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Maria Martinez and the potters of San Ildefonso Pueblo

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... vessels are covered with pieces of tin, and then piled high with cakes of manure. ... Maria Martinez, Black on Black Wedding Vase, 9 x 6 , 1965 ... – PowerPoint PPT presentation

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Title: Maria Martinez and the potters of San Ildefonso Pueblo


1
  • Maria Martinez and the potters of San Ildefonso
    Pueblo

2
  • Maria Martinez was born Maria Montoya in the
    early 1880s, most likely in 1881. She was born
    in the San Ildefonso Pueblo, a community of
    Native Americans in New Mexico near Santa Clara.
    At a young age, Maria learned to make pottery for
    her family. Her pots were simple, undecorated
    wares intended for everyday use.

Maria Martinez and Popovi Da, Jar, feather
design, 1965
3
  • Maria Married Julian Martinez in 1904. Maria sold
    simple, red polished pots on occasion to the
    tourists and traders that came to San Ildefonso.
    In 1908, however, things changed. Julian was
    hired as a laborer on an archeological dig for
    Dr. Edgar Hewett. Dr. Hewett Asked Maria to
    attempt to replicate a pot based on potsherds
    found at the site.

Maria Martinez, Plain Polish Bowl, 2 3/4 x 3 1/4
4
  • Maria replicated the form of the vessel, and
    Julian painted the design on the surface. Maria
    and Julian began to make many more of these
    vessels, and sell them to traders and tourists.

Maria Martinez, Vase, 4 3/4 x 7
5
  • During a regular firing of pots, a number of
    works came out unusual. Several of the works
    were a dark, shiny black. Maria put these pots
    aside, thinking that they were undesirable.

Maria Martinez and Santana, Black Fluted Jar
6
  • Marias Simple, red polished vessels sold well,
    and she did not have any to offer the traders on
    one of their visits. She showed the traders the
    black vessels, thinking that they would not be
    interested. The traders accepted the black pots,
    which sold very quickly.

Maria Martinez, Plain Polish Bowl, 5 ¼ x 8, late
1920s
7
  • Maria and Julian attempted several experiments in
    order to replicate the smoky, black burnished
    effect of the early pots. They found that by
    smothering the fire with finely ground manure
    they were able to reduce the firing, and blacken
    the ware.

Maria Martinez, Plain Polish Bowl
8
  • Maria made the pots in a traditional method
    taught to her by an aunt. She would start by
    harvesting the clay. She would gather the clay
    from areas near the pueblo, and then grind the
    clay into a fine powder. She would then add
    water and sand to the clay, and wedge it into a
    workable consistency.

Maria Martinez, Vase, 4 3/8 x 5 3/8, 1965
9
  • The construction of the coil vessels included
    several steps. Maria would make a flat pancake or
    tortilla of clay, and shape it into a round base.

10
  • She would then build up the walls of the vessel
    with coils of clay, pinching and smoothing them
    into the surface.

Maria Martinez and Santana, Black on Black Bowl,
2 7/8 x 8 3/4
11
  • At several points, thicker, heavier coils were
    added for strength. This includes the transition
    from belly to shoulder, and shoulder to neck. A
    section of dried gourd was used as a rib to
    smooth the work.

Maria Martinez and Santana, Black Fluted Jar, 9
1/2 x 8 1/2
12
  • The pots were then polished with smooth stones
    and oil. Marias sister Clara often assisted
    with the polishing of the vessels. Julian
    painted the polished vessels using slip with a
    yucca brush, often emulating traditional pueblo
    designs

Maria and Julian Martinez, Black on Black Bowl, 4
¾ x 7 ½
13
  • Julian painting the vessels with a slip decoration

14
  • After completion, the pots are allowed to dry for
    several days. The dry pots are placed on an iron
    grate, and cedar kindling is built up around the
    grate. The vessels are covered with pieces of
    tin, and then piled high with cakes of manure.
    The manure serves as fuel for the firing.

Maria Martinez, Black on Black Jar
15
  • Maria stacking her pots on an iron grate to
    prepare for firing.

16
  • Maria and Julian building the fire

17
  • At the end of the firing, the fire is smothered
    with fine manure. This deprives the fire of
    oxygen, and causes a reduction firing. The
    pottery shifts from red to black.

Maria Martinez, Black on Black Wedding Vase, 9 ½
x 6 ¾ , 1965
18
  • Early in their careers as potters, Maria and
    Julian found great success. Their earlier work
    is often small in scale, as they found smaller
    pots to be easier to sell to traders and
    tourists. By 1915, Maria was demonstrating her
    methods at expositions in San Diego. On 1919,
    Julian discovered a technique of applying a satin
    or flat slip to a gloss black surface, giving the
    finish we now often associate with San Ildefonso
    Pueblo pottery.

19
  • In the early 20s, Maria began teaching the art
    of the black on black pottery to other members of
    the pueblo. Many other members of the community
    were able to find financial security through
    pottery, and a new economical stability came to
    the pueblo.

Maria and Julian Martinez, Black on Black Plate,
1942
20
  • In 1925, Maria began to sign her pottery. She
    signed her work Marie instead of Maria. She
    anglicized her name at the suggestion of a white
    trader who was interested in selling her work.

Maria Martinez and Santana, Black on Black Bowl,
2 ½ x 4
21
  • Many of Marias most intricate and stunning works
    were painted and ornamented by her husband,
    Julian. In the winter of 1943, Julian
    disappeared. After four days, his body was found
    a short distance from the pueblo on a hill. He
    had died of natural causes.

Maria Martinez, Feather Plate
22
  • This work, painted by Popovi Da, is decorated
    with the image of the water serpent. This image
    is one that was a favorite of Julian, and
    appeared on many of his works. The plate form is
    not a traditional pueblo vessel, but one that the
    San Ildefonso pueblo adopted to meet demand.

Maria Martinez and Popovi Da, 11 ¾ dia.
23
  • Later in Marias life, her children and
    grandchildren became part of the pottery making
    tradition.
  • Her son, Popovi Da, often decorated and painted
    vessels. Her granddaughter, Santana, also became
    a very skilled potter.

Maria Martinez and Popovi Da, Black on Black
Bowl, 4 1/2 x 5 3/4,
24
  • In the 1920s, Maria and Julian Martinez sold
    their work for a dollar and a half to three
    dollars per work. Today, it is common to see
    prices ranging from ten to twenty thousand
    dollars for a single vessel.

25
  • Maria Martinez was the leading force in a revival
    of traditional pottery making blended with a
    contemporary understanding of supply and demand.
    Marias hard work and selfless attitude created a
    strong livelihood for many members of her
    community, and maintained the traditions of her
    ancestors.

26
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