Tafoya, Shirley – Large Seedpot with the “Bear Paw” Story (1980s)
This is a large seedpot by Shirley “Cactus Blossom” Tafoya. She was the youngest daughter of Margaret Tafoya and known for her miniature pottery. This seedpot is round in shape and fully polished. It has an interesting design, as it tells the story of the “Bear Paw” on Santa Clara pottery. On one side, deeply carved into the clay, is a mountain or step design. There is a small dot, representing the Pueblo and an arrow. That is the Pueblo person leaving to find water during a drought. As he traveled he found a bear who led him to water. As the bowl is turned, there are small carved bear paw tracks that lead upward towards the opening on top, that is the “lake” or water. For Shirley, who made most pieces under 2″ tall, a piece over 4″ was always a “large” piece. The seedpot is highly polished and striking in appearance. It is in excellent condition with no chips, cracks, restoration, or repair. It is signed on the bottom in the clay, “Shirley Cactus Blossom Tafoya”. A classic of Tafoya Family pottery!