Hand Coiled Native American Jemez Pottery Storyteller V. Lucero

Native American Storyteller by Jemez potter Virginia Lucero.  This beautiful piece has very vibrant colors and is all hand made of coiled clay with exquisite attention to detail as can be seen on the hand painted faces and caps. Signed on the bottom by the artist with her trademark sketch of rain with clouds. Virginia is a member of the Fire Clan and was born in 1964 into the Jemez Pueblo. Virginia began experimenting with clay at the age of 14 and specializes in handmade storytellers.  She is related to Carol Lucero-Gachupin, Mary Rose Lucero (cousins) and Mary I. Lucero (sister). She paints her colorful storytellers with vegetal and mineral pigments and fires her pottery figures outdoors in a pit with cedar chips. 

Translation: Hi, This is Jennifer here with City Farmhouse Antiques and I am here with the find of the week and this week I want to show you something that is near and dear to where I am in New Mexico and that is the pottery storyteller.  The history behind the pottery storyteller starts with a wonderful woman by the name of Helen Cordero who unfortunately is no longer living, but her story is very endearing.  These come from the Cochiti pueblo which Helen was a part of.  The Cochito pueblo is located on the banks of the Rio Grande River between Albuquerque and Santa Fe, New Mexico.  At 45 years old Helen found herself trying to find ways to make more money.  Her background was in leather and bead making and an elder had mentioned instead of buying supplies use what is provided from our “Mother Earth” and learn how to make pottery.  Helen had someone that began teaching her to make pottery, but everything she made  would come out lopsided or asymmetrical and just before she gave up she decided to try something different which were caricature pieces like these.  These are not actually Helen Cordero pieces, but the neat thing is even though she is no longer living there are many women on the Cochiti pueblo that she taught the trade.  Helen was known for large pieces with many children and the first piece she did was actually a depiction of her grandfather with all of his grandchildren around him. That was one of her first storytellers.  When one of her storytellers was featured on the cover of the Sunset magazine in 1972 that really launched her career and paved a path for other potters to do the same.  This tall piece in the middle was made by Mary and her husband Leonard Trujillo.  Helen Cordero was actually Mary’s mother-in-law.  You can see here on the bottom the signature of Mary and Leonard Trujillo.  You can see on the bottom of this piece some wear from age where it has been sitting on a fireplace or shelf.  This is a larger piece and Mary is one of the few potters that continues to make larger pieces.  Many storytellers are about five inches tall which are like some of these others.  Of course they vary by artist, size, how many babies, and the detail.  Some of these pieces have little dogs, turtles, children holding children.  This piece is a Dina Suena piece and she has become well known for her storytellers.  This is one of my favorite pieces here by Virginia Lucero.  She always signs her pieces V. Lucero and always has a rain cloud at the bottom with her signature on the piece.  You can see this baby even has a little Nike cap on and you can see she has several babies there.  Every storyteller artist has their own style which you can see from this collection.  Virginia was born in 1964 and belongs to the fire clan so she has been making pottery for a long time.  This is another artist Dorothy Herrera who was also trained by Helen Cordero.  You can see her work and her style.  Here is another cute little piece by Mona Teller.  This is a depiction of a grandmother holding six babies and she captures the sentiment for sure.  This is another piece in the collection I just purchased and this is a Vangie Suina piece, another famous storyteller maker,  you can see the different colors, the attention to detail and her style.  Be sure and like us on Facebook and check out all of our vintage collectibles and finds of the week on our website at www.cityfarmhouseantiques.com

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