Vickie Martinez-Tafoya

Vickie martinez-Tafoya.png
Vickie martinez-Tafoya.png

Vickie Martinez-Tafoya


Santa Clara Pueblo

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Carved Blackware Jar by Vickie Martinez-Tafoya
(click to enlarge)

Vickie Martinez-Tafoya (Koe-Sawe, meaning: Buffalo Steps) is a consummate pottery artist of the Bear Clan from Santa Clara Pueblo.  Born in 1967 into a family filled with keen Santa Clara potters, she began making pottery at an early age and has been actively making fine pottery since 1983. Like her siblings, Vickie was inspired to continue the long tradition of working with clay from her grandmother, Flora Naranjo, and mother, Barbara Martinez.  After learning and years of creating her own pottery with her family, Vickie began dating her eventual husband, Joey Chavarria, in the late 1980’s.  It was then that she had the good fortune of acquiring two more pottery mentors.

Shortly after viewing her pottery, Vickie’s soon to be mother-in-law, Stella Chavarria, and her mother, Teresita Naranjo, became her new mentors.   They both helped Vickie further develop and refine her work. At that time Vickie was encouraged to take her skillsets to the next level when making her pottery. As a result, the influences regarding quality and style that were made by Stella and Teresita are evident in Vickie’s work today. 

Specializing in traditional Santa Clara handmade blackware and redware pottery, Vickie is best known for her bowls, jars and wedding vases; often made in miniature. Following her culture’s conventions, Vickie gathers her own natural clay from the hills within the Santa Clara Pueblo reservation. She then removes impurities from the clay, mixes the clay and proceeds to work in the customary manner. Like those who taught her, Vickie then creates her pottery by coiling the clay, shaping it and hand polishing it. Using clay slips and a very smooth stone, Vickie then slowly and repetitively applies layers of slip that are then smoothed with her polishing stone.  

Although it is common for Santa Clara potters to adorn their pottery in a myriad of fashions, they are best known for their deeply carved blackware and redware pottery. Vickie chooses to continue that established form in her own work with her precisely carved Avanyu (water serpent) and geometric designs. She signs her work: Vickie Martinez, Santa Clara Pueblo. Although she is an award-winning potter, her works still remain to be quite a value with respect to Santa Clara contemporary pottery.


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