Adam and
Santana Martinez

San Ildefonso
Stylized rooster design on a black on black plate

Adam Martinez (1903-2000) was Julian and Maria Martinez oldest son. He grew up in a home full of highly respected potters but he was never interested beyond helping Julian gather and process clay and collect firewood and manure for the firings.

Santana Roybal (1909-2002) was born into a different family of well-known San Ildefonso potters and painters and she grew up learning to make pots from her grandmother, Dominguita Pino Martinez. She and Adam were married in 1926 and they lived in his parents home for the next 8 years. During that time Santana learned Maria's way of making pots and Julian's methods of painting them.

After Julian passed away in 1943, Adam and Santana dedicated themselves to helping Maria continue with her business. Adam took over his father's duties with gathering and processing clay and firing pots while Santana worked with Maria making pots and painting them. The signature on most of Maria's pottery made through those years (1943-1956) reads "Marie + Santana".

In 1956 Maria began working with her youngest son, Popovi Da, and Adam and Santana graduated to making pots on their own. Their signature became "Santana + Adam" and they were participants every year at the SWAIA Santa Fe Indian Market from 1970 to 1999, winning several 1st, 2nd and 3rd Place ribbons plus Best of Class and Best of Division. In 1981 they earned the "Maria Poveka Award for Best Traditional San Ildefonso Pottery."

Adam and Santana had seven children and they taught many of them how to make pottery the traditional way.

100 West San Francisco Street, Santa Fe, New Mexico 87501
(505) 986-1234
All Rights Reserved

100 West San Francisco Street, Santa Fe, New Mexico 87501
(505) 986-1234 - - All Rights Reserved


San Ildefonso Pueblo

Sacred Black Mesa
Black Mesa at San Ildefonso Pueblo

San Ildefonso Pueblo is located about twenty miles northwest of Santa Fe, New Mexico, mostly on the eastern bank of the Rio Grande. Although their ancestry has been traced as far back as abandoned pueblos in the Mesa Verde area in southwestern Colorado, the most recent ancestral home of the people of San Ildefonso is in the area of Bandelier National Monument, the prehistoric villages of Tyuonyi, Otowi, Navawi and Tsankawi specifically. The area of Tsankawi abuts the reservation on its northwest side.

The San Ildefonso name was given to the village in 1617 when a mission church was established. Before then the village was called Powhoge, "where the water cuts through" (in Tewa). Today's pueblo was established as long ago as the 1300's and when the Spanish arrived in 1540 they estimated the village population at about 2,000.

That village mission was destroyed during the Pueblo Revolt of 1680 and when Don Diego de Vargas returned to reclaim the San Ildefonso area in 1694, he found virtually the entire tribe on top of nearby Black Mesa. After an extended siege the two sides negotiated a treaty and the people returned to their village. However, the next 250 years were not good for them. Finally, the Spanish swine flu pandemic of 1918 reduced the tribe's population to about 90. The tribe's population has increased to more than 600 today but the only economic activity available for most on the pueblo involves the creation of art in one form or another. The only other jobs are off-pueblo. San Ildefonso's population is small compared to neighboring Santa Clara Pueblo, but the pueblo maintains its own religious traditions and ceremonial feast days.

San Ildefonso has produced fine ceramic art since early pre-Columbian times. The pueblo is most known for being the home of the most famous Pueblo Indian potter, Maria Martinez. Many other excellent potters have produced quality pottery from this pueblo, too, among them: Blue Corn, Tonita and Juan Roybal, Dora Tse Pe and Rose Gonzales. Of course the descendants of Maria Martinez are still important pillars of San Ildefonso's pottery tradition. Maria's influence reached far and wide, so far and wide that even Juan Quezada, founder of the Mata Ortiz pottery renaissance in Chihuahua, Mexico, came to San Ildefonso to learn from her.

San Ildefonso Pueblo location map

For more info:
at Wikipedia
official website
Pueblos of the Rio Grande, by Daniel Gibson
Photo is in the public domain

100 West San Francisco Street, Santa Fe, New Mexico 87501
(505) 986-1234 - - All Rights Reserved