This contemporary Storyteller handcrafted by Jemez artist Joseph Gachupin features a wolf figure with two children in its lap. Storytellers celebrate the Pueblo tradition of passing down stories orally and usually depict an elder surrounded by children, all with open mouths to represent the act of storytelling. The use of animals in storytellers is a contemporary development, and the wolf is an animal admired by the Pueblo people for being a pathfinder. Gachupin molded and painted this clay Storyteller by hand, creating a whimsical and contemporary figure that celebrates a beloved form of Pueblo art.
- Storyteller handmade by Joseph Gachupin (Jemez Pueblo)
- Natural clay with all-natural vegetal and mineral slip
- Contemporary storyteller featuring wolf figures
- Storyteller measures 4-3/4” x 4-1/2” x 2-1/2”
- Comes with a signed Certificate of Authenticity
Handcrafted works of Native American art require special care. For more information about proper care and cleaning, please read our Care Guide.
Joseph Gachupin (b. 1953) is an acclaimed potter from Jemez Pueblo known for creating beautiful handmade clay figures, such as storytellers and corn maiden figurines. He uses traditional pottery methods passed down through the generations, first making his own natural clay and pigments, then molding and painting his figures by hand, and finally firing outdoors with cedar chips. He was inspired to learn the clay arts from his wife, potter Carolyn Gachupin, and her sister, Emily Tsosie, who taught him how to create and work with clay using traditional methods. His wife and sister-in-law are from a famed family of Jemez potters and artists, and their siblings also include Glendora and Clifford Fragua.
Jemez Pueblo potters are known for their artistry and innovation, with many artists producing premium handcrafted vessels in traditional and contemporary styles. Before the arrival of the Spanish, Jemez was known for its traditional black-on-white ware, but production of this type of pottery died out in the early 18th century. Most pottery used in Jemez Pueblo after that came from nearby Zia Pueblo. There was a revival of Jemez pottery-making in the early 20th century inspired and influenced by Zia pottery designs, but it was not until the 1960s and 70s that a significant number of Jemez potters began producing high-quality work using ancient methods. These potters developed a distinctive style of black-on-red and black or red-on-tan, while dramatically improving their technical mastery of the form. Since the 1980s the popularity of handcrafted Jemez pottery has soared. Today, many artists create pots in the signature Jemez red style, but there are potters working in a range of colors and forms. Jemez potters make storytellers, wedding vases, seed pots, sgraffito-etched vessels and more, and are widely recognized for their craftsmanship, creativity and experimentation in design and technique.
Native American and Pueblo people of the Southwest have been making clay pottery figures since ancient times. Their creation was discouraged by Christian missionaries and the form was not widely practiced in the 16th-19th centuries. Figurative pottery was revived in the 20th century and clay figurines have since become one of the most popular and widely collected Native American art forms. Storytellers are a type of clay figure that is unique to the Southwest. They were developed by Helen Cordero of Cochiti Pueblo in 1963 and traditionally depict a male elder telling stories to children, all with open mouths. Cordero was inspired by the traditional “Singing Mother” figure often represented in clay, and by her grandfather, a legendary Cochiti storyteller. In Pueblo culture, stories are passed down orally from generation to generation, and the storyteller figure represents the importance of the storytelling tradition. Today, Native artists across the Southwest create storytellers, sometimes depicting the elder and children as clowns, drummers, acrobats, cowboys or animals, and handcrafted figurative pottery continues to be one of the most exciting, colorful and successful pottery forms.Read our Native American Pottery Collector's Guide.
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