Storytellers & Figurines
Storytellers were originally created by Cochiti artist Helen Cordero in 1964. Originally, she created female figures with children in their arms and called these dolls “Singing Mothers”. They quickly gained in popularity and many other artists in Cochiti started making them as well. Helen eventually made a male figure, modeled after her Grandfather, Santiago Quintana, with children clinging to his back and in his lap. The doll had an open mouth as he was telling stories to the children. Helen believed a male doll was more appropriate, as males were traditionally the storytellers in her tribe. As time went on, more and more artists started making their own storyteller dolls, each adapting their own unique style and implementing their own beliefs based on their heritage. Today, the term storyteller refers to any human or animal figure that is covered with smaller children or animals. They have become one of the most collectible and sought after forms of clay art. Among the most notable artists making storytellers today are Carol Lucero Gachupin, Mary Lucero, Linda Fragua and Chrislyn Fragua of Jemez Pueblo and Stella Teller of Isleta Pueblo. Judy Lewis and Joyce Lucero of Acoma Pueblo have also created some incredibly intricate and collectible pieces.