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Maria Martinez (artist)



Maria Martinez was a Tewa potter from the San Ildefonso Pueblo. Tewa potters often taught their younger family members traditional pottery techniques. Martinez taught and worked with many of her relatives during her lifetime. Martinez and her husband, Julian, revived the traditional technique for creating all-black pottery and refined the process to become a fine art form.

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Maria Poveka Montoya Martinez (c. 1887 – July 20, 1980) was a Puebloan artist who created internationally known pottery. Martinez (born Maria Poveka Montoya), her husband Julian, and other family members, including her son Popovi Da, examined traditional Pueblo pottery styles and techniques to create pieces which reflect the Pueblo people's legacy of fine artwork and crafts. The works of Maria Martinez, and especially her black ware pottery, are in the collections of many museums, including the Smithsonian, the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Denver Art Museum, and more. The Penn Museum in Philadelphia holds eight vessels – three plates and five jars – signed either "Marie" or "Marie & Julian". Maria Martinez was from the San Ildefonso Pueblo, a community located 20 miles northwest of Santa Fe, New Mexico. At an early age, she learned pottery skills from her aunt and recalls this "learning by seeing" starting at age eleven, as she watched her aunt, grandmother, and father's cousin work on their pottery during the 1890s. During this time, Spanish tinware and Anglo enamelware had become readily available in the Southwestern United States, making the creation of traditional cooking and serving pots less necessary. Traditional pottery-making techniques were becoming less common, but Martinez and her family experimented with different techniques and helped preserve the cultural art.: 62–63