A unique pottery form, storytellers celebrate the Pueblo tradition of passing down stories orally, and usually depict an elder surrounded by children.
Each element of Cochiti potter Vangie Suina's storyteller was created by hand from natural clay using the traditional coil and pinch methods, and hand-painted with natural pigments, demonstrating Suina's mastery of traditional pottery-making methods. A fun, lively pottery form, this storyteller with seven children will be enjoyed for generations.
- Storyteller handmade by Vangie Suina (Cochiti Pueblo)
- Natural clay with all-natural vegetal and mineral slip
- Crafted through traditional horizontal coil and pinch methods
- Storyteller measures 4-3/4” high x 3-1/2” long x 3-1/4”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.
Vangie Suina was born into Cochiti Pueblo in the mid-1960s. Her mother, Louise Suina, taught her the fundamentals of working with pottery, from mixing the clay to hand-building the dolls using the ancient traditional hand-coiling method, which has been passed down through several generations of their people. Vangie has been working with clay art since the age of 22. She chose to become an artisan so she could spend more time at home with her children and husband. Exercising her artistic skills allows her to contribute her unique style of art to the long-lived legacy of her people.
Cochiti Pueblo has been making sophisticated clay pottery and figurines for hundreds of years. It may be best-known as the birthplace of the Storyteller figure, one of the most widely collected and recognized Pueblo art forms.
Storytellers were developed by Cochiti Pueblo potter Helen Cordero 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, Cochiti potters make traditional Storytellers as well as more contemporary figurines that depict non-traditional subjects such as animals, and are often whimsical or humorous in style.
Cochiti’s traditional pottery style is a black, red, and buff polychrome with the base and interior of the vessel painted red. Traditional designs include birds, animals, rain, clouds, flowers, lightning, and other motifs drawn from nature. Today, pottery-making remains an extremely strong and vibrant art form in Cochiti Pueblo, with many artists producing work of incredibly high quality in both traditional and contemporary styles.
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.