Maria Martinez was born in 1887, to Tomas Montoya and Reyes Pena. She also had four siblings. She comes from a Native American heritage, and is shown in her works. In the early 20th century Maria moved West and married her husband, JualIan Martinez. Her family didn't support her dession to marry Jualian. Her husband contributed to helping her in her art quite a bit. Jualian who painted all of Maria's pottery, as well gathered all of the clay for her. They continued to live a calm life until Maria's death in 1889.
Contributions to Ceramics
Maria used a traditional black on black way of firing her pottery. In 93 years of being a ceramicists she saw many things change. Maria was not only the most famous of potters. She is still considered one of the greatest potters in the world. Maria was just one of many traditional women of San Ildefonso who made good pottery.
Style in Ceramics
Maria and her husband world first pray for the gods to produce clay. Followed by gathering all of the necessary materials, no more than what is needed. Maria will then craft the clay using water, sand, and soil. Than makes the pottery by crafting the bottom than adding coils to make the structure taller. She has tools made from gourds, and uses them to shape her pieces. Maria would sand her art, only later in her life she did this. The firing process is long. The process will include an outdoor flame at very high temperature.