Sunday, September 30, 2007

In Search of Sammy Smith, Navajo carver

It started before we traveled to Santa Fe this year.

A customer told us that she had seen a carving by Sammy Smith that she was interested in buying but it had already been sold by the store where she was shopping.

We were slightly acquainted with Sammy’s work but it was the result of the rare carving of his that we picked up through trusted third-party wholesalers.

Based on her request, we set out to find Sammy Smith, introduce ourselves personally and purchase a carving similar to the one the customer was looking for.

We finally found Sammy (pictured here) in Gallup, New Mexico, at small workshop on Route 66. (The legendary Route 66, where millions have gotten "their kicks", runs through the heart of Gallup.)

We walked into a veritable feast of carvings, each one more fascinating than the last. Once we started, we put aside dozens of carvings. We were particularly struck by his horses.

We have several collectors who are horse lovers. A few of them asked us to look for horse carvings that they could add to their collections. Sammy Smith gave us a big head start.

Here are a few examples of Sammy Smith’s wonderful carvings:

We start with Sammy Smith's statuesque Picasso marble horse.

Not a horse, but how clever is this pipestone donkey by Sammy Smith?

Rainbow calsilica forms a Sammy Smith owl with incredible "camouflage".

Sammy Smith is a stand-up guy when it comes to this Picasso marble turtle.

Sammy Smith had a little lamb. Its fleece was white as marble.

These and other carvings by Sammy Smith can be found in more variation and with complete details about size and price at

When you visit, be sure to click through to Sammy's second and third pages as well.