Sherry Tafoya

American (1956 - )


Sherry Tafoya (b. 1956 in Santa Clara Pueblo) is the daughter of potter Mida Tafoya, a grand-daughter of Christina Naranjo, and a great-grand-daughter of Serafina Tafoya.  She carries on the family artistic and stylistic tradition with sharply incised black and redware. 


Incised black and redware pottery is one of the most recognized and celebrated styles of puebloan pottery.  It emerged as a signature method of manufacture and design within the Santa Clara Pueblo, though its origins can be traced to the Ancestral Puebloan people whose pottery-making traditions can be traced back thousands of years. 


Contemporary potters such as Sherry Tafoya follow the traditional hand-coil method of rolling wet clay into snakes and coiling the snakes on top of each other.  As the coils piled up, they are pinched together, then scraped on the inside and out to smooth the surfaces and remove extra clay.  Decoration is applied by brushing darker or lighter colors - red, black, and white over the surface.  The carving of the decoration takes place before firing in a wood-burning kiln structure.


Sherry Tafoya's work is characterized by deliberate and shaply formed carved edges, yielding especially crisp designs.  Her pottery is illustrated on page 233 of the book "Fourteen Families in Pueblo Pottery."