Everyone should know that Helen Cordero of Cochiti Pueblo made the very first storyteller pottery figurine in 1964. She created this first pottery figurine of an adult male with numerous children clinging to every part of him. This was the beginning of the “storyteller” figurine and was inspired by memories of her grandfather years earlier—a tribute to him—who was a storyteller at the pueblo.
Since the figurine was in tribute to her grandfather, all of her storyteller figurines are male. She never made a female storyteller. Little did she know that she was starting a new tradition and changed the course in Pueblo pottery production. A storyteller made by her is to be a treasured item in any collection.
The piece portrays the storyteller with an open mouth and closed eyes as if telling the story with such detail that he is lost in thought. There are six little children climbing all over him – legs, back and shoulders – seemingly eager to hear the story he is telling them. The grandfather figure is dressed in simple pants and shirt with moccasins. He is wearing a necklace.
It is clear where Helen Cordero found her inspiration, as reflected in the following quote: “To make good potteries, you have to do it the right way, the old way,” she said, “and you have to have a special happy feeling inside. All my potteries come out of my heart. I talk to them. They’re my little people, not just pretty things that I make for money.”
Condition: Although the right foot of the storyteller has been professionally restored where it was broken, it is in marvelous condition.
Provenance: Acquired from a private collector
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