Ebelacker, Virginia – Red Storage Jar with Bear Paws (1980s)
WOW! This is an extraordinary red storage jar by Virginia Ebelacker. She was the first daughter of noted potter Margaret Tafoya. She was known for large-sized pottery, whether plain or carved. The shape of this storage jar is one for which Virginia was famous. It has a round shoulder and a short neck. It is reminiscent of the same round shape in the storage jars made by Margaret. This jar is fully stone polished to a high shine. Storage jars are always difficult, as it encompasses a lot of volume as wide as it is tall. It also has to be polished at one time or the slip will dry and there will be lines of discoloration. Consider how long it takes to polish a jar this size 5 or 6 times in a row to get it to a such a high shine and just using a rock! After it was polished it was traditionally fired a deep red. I remember Richard Spivey talking to me about Virginia Ebelacker’s smaller storage jar and how that was the one style he would always ask her for and which she rarely made, especially in red. The bear paws are impressed into the clay and the polished. They tell the story of a Pueblo village which is saved from a drought by a bear which leads them to water. The jar is in excellent condition with no chips, cracks, restoration, or repair. It is signed on the bottom in the clay, “Virginia Ebelacker”. Her sons Richard and James were both known for their distinctive large pottery and today her grandson, Jason, is also creating exceptional pottery.
There are a few great quotes in Spoken Through Clay about Virginia’s pottery (plus one from me!).
“My grandmother [Margaret Tafoya] and my mother [Virginia Ebelacker] shunned the limelight somewhat. They could have been so much more if they had wrapped their arms around it.” James Ebelacker