Adam and Santana Martinez

Photo of Adam and Santana Martinez
Adam and Santana Martinez

Santana Roybal Martinez (1909-2002) came from a family of respected potters and painters in San Ildefonso Pueblo. Her grandmother, Dominguita Pino Martinez (1860-1948), was well known for her creative black-on-red jars that she made in different forms. Her grandfather, Santiago Martinez (c.1858), painted Dominguita's pots. Santana's parents were Alfonsita Martinez Roybal (c. 1881) and Juan Esteban Roybal. Alfonsita created polychrome pottery and taught Santana's brother, Alfonso Roybal (Awa Tsireh), to paint her pots. Awa Tsireh became one of the best Pueblo Indian painters of all time. Santana's aunt, Tonita Roybal, was also an excellent potter and painter. The United states Postal Service honored Tonita by picturing one of her red and black pots on a United States postage stamp.

In 1926, Santana married Maria Martinez' oldest son, Adam Martinez (c.1903-2000). Adam and Santana spent the next eight years living with Maria and Julian. Although she already knew pottery making well, she learned Maria's way of working the clay and learned Julian's method of painting. After Julian passed away, Santana worked with Maria painting her pottery for fourteen years from 1943-1956. They made mostly black-on-black pottery and occasionally redware. The signatures on that pottery were either "Marie + Santana" or "Maria + Santana." In 1956, Maria began making pottery with her son, Popovi Da. Santana split off and continued making pottery with Adam. Santana did the potting, painting and polishing while Adam gathered the clay and collected wood and horse manure or cow chips for the firing process. They signed their pottery "Santana + Adam."

Adam died in 2000, Santana in 2002.

Geometric designs on a black on black jar
Black on black jar with geometric designs
3 1/2 in H by 3 1/4 in Dia
Gunmetal black jar undecorated
Undecorated gunmetal black jar
4 1/2 in H by 5 3/4 in Dia
Feather and geometric design on a black on black jar
Black on black jar with feather and geometric design
4 in H by 4 3/4 in Dia
Avanyu design on a black on black plate
Black on black plate with avanyu design
1 3/4 in H by 9 in Dia
Feather design on a black on black jar
Black on black jar with feather design
3 3/4 in H by 5 3/4 in Dia
Kiva step and geometric design on a black on black jar
Black on black jar with kiva step and geometric design
4 in H by 5 3/4 in Dia
circa 1970
Pottery photos courtesy of Andrea Fisher Fine Pottery