Stella Teller Isleta Bear and Two Cubs Storyteller

Item No: 35558

$ 570.00

  • These whimsical bear figurines handcrafted by Isleta Pueblo artist Stella Teller are a contemporary interpretation of the traditional Pueblo storytellers.

    A unique pottery form, storytellers celebrate the Pueblo tradition of passing down stories orally, and usually depict an elder surrounded by children, though contemporary artists often use animals and other non-traditional subjects.

    Teller's adorable figurine features a bear with two small clubs, and a smooth white slip finish, accented by a string of turquoise around the bear's neck. These special accents make these bears highly collectible and a great additional to any figurine collection
    • Figurine handmade by Stella Teller (Isleta Pueblo)
    • Natural clay with all-natural vegetal and mineral slip
    • Figurine/Storyteller measures 2-1/4” high x 2” long x 3-1/2” 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.

  • Stella Teller was born and raised in Isleta Pueblo, and is a third-generation potter. She learned the basics of pottery-making at a young age by observing and helping family members with their work.

    Stella has been professionally creating pottery since 1963. She began with the traditional Isleta style of red and black on white, and then went on to develop her signature colors of greys, blues, and white with turquoise accents.

  • Today there are very few artists creating traditional pottery in Isleta Pueblo, and Isleta pottery is one of the most difficult to find of all types of Pueblo pottery.

    Very little is known about the history of pottery production in Isleta Pueblo. Historically, Isleta artisans made heavy redware similar to Ohkay Owingeh but eventually moved to polychrome, a style introduced by Laguna Pueblo potters who came to Isleta in the late 19th century.

    Traditional pottery-making at Isleta nearly died out in the 20th century, but was revitalized in the 1980s by Stella Teller and her family, known for their exquisite handmade figurines and storytellers. Caroline Carpio is another prominent potter who has won acclaim for her elegant contemporary fine art pottery.

    With so few Isleta artists creating pottery using natural clay and traditional methods, any piece is a rare and valuable work of art.

  • 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 40 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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