Creating pottery spiritually awakens me! It brings me closer to my mother who is no longer with us. In relearning what she taught me I find a connection to my mother and our native roots and draw from these when creating. I am inspired by Mother Nature and how I feel spiritually connected to her. My home, Nambe Pueblo, has a beauty that fills my senses and is the perfect place to make pottery.
Traditionally Nambe has created utilitarian wares such as full bodied bean pots and ollas (jars) which are undecorated for the most part and when designed are kept simplistic. There is a beauty in this simplicity as the mica shines in place of decoration. I have truly grown to appreciate the use that they provide. And when I cook in them there is no substitute for the amazing flavor that they give food.
With guidance from Mother Clay, I aspire to take the pottery of my tribe and incorporate Nambe’s beauty. I would like to leave a legacy to my children’s children and hope that they find the beauty of what Mother Clay is through their own hands and in doing so find a connection to their native culture. I feel that I am here to not only as potter, but as a teacher passing on this tradition. So, I work with my community by teaching pottery making methods. My hope is that they find the passion when creating, and with that, keep our traditional pottery making alive.
MARTHA ROMERO – Kwahtenbay
ARTIST BIOGRAPHY: My name is Martha Romero. My Tewa name is Kwahtenbay (Rainbow) and I am from the Pueblo of Nambe. My mother Rose Alice Baca was a creative force. She influenced me in many ways through her artistic modeling of pottery, jewelry making and storytelling. She encouraged us as children to make what we wanted but guided us towards small creations of drums, bears and turtles which she sold under the Portal in Santa Fe.
I followed this artistic path by my love in creating beaded earrings. In 1999 I lost my eldest son to suicide which forever changed my way of thinking and led me to realize that you must take what you are dealt in life and work toward a positive means of living. During the healing I took up writing and it became a great passion of mine. I found joy in creating!
I retired from State Government. During those working years my heart was always called by Mother Clay. I knew without a doubt that I would immerse myself in clay once I had the time needed. For seven years now I have studied with Pottery Masters; Clarence Cruz, Pamela Lujan-Hauer and Michael Bancroft through the Poeh Cultural Center.
I have won First, Second and Third place ribbons at the New Mexico State Fair. In addition, I have shown my work at the SWAIA Indian Market, The Heard Guild Indian Market and the Museum of Indian Arts and Cultural’s Native Treasures Art show.
“Clay Mother has allowed me, as a potter, to gather clay. So, I give respect to her and the land by which I remove the clay. Giving in return and keeping the land as I found it.”
The Traditional Process:
- Hand gathering and processing of mica clay locally;
- Built by hand through coil or pinch pot methods and air dried;
- Sanded with sandstone and sandpaper;
- Coated with three coats of a fine slip (mica clay put through a fine screen to capture more mica flakes);
- Polished with a polishing stone;
- Fired through one of two methods below:
- Oxidation method of firing in a pit outdoors causing smoke clouds or clean fired with no smoke clouds (not allowing wood to hit piece);
- Reduction method of firing outdoors in a metal box with cow manure or sawdust inside causing a smoked black finish.
Native Artist Showcase at Buffalo Thunder Hotel
Every Friday& Saturday from 3:00pm-7:00pm
Santa Fe Indian Market
August 18 & 19th
Downtown Santa Fe
Booth 230 PAL S
Pit Firing Video