x 7" D
Helen Tafoya is a native from
Walatowa, or Jemez Pueblo. Helen learned the art
of working with the clay from her mother Vangie Tafoya, also
well-known amongst the potters. Helen was taught at an early
age, helping her mom clean and mix the clay. Soon she started
to form her own pots, with some help from her mother. Helen started
her own family and moved away from her parents and decided that
it was time she created her own style and her own version of
the unique pottery that she now produces.
Helen now is well-known for
the Hummingirds that she puts on her pottery and completes her
piece of pottery by putting a stone into the hummingbirds
eye. She uses either turquoise, mother of pearl, onyx or other
stones. She is also a collector of hummingbirds herself and says
the hummers have brought her luck.
was from San Ildefonso Pueblo and married into Jemez Pueblo.
She also did pottery, the black on black well known at San Ildefonso.
She taught her children to do pottery and the art has been passed
down to each generation. Helen is very happy that she got to
know her grandmother and cherishes the memories she left behind.
Helen is married to Jon Henderson
and they have 4 children. They all help Helen in any way they
can. They also make their own pots. Helen encourages them to
do the best that they can because it takes a lot of practice
and patience to make a pot. Helen wants her children to learn
and appreciate the tradition of how pottery is made.
Helen is very proud of all
the pottery she produces. Each pot is very unique and a contemporary
expression of an ancient tradition. Helen does 4-6 art shows
a year and her pottery has gone all over the world. Helen also
competes with other potters at various art show that do judging
on art work. When Helen entered her first pot for judging, she
received a 3rd place ribbon. Soon she started getting 1st and
2nd place ribbons and other awards.