Robin Teller Isleta "Fly Free" Pottery Storyteller

Item No: 10287

$ 1,425.00

  • “Fly Free” storyteller with 5 children and 3 eagles from renowned Isleta Pueblo potter Robin Teller.

    The aunt and children are singing in honor of the eagle's strength and power, with the ability to fly free.

    She tells the children to always make wise choices, be free and strong in spirit, love and care for all that our Creator has blessed us to share this life with, to enjoy the connection and simplicity of it all.

    One child plays the flute, while the others use their blankets as wings to dance and imitate the flight of the eagle. A basket of fish and corn feed the eagles perched throughout the scene. The shawl reflects the elements of the sky, the spirit of the Sun Face to always radiate life's joy and happiness. The clouds with rain spirits dancing throughout them shed lightning and rain upon us for continued life.

    • Storyteller handmade by Robin Teller (Isleta Pueblo)
    • Natural clay with all-natural vegetal and mineral slip
    • Storyteller measures 5” high x 6 1/4” long x 5” wide
    • 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.

  • Teller began sculpting in 1988, and in 30 years of work has become known for her iconic storytellers, Nativity groupings, and polychrome vessels. She was born and raised in Isleta Pueblo by Stella Teller, herself an artist who has been actively making pottery since 1962.

    In addition to being an award-winning artist, Teller was one of five Pueblo potters commissioned to honor the grand opening of Starbucks at Avanyu Plaza in 2015, the first Native American-owned Starbucks, by crafting a custom clay Pueblo-style coffee mug. That mug was replicated along with the others for sale through Shumakolowa, making Teller one of the very few Pueblo potters to be represented on a wide-scale, international level.

  • The Teller family of Isleta Pueblo carries on the tradition of making handmade pottery using ancestral methods. For centuries, Isleta artisans made pottery for utilitarian purposes and trade, but in the 20th century, traditional pottery-making declined.

    For the Tellers, creating handmade pottery using the ancient ways is a family legacy. Christine Teller’s great grandmother, Emilia Lente-Carpio, showed her pottery at the 1904 World's Fair in St. Louis, and her grandmother, Felicita Carpio-Jojola, sold traditional pottery to tourists at Isleta and Albuquerque train depots.

    Christine’s mother, Stella Teller, began making pottery in the 1960s, first in the traditional Isleta style of red and black on white, and later in the signature style she developed of blue and gray on a white background with turquoise bead accents. Christine Teller carries on her family’s legacy, building upon the style developed by her mother, though with her own innovations in color and detail.

  • 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.
  • At Shumakolowa Native Arts, we guarantee that your purchase is an original and authentic work handcrafted by Native American artists as defined by the Indian Arts and Crafts Act of 1990. We ask our artists to complete an extensive certification process, providing a CIB (Certificate of Degree of Indian Blood) card and other documentation of their Native American heritage. Our team of experts carefully inspects every product to guarantee it is handcrafted using traditional, sustainable processes, and natural materials of only the highest quality. We record the place and date of each purchase, and pride ourselves in paying a fair price that allows artists to make a living practicing their craft. Every work of handcrafted art comes with a Certificate of Authenticity signed by an artist or buyer.

    At a time when many commercially made products are being sold as handcrafted Native American art, our in-depth purchase process allows us to guarantee the authenticity of every unique piece of fine art we offer. For more than 35 years, we have made it a priority to visit artists in their studio or home to purchase their latest handcrafted pieces and learn about their work. We have developed lasting relationships with artists, as well as dealers and collectors, and we take pride in being a trusted destination for fine Native American art.

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