© Laura Walker

Stella Shutiva (1939-1992)

Stella Shutiva popularized the so-called “fingernail” physical feature to the white clay pottery of the Acoma Pueblo in the early 1970s. She became famous for her delicate wedding vases, seed jars, and bowls. Occasionally she added a brownish slip design to the handles of her wedding vases and to other pieces.

Stella encouraged her children to pick up her craft. Her daughter Jackie now produces pottery similar in style to her mother’s. Her son-in-law, Wilfred Garcia, produces superbly polished white clay seed jars and bowls with three-dimensional reliefs of turtles, lizards, and other animals.

(1939-1992) Stella Shutiva was a well-known Acoma pueblo potter, specializing in the corrugated style of prehistoric times. She credited her mother, Jessie Garcia, for the revival of corrugated pottery, which is created when pueblo potters make indentations in the coils with a finger or a thumb. Archeologists have experimented to confirm the superior durability of corrugated wares.

Shutiva once demonstrated her techniques when she studied the Acoma pottery collections at the Smithsonian Institute in 1973.


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