Collector Pottery: Hand Carved Blackware Jar by Teresita Naranjo (1919-1999)
Blackware Jar with Kiva Step Design, c.1980 by Teresita Naranjo (1919-1999), Santa Clara Pueblo hand carved clay, pencil signed on bottom, excellent condition 6.5" high x 5.5" diameter
Teresita Naranjo was a daughter of Christina Naranjo, a sister of Mary Cain and the great-aunt to Autumn Borts and Tammy Garcia. Her pottery can be found in the permanent collection of museums nationwide including The National Museum of the American Indian, the Denver Art Museum and the Heard.
Teresita Naranjo holds a place of historic significance in Santa Clara pottery, as she is considered the first to carve outside the linear band designs for her imagery. Her carving was always deep and crisp, and the designs seem to flow gracefully around the surface.
“I was born and raised in Santa Clara Pueblo and have lived there all my life. My parents were Victor and Christina Naranjo. I was born on May 1, 1919. On the fourth day I was given my Indian name by a midwife, she named me Bay-Po-Vi, which means Apple Blossom: then later on they baptized me in the Catholic Church and gave me my name Teresita Naranjo.”
“I did not know my grandparents on my father’s side, they were dead before I was born, but on my mother’s side my grandparents were Geronimo and Sarafina Tafoya. They have always done potteries all their lives. Of course, my grandfather was a very good farmer: he always raised his own crops and was always busy in the daytime, but when his work was done he would always do pottery work in the evenings to help my grandmother.”
“My grandfather used to tell us the story about the water serpent, which is called Avanyu in the Tewa language spoken in his days. However, the way he told it, the water serpent brought luck, health, peace, joy and happiness as well as rain and good crops to the Indian people and to all people on the earth. So he said whoever buys your pottery with the water serpent, he too will always have all those good things.”
“Some people may say pottery making is a hobby; it is more than a hobby to me. It means my life. I have a business right in my home. I work to make a living. I have supported my children with pottery and given them their education and their needs since my husband died in 1950. Today my pottery is the handiwork of the creator.”