Bryans Gallery

Southwest Native American Arts and Jewelry in Taos since 1982

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  • Jemez Storyteller by Anita Toya

Jemez Storyteller by Anita Toya

147.00
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Jemez Storyteller by Anita Toya

147.00

Storyteller by Anita Toya of Jemez Pueblo, New Mexico. Figurative pottery, storyteller with for babies, traditionally hand-sculpted and hand-painted with natural paint and clay slip. 

Approx: 6.75" x 5" x 5"

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Storyteller by Anita Toya of Jemez Pueblo, New Mexico. Figurative pottery, storyteller with for babies, traditionally hand-sculpted and hand-painted with natural paint and clay slip. 

Approx: 6.75" x 5" x 5"

Anita Toya

Anita Toya was born in Jemez Pueblo, New Mexico. Anita began working in clay under the guidance of her mother, Mary Elizabeth Toya in the 1970s. Anita works in the traditional way, gathering her gifts from Mother Earth. The flesh color on her storytellers and figurative pieces is the clay itself, which is dark brown before firing. Her black pigment is boiled wild spinach and black rock, which is strained prior to use. The red clay comes from Jemez Pueblo itself. The white pigment is the hardest to obtain, found in the mountains.  

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.