Teller Family – Stella, Robin, Chris, Mona and Lynette Teller
Natural grays and browns combined with accent necklaces made of tiny bits of turquoise are the hallmarks of pottery figurines made by the Teller family. Stella Teller’s recipe for clay preparation, polishing, and painting is punctuated with liberal amounts of time. There are no shortcuts. Her celerity and dexterity are aptly demonstrated in all of her pottery creations.
The tools that Stella uses do not come from a craft store. She once heated a kitchen knife on the stove to bend into shape for scraping. She uses a mellon baller for carving and a needle for fine lines.
Stella Teller has earned recognition for the excellence of her pottery creations in numerous juried art shows and by museums. The largest storyteller made by Stella can be seen in the permanent art collection at the Albuquerque International Airport. Closer to Chicago, her work can be seen at the Schingothie Center in Aurora and at the Mitchell Indian Museum in Evanston. One of Stella’s effigy Turtle Jars is among a traveling collection of the Smithsonian Institution which has been on tour for nearly 6 years.
Stella does not take short cuts to streamline the process of clay preparation, polishing or painting. She has developed seven standard slips for use on her pottery with color variations achieved by diluting or mixing the elements of clay, mineral and vegetal matter to achieve the right hue. Her great-grandmother’s river stone is used to rub against the highly refined slip and oils to create a smooth, shinny finish. Traditional firing of pots is done outside with wood and cow dung.
Stella has encouraged her four daughters to express their own passions and feelings through clay and collectors should take note that Stella and her daughters are presently the only Isleta Pueblo potters making storytellers from scratch. The quality and uniqueness of their work can be seen in their figures of humans, bears, turtles, mudheads, and other animal. Demand for the Teller family pottery is high because of its intrinsic beauty and the recognition of its premier quality and exceptional diversity of design.