Nathan Youngblood and a Century of Carved Santa Clara Pottery

Nathan Youngblood

Nearly 100 years ago, Santa Clara Pueblo potter Sara Fina Tafoya began making some of the first carved pottery at the Santa Clara Pueblo. Today her great-grandson, Nathan Youngblood, has taken inspiration from her first 12 pieces, having learned to make pottery from his grandmother, Margaret Tafoya (1904-2001). The techniques he learned, along with his own creativity, evolved into his own distinctive style of pottery, and each piece is coil built, carved and stone polished.

Nathan uses natural clay slips to create color contrasts of red and tan in his pottery. This combination of polished red and tan sections with matte or micaceous surfaces has become the new Santa Clara “polychrome.” Throughout his career he has built on the lessons learned from his mother and grandmother, which created a solid foundation for the evolution of his pottery. The work for his recent series, “The Space Between,” on exhibit at King Galleries March 1-30, 2019, is inspired by the early work of his ancestors.

Nathan Youngblood, Cloud Jar.

In this presentation the artist discusses Sara Fina’s work, the progression of carved pottery at the Santa Clara Pueblo over the past century, and his own interpretations of the shapes and designs of these early pieces.

Program is included in museum admission; free for museum members.