An outstanding Santa Clara Pueblo potter, Emily is the widow of noted potter Ray Tafoya, and the mother of the equally noted potter, Jennifer Moquino.
She is known for her miniature sgraffito pottery and has won awards at major Native art shows, such as Santa Fe Indian Market and the Heard Museum Market. Her work has been featured in reference books, as well.
This charming seed pot is typical of her multicolored and intricate designs, scratched out on a blackened base.
It is traditional in fabrication, from gathering the clay, through pit firing, smothering the flames to create the black, and stone polishing.
On one side, we see a deer, on the opposite side, a kneeling hunter, disguised with a wolf skin.
The areas between them are decorated with stepped rain signs, water spirals, raindrop circles, parallel lines symbolizing rainfall, and a tapered form that might refer to an ear of corn.
All these symbolize good luck, good health, and prosperity – successful hunting and thriving crops, thanks to enough water.
The ovoid shape of the seed pot is plump and well-formed; the designs are precise and well-defined.
Within the glossy, stone-polished black areas, the artist has scratched out tiny decorative details that she high-lighted with various colors.
These delicate touches of color brighten the dark background and make the details more visible.
After her husband’s untimely death, Emily was left with two little children. She bravely took over all the pottery making – which had been a collaboration – and has perpetuated the legacy of the family, brilliantly.
This is a handsome seed pot, with exacting, and appealing, sgraffito decoration.