Legoria Tafoya, Santa Clara Pueblo Potter
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Santa Clara artist Legoria Tafoya was an outstanding potter and mostly made small animal figurines, candlesticks, and carved blackware jars and bowls.
Legoria Tafoya (1911-1984) was a sister of Pablita Velarde and therefore was almost solely represented in the sale of her pottery by The Enchanted Mesa Indian Arts, located on Route 66 at the east end of Albuquerque, for most of her career.
"Legoria was one of the first Santa Clara Pueblo artists to have a brochure with her personal biographical statement. The document states in part: 'Along with many other children of the Rio Grande Pueblos, Legoria attended St. Catherine's Indian School at Santa Fe...Married quite young to Pasqual Tafoya, Legoria was soon very busy with a family of her own. Marriage, children, and the resultant responsibilities prompted Legoria to become interested in making pottery to sell to supplement the family income.
'In 1930 Legoria learned the art of pottery making from her grandmother...Legoria's first work consisted mostly of clever, small animal figurines, which she molded with her fingers. Lions, bears, birds and turtles are design forms which are much in evidence in Tewa mythology. These little fetish-like ceramics proved to be extremely popular, and Legoria sold many of them to the tourists who came to the Pueblo...Legoria decided to exhibit her work. At her first exhibit in 1940 she won a blue ribbon for a plain polished bowl. This was at the Indian Market at Santa Fe...Legoria has received many awards for pottery making...'" (Schaaf).
Photo of Legoria Tafoya by Hester Jones, neg.#46293, courtesy of Gregory Schaaf and Museum of New Mexico.
Reference: Pueblo Indian Pottery: 750 Artist Biographies by Gregory Schaaf.
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