Emily Tafoya was born in 1959. She is Kiowa and Santa Clara. She was inspired to learn the art of pottery making from several family members, including her grandmother, Clara Suazo. Emily has been making pottery since 1973.
She specializes in incised (sgraffito) Santa Clara pottery. Her pottery is made the traditional way, and then completely covered with a combination of both contemporary and traditional designs. Emily digs her own clay from the local hills then combines it with volcanic ash found in the Espanola Valley of Northern New Mexico. The pottery is carefully formed and a clay slip is applied in layers. The pottery is then hand polished to a high sheen. The firing techniques bring out the desired colors like black, red, or green. The pot is then painstakingly incised. Every one of her pots has its own distinct personality. Sometimes she carves wildlife designs, and other times, human forms. It’s important to Emily that she produces a clean and sharp image on every piece she creates. Her works have been called “sparkling pottery gems” Emily states, “It is important to me to share my unique style of contemporary pottery. It is also important to stay within traditional methods of pottery making.” Emily signs her pottery as: Snow-Cap Mountain, Emily Tafoya SCP.
She is the mother of Jennifer Tafoya Moquino, one of our prominent young potters. Emily has been winning wards since 1995. She continues to excel at her work.