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Adam & Santana Martinez

Adam & Santana Martinez

CARRYING THE TRADITION FORWARD

Honored June, 1996

Adam & Santana Martinez

Adam’s mother was the late Maria Martinez who is perhaps the best known of all pueblo Indian potters.  She brought fame to San Ildefonso pueblo in the early 1920’s when, inspired by potsherds unearthed at archaeological digs, she developed her distinctive matte-on-black pottery.  Adam learned from his mother and continues the tradition creating exquisite black pottery pieces and graceful bear fetishes.  He is also known for his musical talent singing and drumming at age 90 for pueblo visitors.  Santana Roybal Martinez, Adam’s wife for 67 years, was also encouraged in the family’s pottery creation and further developed by Maria and Julian.  For many years she decorated Maria’s pottery and is now a nationally acclaimed artist in her own right.  They are potters who have been continuing the tradition of the old ways and have spent much of their lives teaching others so the tradition is carried on in future generations.  The development of pottery-making, salable to outsiders, into a full-time industry was of major economic importance to the pueblo as a whole.


Barbara Gonzales, the Martinez’s grand-daughter, said American Indian culture does not permit her to boast of the accomplishments of her grandparents, but their art will live on long after they are gone, just like that of Maria Martinez.