Bennett Sockyma is a very talented Hopi Kachina carver. He was born and raised on the Third Mesa in Hopi, Arizona in 1956. He’s been carving for over 20 years after learning the art from his father, Chester. This talent has been passed down for generations. Bennett is from the Corn Clan, whose job is to provide the food for the tribe. “It’s our job to help people out. When people come over, we offer up food and feed everyone.”
Bennett has two sons: Donald who has taken on the family tradition and is carving Kachina dolls himself, and Anthony who is a businessman. Bennett’s wife Deborah has a good eye herself and provides her input into the carvings, of which Bennett is grateful for because he says “It keeps me stronger.” The two of them enjoy each other’s company while he’s carving. Bennett also enjoys making Kachina dolls for his three nieces following the traditional Hopi dances that take place. He finds his inspiration in keeping the tradition alive for his young nieces and the generations to come.
Bennett has a keen eye for detail when carving. If he has enough time, he can carefully carve a Kachina doll out of one single piece of Cottonwood root. He strives to reach this goal, and has accomplished this with most of his pieces. One doll can take about a week’s worth of work to complete. One of the most arduous tasks is the sanding process at the end.
In his spare time, Bennett likes to take his wife Deborah to Flagstaff for some fun out on the town. Bennett and Deborah are a sweet couple who have a great sense of humor!