Bear Fetish Necklace by John Grant
16" Bear Fetish necklace made with carved 2.25" stone bear, and glass, silver & bone beads
During a four-year stint in the Air Force, and at the encouragement of his mother, Cherokee artist John Grant began to carve with soapstone found on the banks of California’s Folsom Lake. Making many small carvings that caught the eyes of others, he was encouraged to enter local art shows, and began winning ribbons for his work.
After leaving the Air Force, John became a federal police officer with the Bureau of Indian Affairs, working on reservations on the West Coast and in the Southwest. For seven years he stopped doing his artwork, but while stationed in Albuquerque and observing many artists at work, his interest was rekindled. He began to make the traditional fetishes, stone animals, of that area. His art gradually took on a life of its own, and he moved from making traditional fetishes to contemporary jewelry.
In 1995, John left his law enforcement career due to health issues. He returned to Cherokee and shared his artistic talent with his tribe. In 2002 he attended the Institute of American Indian Art (IAIA) in Santa Fe, New Mexico, and the first sculpture that he entered in a competition while studying there was bought by the IAIA for its permanent collection.
John Walter Grant “Zahey” transitioned from this life on Saturday, Jan. 23, 2021, surrounded by his family.