From Wikipedia,"kachina are known to be the spirits of deities, natural elements or animals or deceased ancestors of the Hopi." The men of the villages carved these figures from the cottonwood root to be used at ceremonies and to pass on to their daughters as toys and for educating the children as to important spirits. There are hundreds of examples of kachinas from simple to very intricate figures. The Hopi of today are real masters for making Hopi figures largely the old fashioned way, with a well sharpened knife and natural paints.
Thanks to our Carving Club here at Pebble Creek, I was introduced to the fascinating craft of wood carving and after doing two classes for learning the tools of wood carving, I received three "roughed out" dolls to finish with the router, sand and then paint. Many thanks to Al, Chris, Gordon, Jim, Gerald and many more members of the club for their patience and willingness to help a beginner!
It takes many hours of going from a roughed out figure to the finished doll with hopefully few mistakes through the process of using knifes, power carving machines, sanding, sealing, wood burning (my nemesis) and painting. I've made 62 feathers which takes the most time and patience to achieve a natural look. We largely use basswood and acrylic paints and sealers.
I hope to get some wood and tools sent to Montana for roughing out for further "Corn Dancer" kachinas to be painted once we return to our wonderful setting here in Pebble Creek in Goodyear, AZ. The way the water conditions look like now in Montana, my fishing may be curtailed greatly, unfortunately, so my new hobby will come in handy.
A couple of good books for further information on Kachinas is "Carving Traditional Style Kachina Dolls" by Tom Moore and "Kachina Doll Carving" by Eric Bromberg. Both are available at Schiffer Books.
STAY TUNED! There is another hobby I also found here which is a lot of fun also!!