This collection was brought to us by a couple that lived all over the Western United States. He was an employee of the Federal Government, and she worked in many organizations with Native people. Everywhere they lived, they collected Indian art from the area.


Stella Shutiva (1939-1997) was an important Acoma potter. Her mother, Jessie Garcia (1910-1999), had re-created the corrugated pottery style found in prehistoric sites throughout the southwest. There are numerous pieces of ancient corrugated pottery in the collections at Mesa Verde National Park, the Anasazi Cultural Center, and the Natural History Museum of Utah. Jessie was the first modern potter to replicate the style.

She encouraged her daughter to follow her lead in making this style of pottery. Stella made this style with a white clay finish. Her style of creating the indentations in the body of the pottery became known as the “fingernail” technique. Jessie outlived Stella, who died two years earlier at 58.

Stella was recognized for her work and artistry during her short life. She demonstrated her art at the Smithsonian and was a regular participant and award winner at the Indian Market in Santa Fe.


This beautiful, large wedding vase by Stella has turtles (decorated with the “fingernail” technique) on each side. Wedding vases were unusual for the artist, so this is unique. The clay is thin and light, even with this technique, as in Acoma pottery custom. Another corrugated pot is my favorite. It is a “feel good” turkey that shows off her sense of humor. Perfect for the Thanksgiving table!


That sense of humor is also seen in the two small pigs that are part of this collection. These female pigs (you can tell by the eyelashes!) are just the thing to bring a smile to your face. Crafted in the traditional style of seed pots, with smooth finishes and exact painting, they are small treasures.


See all Acoma Pottery in the Gallery