Roller, Toni – Water Jar with Bear Paws (1983)
Toni Roller is known for her classic shapes and exquisite stone-polished pottery. A daughter of Margaret Tafoya, Toni has developed her own distinctive style. The shape is a classic water jar with a round shoulder and slightly turned-out rim. It is fully polished and has two bear paws. Toni said of this design:
“The story behind the bear paw, according to my grandmother, she said that our ancestors came from Puye, from the cliffs. One time when the people were living up there, there was a drought so bad they couldn’t grow anything. They were so worried. They wondered why the bear was well fed and not thin like they are. So they tracked the bear, and the bear led them to the Rio Grande. The reason we put the bear paw on the pots is to honor the bear that saved the people, the ancestors that came to Santa Clara from Puye. That’s why now most of the Indian people live along the Rio Grande. The bear saved all our ancestors.” Toni Roller, Spoken Through Clay
The bowl was traditionally fired a dark black. It is in very good condition with no chips, cracks, restoration, or repair. It was made in 1983. It is signed on the bottom in the clay, “Toni Roller”.