Saturday, November 13, 2010

Santa Clara Pottery and the Tafoya Family Potters

The Santa Clara Pueblo, just 24 miles  north of Santa Fe, is a destination spot for guests of The Madeleine Bed & Breakfast Inn, particularly those interested in purchasing a piece of traditionally hand-crafted blackware or redware pottery.  It is believed that ancient pueblo people may have lived in this area as far back as 1200 BC., and many of their traditions are carried out to this day.

Margaret Tafoya, the most famous of the Santa Clara potters, learned the art from her parents, and many of her thirteen children continue as accomplished potters themselves. .Margaret herself continued her mother’s tradition of making exceptionally large pots, with highly polished surfaces and deeply carved designs. Signature trademarks of the Tafoya family pottery are deeply carved pueblo symbols such as the water serpent (the Avanyu), kiva steps and bear claws.  Margaret has received the "Best of Show" two times at the Santa Fe Indian Market as well as an award from the National Endowment for the arts in recognition of her talent as a potter.

Going to the pueblo and meeting the actual potters makes for a much richer experience than simply buying a pot from one of the many galleries in Santa Fe, and you will come away with a much better understanding of the craft and the artist who created your piece.

Enjoy the majestic beauty of the landscape as you take I-25 north to Santa Fe 84/285, then turn off at the junction with NM 201 in Espanola, 1 mile southwest on NM 30.  Then just follow the signage.

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