A real tour de force of pottery, by one of the many gifted Fragua family, noted especially for their figural pieces. This dignified lady seems only mildly concerned about the many, many children covering her from neck to knees; she is intently singing to them, passing on the stories of their tradition.
There are 17 children, in all, including four swaddled babies, held by their older brothers and sisters. One little boy holds a drum, a girl holds a large pottery plate, and a little fellow clutches his blankie. The last little boy cannot find any room on Grandma’s lap, so he is standing against her leg, looking a bit aggrieved. Grandma is decked out in a pretty red dress, dotted in black and white, and wrapped in an ornately decorated blanket/shawl that falls in graceful folds around her. The tan clay is natural, red is also a natural red slip, and the black is paint derived from the wild spinach plant. Only the white is commercial paint.
This figure is impressive enough, but carefully turn it around, and look at the other side. Surprise! A completely different and even more impressive figure greets you. The same head, wrapped in the same cascading blanket, but the figure is empty of children, and instead hovers like a spirit over a hollow, cave-like interior where several ancient petroglyph signs are visible, painted on the back wall. In front, a three-story Pueblo dwelling rises, with doors and windows, adobe bricks etched out, and the vigas (beams) painted in.
On one side, the contemporary, real grandma relates traditional tales to the children while on the other, the spirit of the ancestral figure is shown, as if she is the subject of the story being told on the other side. A truly original version of the beloved storyteller figure, expertly created in the traditional way, with natural hand-gathered, coiled, smoothed, formed and painted clay, by a recognized potter.