Bryans Gallery

Southwest Native American Arts and Jewelry in Taos since 1982

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  • Jemez Pueblo Storyteller by Alma Maestas

Jemez Pueblo Storyteller by Alma Maestas

400.00
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Jemez Pueblo Storyteller by Alma Maestas

400.00

Handmade and hand-painted Jemez Pueblo storyteller with five babies by well-known potter, Alma Maestas.  

Approx: 7 1/8" x 5 3/8" x 4 3/8"

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Handmade and hand-painted Jemez Pueblo storyteller with five babies by well-known potter, Alma Maestas.  

Approx: 7 1/8" x 5 3/8" x 4 3/8"

Alma Maestas

Alma Loretto (Concha) Maestas, "Painted Parrot," member of the Water Clan, was born in 1941. She is half Jemez and half Laguna. She was inspired to continue the tradition of pottery making by her mother, Carrie Reid Loretto. Alma was introduced to pottery making at the age of 7. She specializes in handmade Jemez Pueblo figurines, storytellers, koshares, nativities and can also hand coil traditional pottery. After trying various styles of pottery making, Alma prefers to make figurines. She paints with natural colors and fires her pottery the traditional way. Alma signs her pottery: ALMA, followed by a water symbol to denote her clan origin.

Alma is considered one of the first generation of pueblo potters to make storytellers. She made her first storyteller in 1969, just a few years after Helen Cordero initiated  the form. Alma’s work is featured on the cover of the third edition of the book, Pueblo Stories and Storytellers, and is in the permanent collection of the Smithsonian Museum.

Storytellers

Figurative pottery comes from an old tradition. Prehistoric potters made several different animal and human forms. The Spanish clergy, who arrived in New Mexico, in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries were zealous in destroying these pieces. A result of this persecution was a 400 year gap in Middle Rio Grande figurative pottery pieces. There is no evidence of these pieces from the 1500’s to 1875.

Helen Cordero created the first storyteller in 1964. Before Helen, there was a figure called the singing mother that had one child on the lap.  Helen modeled her figure on her grandfather, and had five children climbing on him, and the modern storyteller was born. In 1965 Helen took first place with one of her storytellers at SWAIA’S Santa Fe Indian Market.  By 1979, there were ten storyteller potters and their numbers grew rapidly. Today, families have trademark features on their storytellers. The form of the figure, a facial expression, traditional slips and contemporary colors set their pieces apart from each other.  Some families create animals, some human forms both male and female. Artists usually set their prices by the number of children on each storyteller.