Black jar with sgraffito avanyu, feather, bird, warrior and geometric design plus inlaid stones and band of heishe beads
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Red Starr, Non-Pueblo, Black jar with sgraffito avanyu, feather, bird, warrior and geometric design plus inlaid stones and band of heishe beads
Artist: Red Starr
Pueblo: Non-Pueblo
Dimensions: 8 1/2 in H by 6 3/4 in Dia
Item Number: wsmmd9250
Price: $ 1450
Description: Black jar with sgraffito avanyu, feather, bird, warrior and geometric design plus inlaid stones and band of heishe beads
Condition: Excellent
Signature: Red Starr Sioux with arrow hallmark
Date Created: 1983
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Red Starr

Black jar with sgraffito design and inlaid turquoise

Red Starr, (Elk), was born into the Sioux Nation in Wisconsin in 1937. He is associated with Santa Clara Pueblo since he married Harriet Tafoya and, following Pueblo tradition, moved to her home. Introduced to traditional pottery making after he came to New Mexico, he was inspired by Charles Blunt Horn (uncle), Norman Red Star (nephew), and Swift Bird (cousin) to begin making pottery in the 1970’s as a worthy addition to his wood/stone carving and oil painting pursuits.

Red specializes in hand etching, also known as sgraffito, on highly polished black pots. The process begins with a hand-coiled red clay pot. A slip coat is applied and polished with a stone. Then when it's dry, the pot is completed by firing on the ground. The reduction method of pot firing is employed to turn the clay black: manure is traditionally used to create a hot intense fire that when smothered (covered with ashes) quickly burns all the oxygen out of the air and causes a chemical reaction that turns the pot black. Once the pot has cooled, the sgraffito work can begin.

Sgraffito is a form of etching that is achieved by scratching a design into the surface of a pot. The designs Red uses are representative of the Great Plains Native American medicine animal beliefs. For example, the buffalo represents abundance and the bear expresses intuitive nature. Details such as feathers, bear paws and various other elements are etched into the surface and accented with faux-turquoise stones inset after all else is done.

Red's work fascinates and is sought after by many collectors. He signs his work: "Red Starr" followed by an arrow and his census number.

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Pasqualita Tani Gutierrez Family Tree

Disclaimer: This "family tree" is a best effort on our part to determine who the potters are in this family and arrange them in a generational order. The general information available is questionable so we have tried to show each of these diagrams to living members of each family to get their input and approval, too. This diagram is subject to change should we get better info.

  • Pasqualita Tani Gutierrez & Severiano Tafoya
    Their descendants who became potters:
    • Petra Montoya (Pojoaque)(1905-) & Juan Isidro Gutierrez (Santa Clara, 1901-1977)
      Their descendants who became potters:
      • Gloria Goldenrod Garcia & John Garcia
      • Desiderio "Star" Gutierrez & Genevieve Tafoya
        Their descendants who became potters:
        • Debra Duwyenie & Preston Duwyenie (Hopi)
      • Lois Gutierrez (b. 1948) & Derek de la Cruz
        Their descendant who became a potter:
        • Juan de la Cruz
      • Joe (b. 1943) & Thelma (b. 1942) Talachy (Pojoaque)
      • Minnie Vigil (b. 1931)
        Her descendant who became a potter:
        • Annette Vigil
    • Tomacita Gutierrez Tafoya (1896-1977) & Cruz Tafoya (1889-1938)
      Their descendants who became potters:
      • Cresencia Tafoya (1918-1999)
        Her descendants who became potters:
        • Annie Baca (b. 1941)
        • Pauline Martinez (b. 1950) & George Martinez (San Ildefonso) (b. 1943)
        • Harriet Tafoya (b. 1949) & Elmer Red Starr (Sioux) (1937-2018)
          Their descendants who became potters:
          • Ivan Red Starr (1969-1991)
          • Norman Red Star (nephew) (b. 1955)

Pottery Care & Consideration

  • The most obvious tip: Yes, the pots will break if you drop them!
  • Do not expose pottery to water (Inside or outside). Do not wipe with a damp cloth.
  • Dust pottery only with a soft, smooth cloth (no terry cloth or textured fabric). A very soft paintbrush (sable or camel) can be used.
  • Always use two hands to carry your pot: one on top and one on the bottom, or one hand on each side. Be careful with handles, they can be fragile. Do not grip or lift pots by the rim. Take care when wearing jewelry, rings can scratch the finish.
  • Place a piece of felt or cloth between the pot and the shelf to protect the signature.
  • Avoid exposing pottery to extreme temperature changes.

For those who live in "earthquake country" (also good for mischievous pets):

  • Weigh pots down with a small zip lock bag containing sand, glass marbles, rice, etc. Do not fill the pot more than one third full as you want them bottom heavy. Remember to remove the weight before moving.
  • Secure your shelves; make sure they are well attached to the walls. Shelf brackets should be of sufficient length and strength to support the weight of your pottery.
  • Prevent pots from sliding. Consider attaching a small wooden molding to the front of shelves. Line shelves with non-slip material (a thin sheet of rubber foam, Styrofoam sheeting, etc.)
  • If you need assistance with special problems, major cleaning (your grandchild spills ice cream on your pot), restoration or repair (the cat breaks a pot), or replacement (irreparable damage), please feel free to call us.

We hope these ideas help you maintain the beauty and value of your pottery for years of enjoyment.

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