Lu Ann Tafoya

Born 1938

Lu Ann Tafoya perpetuates the traditional art of the Santa Clara Pueblo and her mother, Tewa artist Margaret Tafoya, by creating highly polished vessels decorated with Pueblo symbols.

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.

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National Museum of Women in the Arts