Wilfred Kaye, a Hopi Native from the village of Hotevilla, Arizona, comes from the Badger and Butterfly Clans. Wilfred is part of a very talented family of Hopi artisans and his siblings are also well known, respected jewelers and carvers.
He resides in Hotevilla with his wife, Donna, also an artist. He is a father, grandfather, helper and healer in his community and a spiritual leader of his clan. As a young man returning from the Vietnam War, Wilfred learned from an Uncle how to shape the cottonwood’s roots into the reflection of kachinas. His first piece, an eagle, was purchased by Alice Cooper, whose mother had a gallery in Sedona back in the 70’s. Returning to the little cement carving shack he shared with brothers and uncles, Wilfred began what is a lifelong career as a wood sculptor, one kachina at a time.
Wilfred says that the Creator is his boss. The “Boss” keeps him busy supporting his family and helping others. Wilfred, a proud member of the Red Feather Association, recently donated much of his time to help restore Navajo Code Talker, Dan Akee’s home. He is a keeper of many of the ceremonies of the Hopi people and is longing to pass his ancestor’s way on to the next generation. Wilfred truly embodies the Hopi philosophy of living in peace.
The cottonwood sculptures Wilfred creates reflect the spirits of the many kachinas in his beloved culture. Using the same simple pocket knife for many years now, he creates a distinct sculpture rich in Hopi symbolism. Returning to rest in the kiva during a ceremony, Wilfred saw the beautiful stars against the black night kiva below which is a prominent signature part of his pieces. Wilfred’s work is collected in museums, private collections and represented in galleries all over the planet.