Maria Martinez’s open-source earthenware

This newstory gives the background to the revitalization of Pueblo traditional pottery styles in the early to mid-20th century. Kathy Sanchez and her sister were colleagues in the HazArt study of potential occupational hazards. | Environment, Safety, and Health (ES&H) of Traditional Indian Artisans and Craftspeople Project (HazArt) |

Maria Martinez… drew no lines between art, community, and reverence for life…. According to Vernon G. Lujan, the director of the Poeh Museum in Pojoaque, N.M., which is devoted primarily to Pueblo art, Martinez spearheaded a revival of the Pueblo tradition of familial collaboration. Her art, he said, could not be separated from who she was as a woman, mother, wife, and lifelong community resident.

Martinez’s great-granddaughter Kathy Wan Woe Povi Sanchez recalls the ways in which her ancestor transmitted cultural values…. Sanchez is a potter who seeks to live her life in her great-grandmother’s footsteps. Defining herself as an activist (she is also co-director of Tewa Women United), she sees environmental protection as part and parcel of making pottery. “I etch or paint my pottery with stories of caring for Mother Earth,” she said. “When I’m at Indian Market, I tell people the stories. It’s an opportunity to speak the truth about the air, the water, and the earth.”

Lujan explained, “Without a doubt they revived a unique Tewa way of firing at zero oxidation that had gone out of existence. At a certain point in the firing they smothered the pot with cow dung and let it bake and smoke for several hours.

by Soledad Santiago, The New Mexican, August 18, 2006

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