Martinez turned art into commerce

y The Garden Island

Editor’s note: This is another in a series of stories on important women in American history, in celebration of March as National Women’s History Month. Information was provided by members of the Kaua‘i County Committee on the Status of Women. For more information, or to inquire about joining the committee, call Pat Hunter-Williams, 639-0888, or the Office of the Mayor, 241-6300.

Maria Martinez (1887-1980) lived all her life in San Ildefonso, an Indian village in New Mexico.

When she was a young girl, she learned how to make coiled pottery from her aunt.

Later she discovered that her ancestors had a special method of baking the clay pots they made to give them a shiny, black finish.

Martinez learned this special method, too, and she taught it to others in her village.

Soon, their work became famous.

The pots made by Martinez and her people are very beautiful, and many people come from all over the world to buy them.

By making and selling this beautiful and unique pottery, the people of San Ildefonso now have a successful business to support the community.

Also, the villagers have learned about their rich heritage and pottery-making traditions.


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