His father, known as Red Starr, was born a Sioux, but married Harriet Tafoya, of Santa Clara Pueblo. Norman was born, therefore, into the Santa Clara Pueblo black pottery tradition.
He has developed as a highly reputed artist, noted especially for his intricate sgraffito work.
His gift of scratching out complex, clearly precise patterns, on the polished black clay background, is seen in this splendid bowl, which has designs incised on all sides.
The materials and technique may be traditional Pueblo, but the subject is traditional Plains: the iconic buffalo, source of food, shelter, clothing, weapons, and more.
A herd of the massive creatures runs around the edges of the piece, both around the rim, and around the bottom.
Three large portraits fill in the body – one of them as seen head-on! Triangular forms resembling tepee designs fill the in-between areas.
Etched eagle feathers flank the large buffalo, with inlaid, natural red coral, and Sleeping Beauty turquoise, sprinkled around.
Beautifully incised, this is a powerfully handsome bowl, combining two cultures: inspiration from the Great Plains; hand-fabricated in Pueblo execution and materials.