around the medicine bundle, are four little wolf pups, in various materials.
The large, parental wolves are carved of white, fossil marble (the male Guardian) and dark grey serpentine; the little pups are of apple coral, turquoise, greenish-gold fluorite, and a skinny one, of cowrie shell. The medicine bundle itself is of sinew and beads.
A good-sized fetish that is traditional in style and materials, yet contemporary in the artist’s inclusion of the whole family. Utterly disarming in concept; handsome, and expert in execution.
This is a charming innovation of a popular fetish style by a recognized carver, and sure to provoke many delighted comments.