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Camilio Tafoya

Camilio "Sunflower" Tafoya (1902-1995) was a son of noted potter Sara Fina Tafoya and Geronimo Tafoya.  He was a brother of Margaret Tafoya and Christina Naranjo.  Two of his children, Grace Medicine Flower and Joseph Lonewolf became renowned potters each working with wonderful scraffito Native designs.  Camilio was married to Agapita Tafoya and made carved pottery in the 1950's and 60's, he worked with both Grace and Joseph on many of his works.  In the 1970's he began to create miniatures pottery first in collaboration with Grace and then later on his own.  His pottery combined stories of the pueblo along with creative and antidotal Pueblo life images and animals scenes.  His pottery can be found in many collections and is displayed at multiple museums worldwide.

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Tafoya, Camilio – Seedpot with Chipmunks (1995)

This seedpot by Camilio Tafoya is from 1995. It is the last series of pieces he made.  It was fully polished and etched with five chipmunks.  They are gathering nuts.  It is whimsical in style and there is a playfulness to the designs.  The various colors are derived from natural clay slips.  It is signed on the bottom “Camilio Sunflower Tafoya”. It is in excellent condition with no chips, cracks, restoration or repair.

$ 500.00
Tafoya, Camilio – Seedpot with Realistic Deer (1995)

This seedpot by Camilio Tafoya is very intricately designed.  It would seem that it most likely was made, polished and the designs were begun by Camilio and then the designs were finished by his son, Joseph Lonewolf.  While it is signed by Camilio, it would suggest that the piece was already polished.  However, there are indicators that it was finished by Joseph, as he finished several of the pieces which Camilio had in process before he passed.  The deer are all very intricately etched and designed than on any of the piece finished by Camilio from 1990-5.  There is is a large buck with antlers extending over the top of the seedpot. On the opposite side there is another deer with smaller antlers and two does.  The deer are very intricately designed and they are much closer in style to those of Joseph.  As well, there is the number on the bottom, which is precision-etched, and the last letters are JL, which are probably Joseph’s initials as the end of the numbering system. The numbering system used by Camilio was typically much shorter and a bit more stylistic in design.  Overall, the piece is in excellent condition with no chips, cracks, restoration or repair.

$ 1,500.00
Medicine Flower, Grace & Camillio Tafoya – Red & Black Jar with Figures & Avanyu (1970’s)

This an unusual collaborative piece by Grace Medicine Flower and her father, Camilio Tafoya.  It is from the early 1970’s and it was fired “black-and-red”.  It is a distinctive firing technique where the piece is covered before the manure is put on to turn it black.  The jar was made by Camilio and polished by Grace. She would then etch the designs into the clay before it was fired.  This piece has a lightly etched avanyu on two sides.  Separating them are two red medallions.  One has a Mudhead Clown figure and the other a Rain Dancer.  There is a striking coloration of the red against the black.  It is signed on the bottom in the clay, “Grace Medicne Flower and Camilio Tafoya”.   The jar is in excellent with no chips,cracks, restoration or repair.

$ 900.00
Tafoya, Camilio –  Black & Red Jar with Feathers (1972)

This bowl by Camilio Tafoya is from 1972.  It is fully polished and the design around the shoulder is a stylized feather pattern.  The piece was then fired black-and-red.  This distinctive coloration is one that was only used by Camilio and his children Joseph Lonewolf and Grace Medicine Flower.  It was achieved during the firing, although nobody has been able to replicate the process.  Note the coloration and technique is different from the black-and-sienna colorations on pottery by artists such as Tony Da.  The contrast of the black and red is very striking on this piece.  It is signed on the bottom “Camilio Sunflower Tafoya”. It is in excellent condition with no chips, cracks, restoration or repair.

$ 350.00
Tafoya, Camilio – Large Carved Bowl Feather Design (1960’s)

This is is a large and classic bowl by Camilio “Sunflower” Tafoya.  He was the father of Grace Medicine Flower and Joseph Lonewolf and the brother of Margaret Tafoya.  While he is known for his miniatures this one of his larger carved bowls from the 1960’s.  The bowl is fully polished and carved with a feather pattern.  The spectacular part of this bowl is the coloration from the firing. It ranges from dark black to areas with brown and even a section that is almost silver in appearance. That coloration is very reminiscent of the firings by his mother, Sara Fina Tafoya.  The brown seems to make it’s own designs as it flows with the black and it certainly creates a much stronger and more fascinating bowl.  It is not often we see his larger carved vessels and rarely with such a great polish and surface.  The piece is signed on the bottom in the clay.  It is in very good condition with no chips, cracks, restoration or repair.  There are some light surface scratches.  It is signed on the bottom.

$ 1,000.00
Tafoya, Camilio – Mini Seedpot Eagle Feather Pattern (1975)

This miniature seedpot by Camilio Tafoya is from 1975. It is etched with a feather pattern around the neck. The area below the design is fully polished red.  It is signed on the bottom “Camilio Sunflower Tafoya”. It is in excellent condition with no chips, cracks, restoration or repair.

$ 175.00
Tafoya, Camilio – Seedpot with Trout, Otter & Skunk (1995)

This seedpot by Camilio Tafoya is from 1995. It is the last series of pieces he made.  It was fully polished and etched with an otter, trout, and skunk.  There is a simplicity and playfulness to the designs.  The various colors are derived from natural clay slips.  It is signed on the bottom “Camilio Sunflower Tafoya”. It is in excellent condition with no chips, cracks, restoration or repair.

$ 500.00
Tafoya, Camilio – “Wild Turkeys” Seedpot (1989)

This seedpot by Camilio Tafoya reflects the interesting connection of the wild turkey and Pueblo culture. There are turkey clans and most importantly, the turkey feathers are used in numerous Pueblo dances.  They are a critical part of the cultural and spiritual activities in most pueblos.  Interestingly, they have been important for quite a while in Pueblo life.

“The ancient Pueblo people shifted from making blankets of rabbit fur to using turkey feathers. One blanket could require 12,000 feathers, which could be taken as the birds molted.  The blankets helped ward off the high-altitude chill of Mesa Verde, but the turkeys also “must have had some symbolic importance,” said Lipe. “That continues all the way through to the present. Turkey feathers are still ritually quite important among Pueblo people.”   Eric Sorensen

You might also check out the “Turkey Girl” story as presented by Juan de la Cruz on the Camilio Tafoya bronze listing.  This seedpot has a male and female turkey on either side of the seedpot. They are etched into the clay and highlighted with colored clays.  The top of the seedpot has a cloud pattern and a rain pattern. The piece is signed on the bottom in the clay, “Camilio”.  It is in excellent condition with no chips, cracks, restoration or repair.

$ 500.00
Tafoya, Camilio – Seedpot with Fish & Bird (1982)

The is among the most refined incised pieces we have seen by Camilio Tafoya. The seedpot is incised on one side with a fish and the other a bird. They are separated by a leaf pattern.  The entire piece is very highly polished and the additional colored clay slips create a striking visual complement to the shine.  The seedpot is from 1982 and it is signed on the bottom in the clay.  It is in excellent condition with no chips, cracks, restoration or repair.

$ 600.00
Tafoya, Camilio – Mini Jar with Eagle Feather Pattern (1975)

This miniature jar by Camilio Tafoya is from  by Camilio is from 1975. It is etched with a feather pattern around the shoulder.  The neck of the jar has a very lightly etched kiva step pattern.  The kivas are the ceremonial areas which are often below ground and depicted in pottery as a series of three steps. The area below the design is fully polished red.  It is signed on the bottom “Camilio Sunflower Tafoya”. It is in excellent condition with no chips, cracks, restoration or repair.

$ 200.00
Tafoya, Camilio – Seedpot with Rabbits (1980’s)

The is a small but intricate seedpot by Camilio Tafoya. The seedpot was made in 1980’s and it is fully etched with designs.  It is polished red and the top is etched with a star pattern and four rabbits.  Rabbits were a them often used by Camilio on his pottery.  The bottom of the seedpot has a water design.  The various colors of green and white are from natural clay slips. The seedpot is signed on the bottom in the clay.  It is in excellent condition with no chips, cracks, restoration or repair.

$ 400.00
Tafoya, Camilio – Seedpot with Hummingbirds (1982)

The is a classic miniature by Camilio Tafoya. The seedpot is incised with Mimbres inspired hummingbirds as the design.  Note on the top of the piece there is a single Mimbres bee! The seedpot has an unusual form but one which is certainly recognizable as Camilio’s.  There are additional clay slips used to create the various colors.  The seedpot is from 1982 and it is signed on the bottom in the clay.  It is in very good condition with no chips, cracks, restoration or repair.

$ 250.00
Tafoya, Camilio – Seedpot with Deer Family (1985)

The is a complex sgraffito seedpot by Camilio Tafoya. The seedpot was made in 1985 and it is fully etched with designs.  It is very highly polished which creates a striking contrast with the matte and etched areas. The imagery is a deer family encircling the piece.  The top has a cloud and rain design. The green and white are additional clay slips.  The seedpot is signed on the bottom in the clay.  It is in excellent condition with no chips, cracks, restoration or repair.

$ 900.00
Sale!
King, Charles S., “Spoken Through Clay”

Spoken Through Clay

A NEW  RELEASE SPECIAL:  $95.00, including shipping (US)! Check out the new review in the Denver Post!

 Just a few things which make this book unique!
*   The size!  The book is 11.75″ x 14.25″ and weights over 8 pounds!
*  The photography of the pottery is stunning, emphasizing the individual pieces.
*  Each caption is the artist discussing the individual piece on the page.
*  The artist “biographies” are from interviews with the artists and they discuss their art, culture, lives and history.
*  Organization: The book is not organized by pueblo or family, but entails new ways to think about the future of Native pottery.
*  Printing in Italy gives the book very high quality color and paper.
* The photos of the living artists were taken by Will Wilson using a tin-type process. He was a recipient of the 2107 New Mexico Governor’s Award for the Arts in photography!
*  The book features work by more than 30 contemporary potters and more than a dozen important historic potters.
*  There are essays by myself, Peter Held and Eric Dobkin.  They add to the overall understanding of the project a historic perspective.

_____________________________________________

August 18, Pasatiempo Review

“Charles S. King’s new book, Spoken Through Clay: Native Pottery in the Southwest, The Eric S. Dobkin Collection, is spectacularly heavy —which is a problem from a practical standpoint, because once you open it, you won’t want to put it down. With dreamy tintype artist portraits by Diné photographer Will Wilson, dazzlingly crisp images from Addison Doty, and intimate first-person essays written by dozens of artists, the book is a visually delicious, intellectually consuming foray into historic and contemporary Southwestern pottery. In short, prepare to swoon.

If you’re thinking of this as a coffee-table book, you’ll need to imagine a decently sized coffee table. The book is more than a foot tall and, when opened, two feet wide, but its outsize appearance belies the often delicate beauty of its contents: hundreds of individual pieces of pottery from Eric S. Dobkin’s exquisitely curated collection — arguably the largest and most important of its kind. Gallery owner, author, and Pueblo pottery expert King designed Spoken Through Clay to be approachable for those unfamiliar with Native American pottery. “In the age of social media, I wanted to make the book both visually striking and personal,” King said. The book opens with essays by King, Dobkin, and curator Peter Held, who calls clay “the most archival of materials … seductive, sensuous, responsive, geologic, and malleable.”

“I wanted the end result of the book to be that the reader would connect with the artists in a personal way, beyond just the art, and understand the time it takes to become an artist, to achieve success,” King said. Sprawling yet intimate, Spoken Through Clay introduces its readers not just to the beauty of Southwestern pottery but also to the fascinating stories of the people who make it.Iris McLister, Pasatiempo

____________________________________

“It’s one of the things that makes us who we are. It’s what holds our family together. We are a family of potters. It’s our identity. People don’t realize how much work goes into it just processing the clay and making it. You have to do it with your heart.”—Linda Tafoya-Sanchez

 

FEATURED ARTISTS Grace Medicine Flower • Dextra Quotskuyva • Autumn Borts-Medlock • Jody Naranjo • Harrison Begay Jr. • Jordan Roller • Sara Fina Tafoya • Lonnie Vigil • Margaret Tafoya • Steve Lucas • LuAnn Tafoya • Loren Ami • Toni Roller • Popovi Da • Linda Tafoya-Sanchez • Mark Tahbo • James Ebelacker• Yvonne Lucas • Jeff Roller • Lisa Holt • Harlan Reano • Nampeyo • Jacquie Stevens • Nathan Youngblood • Jacob Koopee Jr. • Jennifer Moquino • Christopher Youngblood • Maria Martinez • Tony Da • Tammy Garcia • Virgil Ortiz • Joseph Lonewolf • Johnathan Naranjo • Nancy Youngblood • Les Namingha • Russell Sanchez • Christine McHorse • Richard Zane Smith • Rondina Huma • Susan Folwell • Dominique Toya • Jody Folwell

Spoken Through Clay features the pottery of iconic Native American artists from historic potters Nampeyo and Maria Martinez, to contemporary potters Tammy Garcia, Virgil Ortiz, and many others, are featured in a new book published by the Museum of New Mexico Press. Spoken Through Clay: Native Pottery of the Southwest showcases nearly three hundred pottery vessels from the acclaimed Eric S. Dobkin Collection, covering a wide range of mostly Pueblo artists from the Southwest.

“The physical scale of the vessels combined with the depth of the contemporary collection [is] breathtaking,” says author Charles S. King. The book is part of a “transitional process of looking to the clay, the vessel, and the potter’s voice and allowing the pieces to stand on the merit of their artistic integrity.”

The book includes portraits and voices of renowned potters speaking about their artistry and technique, families, culture, and traditions. Many of the artists are connected by Pueblos, generations, or family members. Dynamic color photography captures the depth and dimension of the pieces, while the artists provide an illuminating perspective through narrative captions. Artists, academics, collectors, family members, and gallerists add additional insight about the lives, historical context, and importance of these potters and their work.

SPOKEN THROUGH CLAY Native Pottery of the Southwest The Eric S. Dobkin Collection
By Charles S. King Essay by Peter Held

Artist portraits by Will Wilson
ISBN: 978-0-89013-624-9

352 pages, 320 color plates, 40 artist portraits

Publication Date: August 01, 2017
ABOUT THE AUTHOR Charles S. King is the author of Born of Fire: The Life and Pottery of Margaret Tafoya, The Life and Art of Tony Da, Virgil Ortiz: Revolt 1680/2180, and numerous articles on Pueblo pottery. He has served on boards of art associations, judged pottery at prestigious events, and lectures about the art form. His business King Galleries represents many of today’s leading Native potters and important historic works in clay. Charles lives in Scottsdale, Arizona.

$ 125.00 $ 95.00
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