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Sarafina Tafoya

Sara Fina Tafoya is among the most renowned of the early Santa Clara potters. She was the matriarch of a dynasty of potters, included among her children were Camilio Tafoya, Margaret Tafoya, and Christina Naranjo. Beginning in 1924 Sara Fina Tafoya was one of the first pueblo potters to begin “carving” into the clay to create designs in her pottery. She was masterful with her forms, where the simplicity of the shape, especially with her larger vessels such as the storage jars, did not require additional design. Part of her genius was adding elaborate shapes for the handles and unusual indentions such as the “raindrop” rims. These created special features which readily identified her pottery. Her pottery was not signed except for a short period in the late 1930s when she made smaller pieces, often polychrome but also some classic black ware. Certainly, a testament to her skill is that few Pueblo potters today are able to create either pottery of such size or with such complicated additions as her handles.

Check out our article on the signed pottery of Sara Fina Tafoya: “Signed Sara Fina”.