Black: Santa Clara Gourd Pitcher, attributed to Sara Fina Tafoya, c. 1920′s

Identified in writing by Santa Clara potter Toni Roller (Sara Fina’s grand-daughter), this is a complex, beautiful and expertly executed pitcher.  It is polished all over with a narrow neck and flaring rim, rainbow band at the base of the neck, mid-body gourd impressions and handle.  The lovely pitcher then is both complex and classic, almost Greek urn-like; one has to spend time with this jar, look closely to see the enormous skill of the potter.  There is a very small rim chip and the surface shows signs of wear from handling and perhaps liquid; either as a pitcher or this piece is beautiful enough that it could have served as a bud vase by a future owner; hard to tell.

Not to confuse, but Blair and Blair show  2 other lovely impressed pitchers in figure 2-25 which date to about 1910.  These also exhibit flaring rims and impressions by Tomacita Tafoya Naranjo, Margaret’s oldest sister who died in 1918.   Of Tomacita,  say:  ”…a master of of impression and was known in her time for graceful handled vessels”.  All of this, of course would describe Sara Fina as well.  That is why my attribution from Toni Roller is just that: attribution; part of the historic mystery and romance of these lovely ceramics.

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