Carved Micaceous Avanyu Olla

Sue Tapia



Native of Laguna Pueblo, this highly reputed potter married into San Juan Pueblo, Okey Owingeh, and collaborated with her late husband, Tom.

They were celebrated for highly polished, intricately incised pots, with pictorial designs.

Since her husband’s death, in 2015, Sue has continued on her own, producing exquisitely formed, carved, and finished pieces like this wonderful, smaller olla.

Featuring the Avanyu, the Pueblo Water Serpent, the pot is precisely and decoratively carved, with matte and brilliantly stone-polished areas.

The Avanyu itself, is coated with a micaceous clay slip, so he glitters, as if reflecting drops of water.

The rim is carved into a flowing organic shape, suggesting the flow of water, and polished to a high gleam.

The bottom half of the pot is also stone-polished, and carved into a stylized feather pattern that symbolizes prayers – for water, given the theme.

Water is a crucial resource in the high desert, leading to abundant crops and general good health and happiness.

This beautiful olla exemplifies the remarkable skill and artistic ability of Sue Tapia, which is well-known to her many happy collectors.

Show judges, throughout the years, have agreed that her work demonstrates flawless form, design, finish, and execution.

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