Santa Clara Pueblo Pottery

The pueblo of Santa Clara is best known for a highly-polished monochrome pottery in black or red, decorated with modeled, impressed, or deeply carved designs. Perhaps the most influential Santa Clara potter in the early 1900s was Sarafina Tafoya, who is often credited with developing the carved style now so characteristic of Santa Clara. An example of her work is the fine wedding jar exhibited here to the right (top to bottom).

Among the most famous of the traditional potters is Sarafina's daughter, Margaret Tafoya, whose work is represented by three beautiful pieces that illustrate the varying Santa Clara decorating techniques.The water jar on the right (middle) has a modeled, raised band about the shoulder and on its neck the impressed bearpaw design for which the pueblo is noted.The carved vessels exhibit highly burnished surfaces and deeply carved designs. The jar on the right (bottom) is 14 inches high; the bowl (below left) is 8 1/2 inches in diameter.

An example of Santa Clara redware, made by Teresita Naranjo and featuring the avanyu (water serpent) design, is shown below (middle). Other contemporary Santa Clara potters have broadened the tradition. Joseph Lonewolf and his sister Grace Medicine Flower, nephew and niece of Margaret Tafoya, have developed a miniature style in which designs are etched through one or more slips to create intricate works. The beautiful piece exhibited below (right) is a miniature (1 3/4") by Lonewolf.


Pueblo Pottery Introduction | Acoma Pueblo | Cochiti Pueblo | Hopi Pueblo | San Ildefonso Pueblo
Santa Clara Pueblo | Santo Domingo Pueblo