Linda Tafoya Sanchez Black Floral Melon Jar


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Linda Tafoya Sanchez, Santa Clara Pueblo Potter

Precision and Artistry: The Intricacies of Crafting Melon Jars

A variety of designs constitute what is known as melon jars. There are vertical ribs of polished surfaces divided by sunken ribs of matte finish obtained by scraping away clay between ribs, there are also vertical ribs achieved by pushing the damp clay outward from the inside of the jar. Lastly, there are melon-style ribs that swirl in their path from top to bottom of the jar, referred to as a floral melon jar.

Artist signature of Linda Tafoya-Sanchez, Santa Clara Pueblo PotterThe most difficult part of making a melon jar design is keeping the ribs parallel, whether they swirl or stay vertical. It is admirable to see the work of an experienced potter who can keep the ribs of the same width and the separation between ribs also equally distant. If only one rib is in variant, the whole pattern is thrown off, ruining the outcome.

Linda Tafoya Sanchez obviously falls into the category of perfectionist. The ribs on this jar swirl right, left, and right again. Additionally, the widths of the ribs are narrow at the rim, expand to the midsection, and narrow again at the base. This polished blackware melon jar was obviously created by the hands of an outstanding potter: Linda Tafoya Sanchez. Its shape is lovely—round, wide, with a small opening at the top. The polish is excellent, as is to be expected of her work. Its surface is smooth, even, and reflective; it's as close to perfect as one could expect of a handmade item. While its shape and polish are strong, it is the manner in which the ribs are arranged that is the jar's most striking attribute.

Linda Tafoya Sanchez (1962-) of Santa Clara Pueblo is known to some collectors by her previous married name: Linda Tafoya Oyenque. She is a daughter of Lee and Betty Tafoya, and a granddaughter of Margaret Tafoya. She credits her aunt Mary Ester Archuleta for training her to be a potter. Linda has branched out from creating traditional burnished blackware with simple carved designs and expressed a great deal of creativity. She mixes burnished black with matte black, and has introduced the use of micaceous clay in the mixture. Linda is a highly decorated artist whose awards are too numerous to mention here, but a couple of honors certainly deserve pointing out. She has earned awards at the Santa Fe Indian Market, the Heard Museum, and several other major exhibitions. One of her notable accolades is her appointment to create a piece for presentation to the Prince of Spain.

Condition: new

Provenance: this Linda Tafoya Sanchez Black Floral Melon Jar from the artist

Recommended Reading: Pueblo Indian Pottery 750 Artist Biographies by Gregory Schaaf

TAGS: Santa Clara PuebloLee and Betty TafoyaMargaret TafoyaContemporary Southwest Indian PotteryLinda Tafoya Sanchez

Linda Tafoya Sanchez, Santa Clara Pueblo Potter
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