Margaret Tafoya (1904-2001) is considered to be one of the most prolific and influential potters of the Santa Clara Pueblo. Her use of traditional shapes, clay and practices were an inspiration to her family, most of whom went on to become potters. She was an artist with clay, but to her the act of creating a vessel was a spiritual connection to the earth. It was her commitment to excellence that won her awards in 1978 and 1979 at the Santa Fe Indian Market. Margaret's signature vessels were enormous compared to most Pueblo pottery, thus making her style distinctive from other Pueblos, but staying very close to Santa Clara utilitarian traditions.
Charles King explores Margaret's work in his book "Born of Fire: The Life and Pottery of Margaret Tafoya." In that book he writes: "The pottery of Margaret Tafoya is transcendent. It bridges the gap between the present-day viewer and the past, giving momentary insight into the Pueblo culture while providing an aesthetic elegance for the eye. He rlong career followed the evolution of contemporary Pueblo pottery from utilitarian craft to folk art and finally to fine art... Today, Margaret's pottery continues to be viewed as among the most dynamic and formidable of the past century. Each piece remains an iconic testament to her strength and commitment to the values of family, clay, culture and religion, all of which kept her focused and determined for a lifetime."