Pottery of the Southwest features works by the Ebelacker family.
SANTA FE, NM
The polished black pottery of Margaret Tafoya (19042001) often features a bear paw design, which became her symbol. She felt that pattern and the rainbow pattern were gifts from her ancestors. She commented on the bear paw motif, “It is a good luck symbol. The bear always knows where the water is.” Margaret was the daughter of the great Serafina Tafoya (1863-1949), the matriarch of a long line of Santa Clara potters.
Pottery of the Southwest in Santa Fe, New Mexico, will feature one branch of her descendants in an exhibition, Ebelacker Family Pottery,
August 17 through September 22.
Virginia Ebelacker (1925-2001) and her son Richard (1946-2010) brought the bear paw motif into their large redware vessels. Richard began working with clay with his mother and grandmother as a boy and turned to it seriously when he returned from Vietnam in 1968. He was one of the few Santa Clara potters who continued to make very large pots.
Virginia worked full-time in metallurgy and plastics research at Los Alamos National Labs, making pots in the evening. She turned to pottery making full time when she retired.
Richard’s sons, Jerome and Jason, carry on the family tradition. Jerome’s son, Nick, will be represented in the exhibition by a deeply carved and highly polished blackware pot.
Jason Ebelacker’s large pots are exceptionally time
consuming to construct since he uses traditional coil construction. To allow them to dry before the next coils are added, he can only apply two or three coils a day. After traditional firing he polishes them to a high sheen with river rocks he has collected.
The history of Pueblo pottery is rich with families that have carried on traditions for generations, refining them over the years and adding their own creative ideas and techniques.
2. Jason Ebelacker (SantaClara), native clay and hand coiled pot
1. Virginia Ebelacker (Santa Clara), native clay and hand coiled pot, 12½ x 14"
4. Jerome Ebelacker (SantaClara), native clay and hand coiled pot, 15 x 11¼"
6. Jason Ebelacker (SantaClara), native clay and hand coiled pot
3. Richard Ebelacker (Santa Clara), native clay and hand coiled pot
5. Nick Ebelacker (SantaClara), native clay and hand coiled pot, 5½ x 7"