Urgent Museum Notice

Lu Ann Tafoya

Photo courtesy of the artist, © Lu Ann Tafoya, 2006

Born in 1938

Like her mother, and her grandmother Sera Fina Tafoya, before her, Lu Ann Tafoya practices ancient pottery techniques. Using only local clay and an open firing process, Tafoya uses a coiling method. This method, in which coils of clay are placed one on top of another to achieve the height and shape of the vessel, dates back thousands of years in the American Southwest. Tafoya’s works are typically large red or black vessels with highly polished surfaces. The artist recalls that she relished the process even as a young girl: “When my mom asked me to help her polish, I was excited and polishing has been my favorite part of the process since.”

Tafoya’s work is masterfully crafted according to the time-honored traditions of the Santa Clara Pueblo. Along with other members of the Tafoya family, she maintains and passes on these traditions. Her work is in collections across the U.S., including the Heard Museum of American Indian Art and History, the Cantor Arts Center at Stanford University, and National Museum of the American Indian.

Artist Details

  • Name

    Lu Ann Tafoya
  • Birth

    Santa Clara Pueblo, New Mexico, 1938
  • Phonetic Spelling

    loo an tah-FOY-yah

Works by Lu Ann Tafoya

Jar with Bear-Paw Imprint

Lu Ann Tafoya made this jar using the traditional coiling technique she learned from her mother, the famous Santa Clara Pueblo potter Margaret Tafoya, who in turn learned it from her mother, Sera Fina Tafoya. Although men also make pottery among the Pueblo, the practice is handed down from mother to daughter.

The coiling technique consists of stacking coils of...

Red clay jar with a round shape that widens at its center. Its polished, warm-colored surface is decorated with a small paw print just below its top.