Serafina Tafoya

Santa Clara Pueblo

Serafina Gutierrez Tafoya (1863-1949) was a potter from Santa Clara Pueblo. She married Jose Geronimo Tafoya in 1883 and they raised a family of 10 children. Their youngest daughter was Margaret Tafoya.

Serafina had a deep spiritual connection with her clay. She made traditional Santa Clara pottery of exceptional quality and size.

Maria Martinez spent some time in Serafina's household as a teenager and when she needed to learn how to make red pottery turn black, she went to Serafina. Serafina taught her that and gave her some tips on burnishing, too.

Serafina was the first potter at Santa Clara to extend hand-imprint decorations further and begin the evolution that led to today's carved pots. She experimented with sizes and shapes and incorporated tribal stories into the design of her pots. Serafina was able to pass down her knowledge and her spiritual connection with the clay to several generations of her family before she passed on in 1949.

Three bear paws on a large black olla
Large black olla decorated with three bear paw imprints
24 in H by 22.5 in Dia
Circa 1900
Black water jar polished inside and with hand-shaped handles and a sgraffito geometric design
Black water jar with hand-shaped handles, sgraffito geometric design around the upper shoulder and polished on the inside
7.25 in H by 12.5 in Dia

Santa Clara Pueblo Potters