Youngblood, Mela – Storage Jar Shape with Bear Paws (1978)
This is a classic smaller storage jar by Mela Youngblood. She was a daughter of Margaret Tafoya and began making pottery in the late 1960s. She quickly achieved a distinctive style for her work. Each piece of her work was very highly polished and when carved the edges are distinctly rounded. This is a smaller version of the large storage jars made by the Tafoya family. What makes a storage jar?
“Traditionally, it is about size, with most being over 12″ tall. However, it is also about form. Margaret Tafoya and Sarafina Tafoya made storage jars that were tall and narrow. Beginning in the 1950’s, Margaret began to make her storage jar more round and with a slight neck. She said it was a more difficult form to make.”
This jar has a round shape and a short neck, much in the style of the classic storage jar form. The piece has three bear paws impressed into the clay. The bear paws are symbolic of a bear that led the Pueblo people to water during a drought. The entire piece is fully polished to a high shine. Did you know that on pieces without carving, the entire piece has to be polished at one time! The jar was then traditionally fired a glassy black. The coloration from the firing is exceptional! The jar is in excellent condition with no chips, cracks, restoration, or repair. It is signed on the bottom, “Mela Youngblood”.