Sunday, September 8, 2013

Day 251 — San Ildefonso

As a ceramics major in Melbourne, Australia (Hey! It was the 70s!) I discovered the work of Maria Martinez in the pueblo of San Ildsefonso in Santa Fe. One day in 1908 Julian Martinez excavated some very old shards of pottery from his pueblo area while assisting an archeological group. They were pieces of pottery that had been highly burnished to an almost glaze-like level then painting a clay slip decoration before firing them in a pit to produce a heavy reduction firing (no oxygen), which turned the local clay black. The black on black ceramics from hundreds of years ago had been resurrected and handsomely continued by the Martinez family to this day. Maria's work is in most museums containing native american collections. These, from left to right are by Maria and her husband Julian,  The middle dish is by Maria and her daughter-in-law Santana; as is the dish on the right. The bottom two stylized seed pots are by her great grandchild Marvin Martinez and his wife Frances. I consider them to be the greatest exponents of the technique and they deliver a very high degree of execution. I purchased all of these gems on my first trip to Santa Fe in the 90s. I was in heaven and continue to admire their innovative design and techniques.

Nikon D7000 (Nikkor 50mm, 1.4) 1/1250, f5.6, ISO 100