LuAnn Tafoya

Tradition with a twist. This is the work of Santa Clara potter LuAnn Tafoya. She is the daughter of noted potter Margaret Tafoya. LuAnn Tafoya has continued her mother’s legacy of making large sized vessels. Today, she is one of the few who continues to make pieces of such size. But it is not only the size of the pottery, but her high polish and the use of traditional shapes and firing techniques that result in her spectacular bowls. The final results are a masterpiece in clay. Each bowl begins with the traditional Santa Clara clay. However, in order to make larger pieces, she has to mix her clay differently than most Pueblo potters, so that it has more strength and stability. Each piece is formed in a coil method and then sanded smooth. The building stage in the larger pieces that is critical for LuAnn. On her larger storage jars, she often has to wait for the bowl to begin to dry, before adding the next layer. It may also take several days for a large vessel to dry so she can begin to polish. After the bowl is dry, LuAnn can then carve a design into the clay. These range from geometric forms to bear paws on the water jars. Finally, it is the last critical step before firing. Polishing large sized pieces of pottery with the traditional polishing stone, is time consuming and very tiring. However, it is her polish on these large vessels that is the key to their fame. Each piece has an almost mirror-like appearance. After the polishing, LuAnn traditionally fired the bowl in an outside bonfire. This is the most dangerous of all the steps in terms of the outcome of the bowls. Here, the pieces may crack or explode. The smoke may also produce a firecloud on red pieces. However, LuAnn has also mastered this step and her pieces range in color from black to red to brown. LuAnn has won numerous major awards for her pottery, at competitions such as Santa Fe Indian Market, Eight Northern and Gallup Ceremonials. She has also been featured in numerous books, such as The Legacy of Generations, Fourteen Families in Pueblo Pottery, Margaret Tafoya: A Tewa Potter’s Heritage & Legacy and others. Her work can also be found in major museums across the country, including the Heard Museum and the Smithsonian.  Most recently, LuAnn has won “Best of Pottery” and “Best of Show” at Santa Fe Indian Market in 2003!  This is an extraordinary event for any artist and certainly a testament to her skill and talent as an artist. Please call for more pieces by LuAnn Tafoya

Showing all 3 results