Shirley Tafoya

Santa Clara Pueblo

Shirley Tafoya (Cactus Blossom) was born in Santa Clara Pueblo on May 11, 1947, youngest daughter of Alcario and Margaret Tafoya. She grew up surrounded by potters making pottery but didn't decide to get into making pottery herself until she was 26 and had worked for several years as a medical technician.

Shirley excelled in producing red and black carved miniatures. She also excelled in teaching and advising other members of the Tafoya family in how to do it right. She met Leonard Tafoya in 1975 and as much as he was the love of her life, they didn't marry until 2010. In the 1990s she took on the job of caring for her aging parents until one died in 1995 and the other in 2001. When Shirley died on November 16, 2010, she and Leonard hadn't been married one full month.

Avanyu design carved into a miniature black jar
Miniature black jar carved with avanyu design
1 1/4 in H by 1 1/2 in Dia
An avanyu and geometric design carved into a miniature black jar A miniature black jar carved with an avanyu and geometric design
2 3/4 in H by 2 1/2 in Dia
Double-shouldered miniature black jar
Miniature double-shouldered black jar
1.5 in H by 1.5 in Dia
Miniature black jar with bear paw imprints on its body
Bear paw imprints on the body of a miniature black jar
1.75 in Dia by 1.5 in H

Santa Clara Pueblo Potters