A Choctaw, living in New Mexico, this accomplished potter is a member of the Turtle Clan.
Randy says, “Turtles are our story keepers. As long as our stories and songs are in them, we might dry up, but we’ll still be there.”
He creates prize-winning turtle storytellers with the pottery technique of his adopted state, that he adapted to his circumstances.
His adorably amiable turtles are made by hand, of commercial clay, and then fired in an oil can, with wood fuel.
This gleefully smiling Koshare turtle is regaling two little ones with tribal lore.
Koshares are Pueblo clowns, readily recognized by their black and white striped paint, and the dried corn husks emerging from their horns.
The little turtles seem wholly wrapped up in the tale, wide-eyed and clinging to Grampa’s flipper and shell.
All the turtles, large and small, are painted with the traditional, dramatically contrasting black and white stripes.
In his front flippers, the elder turtle holds a scarlet ear of Indian corn, accented with tiny turquoise-hued kernels.
The importance of corn is emphasized by the fringed buckskin medicine bag that holds the ear. Notice that it is shaped like a corn husk!
Corn is the staff of life, and so represents good health, happiness, abundance, and all good things.
There is another medicine bag that hangs around the shoulder (?) of the storyteller; it probably contains corn pollen, for praying and blessing.
The sprays that shoot out of the large turtle’s horns are made of dried and cut bamboo, the ones on the babies are of raffia.
With fine sculpting and such appealing smiles, it is easy to see why Randy’s turtles are collected and cherished, world-wide.
These will make you smile, too, every day.