Santa Clara
Sgraffito katsina and geometric design on a red seed pot

Gloria "Goldenrod" Garcia was born into Santa Clara Pueblo in 1942, daughter of Petra Montoya Gutierrez of Pojoaque Pueblo and Juan Gutierrez of Santa Clara. Among Goldenrod's sisters were Thelma Talachy, Lois Gutierrez de la Cruz and Minnie Vigil.

In 1942 World War II was on and Pojoaque Pueblo had been reestablished less than 10 years before. Living conditions were pretty rough and there was little working infrastructure in place. When the Bureau of Indian Affairs in 1933 asked for information on where to find the Pojoaques, many of them came out of Santa Clara. Those families had left Pojoaque after the Cacique (the pueblo's religious leader) died and the last Governor left the area to find work around 1908, leaving what was left of the village to sink into the landscape.

At Santa Clara, Petra's children grew up surrounded by a vibrant artist community and they learned how to make pottery from some of the greats. As they married, though, they had to make choices. Thelma chose to move back to Pojoaque Pueblo after marrying Joe Talachy while Goldenrod and the others stayed at Santa Clara.

Today, Goldenrod freehand etches (sgraffito style) her hand-coiled seed pots with designs that often feature buffalo, corn maidens, rain clouds, deer, bear and birds. She won First Place and Best of Division ribbons at Santa Fe Indian Market, three years after she began making pottery. The Smithsonian's permanent collection also features some of her work.

Some Exhibits that Featured Goldenrod's Work

  • Gifts from the Community. Heard Museum West. Surprise, Arizona. April 12 - October 12, 2008
  • Choices and Change: American Indian Artists in the Southwest. Heard Museum North. Scottsdale, Arizona. June 20, 2007 - April 2012
  • Images, Artists, Styles: Recent Acquisitions from the Heard Museum Collection. Heard Museum North. Scottsdale, Arizona. July 2001 - January 2002

Some Awards Goldenrod has Won

  • 2020 Heard Museum Guild Indian Fair & Market, Classification II - Pottery, Division G - Pottery miniatures not to exceed three (3) inches at its greatest dimension: Second Place. Awarded for artwork: "Wolves"
  • 2017 Heard Museum Guild Indian Fair & Market, Classification II - Pottery, Division G - Pottery miniatures not to exceed three (3) inches at its greatest dimension: First Place. Awarded for artwork: "Black Bears"
  • 2014 Heard Museum Guild Indian Fair & Market, Classification II - Pottery, Division D - Traditional, native clay, hand built, figurative: Second Place
  • 2012 Heard Museum Guild Indian Fair & Market, Classification II - Pottery, Division G Miniatures not to exceed 3": First Place
  • 2011 Heard Museum Guild Indian Fair & Market, Classification II - Pottery, Division G - Miniatures: Second Place. Shared with Preston Duwyenie
  • 2004 Santa Fe Indian Market, Classification II - Pottery, Division K - Pottery miniatures, 3" or less in height or diameter, Category 1706 - Sgraffito: Third Place

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Santa Clara Pueblo

The Puye Cliff Ruins
Ruins at Puye Cliffs, Santa Clara Pueblo

Santa Clara Pueblo straddles the Rio Grande about 25 miles north of Santa Fe. Of all the pueblos, Santa Clara has the largest number of potters.

The ancestral roots of the Santa Clara people have been traced to the pueblos in the Mesa Verde region in southwestern Colorado. When that area began to get dry between about 1100 and 1300, some of the people migrated to the Chama River Valley and constructed Poshuouinge (about 3 miles south of what is now Abiquiu on the edge of the mesa above the Chama River). Eventually reaching two and three stories high with up to 700 rooms on the ground floor, Poshuouinge was inhabited from about 1375 to about 1475. Drought then again forced the people to move, some of them going to the area of Puye (on the eastern slopes of the Pajarito Plateau of the Jemez Mountains) and others to Ohkay Owingeh (San Juan Pueblo, along the Rio Grande). Beginning around 1580, drought forced the residents of the Puye area to relocate closer to the Rio Grande and they founded what we now know as Santa Clara Pueblo on the west bank of the river, between San Juan and San Ildefonso Pueblos.

In 1598 Spanish colonists from nearby Yunque (the seat of Spanish government near San Juan Pueblo) brought the first missionaries to Santa Clara. That led to the first mission church being built around 1622. However, the Santa Clarans chafed under the weight of Spanish rule like the other pueblos did and were in the forefront of the Pueblo Revolt of 1680. One pueblo resident, a mixed black and Tewa man named Domingo Naranjo, was one of the rebellion's ringleaders. When Don Diego de Vargas came back to the area in 1694, he found most of the Santa Clarans on top of nearby Black Mesa (with the people of San Ildefonso). An extended siege didn't subdue them so eventually, the two sides negotiated a treaty and the people returned to their pueblo. However, successive invasions and occupations by northern Europeans took their toll on the tribe over the next 250 years. The Spanish flu pandemic in 1918 almost wiped them out.

Today, Santa Clara Pueblo is home to as many as 2,600 people and they comprise probably the largest per capita number of artists of any North American tribe (estimates of the number of potters run as high as 1-in-4 residents).

Today's pottery from Santa Clara is typically either black or red. It is usually highly polished and designs might be deeply carved or etched ("sgraffito") into the pot's surface. The water serpent, ("avanyu"), is a traditional design motif of Santa Clara pottery. Another motif comes from the legend that a bear helped the people find water during a drought. The bear paw has appeared on their pottery ever since.

One of the reasons for the distinction this pueblo has received is because of the evolving artistry the potters have brought to the craft. Not only did this pueblo produce excellent black and redware, several notable innovations helped move pottery from the realm of utilitarian vessels into the domain of art. Different styles of polychrome redware emerged in the 1920's-1930's. In the early 1960's experiments with stone inlay, incising and double firing began. Modern potters have also extended the tradition with unusual shapes, slips and designs, illustrating what one Santa Clara potter said: "At Santa Clara, being non-traditional is the tradition." (This refers strictly to artistic expression; the method of creating pottery remains traditional).

Santa Clara Pueblo is home to a number of famous pottery families: Tafoya, Baca, Gutierrez, Naranjo, Suazo, Chavarria, Garcia, Vigil, Tapia - to name a few.

Harvest, Santa Clara Pueblo c. 1912 Courtesy Museum of New Mexico Neg. No. 4128

Santa Clara Pueblo c. 1920 Courtesy Museum of New Mexico Neg. No. 4214
Map showing the location of Santa Clara Pueblo
For more info:
at Wikipedia
Pueblos of the Rio Grande, Daniel Gibson, ISBN-13:978-1-887896-26-9, Rio Nuevo Publishers, 2001
Upper photo courtesy of Einar Kvaran, Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported License

100 West San Francisco Street, Santa Fe, New Mexico 87501
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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 was the sister of Sarafina Tafoya.

    Pasqualita Tani Gutierrez (1883-) & Severiano Tafoya
    • Petra Montoya (Pojoaque)(1905-) & Juan Isidro Gutierrez (Santa Clara, 1901-1977)
      • Gloria Goldenrod Garcia & John Garcia
        • Jason Okuu Pin Garcia
      • Desiderio Star Gutierrez & Genevieve Tafoya
        • Debra Duwyenie & Preston Duwyenie (Hopi)
      • Lois Gutierrez (1948-) & Derek de la Cruz
        • Juan de la Cruz
      • Thelma (1946-) & Joe (1940-) Talachy (San Juan)
      • Maria Minnie Vigil (1931-)
        • Annette Vigil
      • Virginia Gutierrez (daughter-in-law of Petra, Nambe/Pojoaque)(1940-2012)
    • Tomacita Gutierrez Tafoya (1896-1977) & Cruz Tafoya (1889-1938)
      • Cresencia Tafoya (1918-1999)
        • Annie Baca (1941-)
        • Pauline Martinez (1950-) & George Martinez (San Ildefonso) (1943-)
        • Harriet Tafoya (1949-) & Elmer Red Starr (Sioux) (1937-)
          • Ivan Red Starr (1969-1991)
          • Norman Red Star (nephew) (1955-)
    • Celestina Naranjo & Salvador Naranjo

Some of the above info is drawn from Pueblo Indian Pottery, 750 Artist Biographies, by Gregory Schaaf, © 2000, Center for Indigenous Arts & Studies. Other info is derived from personal contacts with family members and through interminable searches of the Internet.

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