Martha Appleleaf is the daughter of the noted Carmelita Dunlap and the great-niece of the legendary Maria Martinez.
Those genes have served her well, as she, and her son, Erik Fender, have amassed a slew of awards, each, for their pottery and are each acclaimed potters.
This lovely bowl is typical of Martha’s impeccable and creative pottery: traditional, with artistic and individual touches.
The bowl has perfect proportions, and the gorgeous, “patent leather”, glossy finish that is one of her hallmarks.
Gracefully scalloped, the rim is lyrically beautiful; the dips and hollows seem to reinforce the shine of the gleaming, stone-polished finish.
Inside, a surprise: the entire interior is covered in a natural, micaceous clay slip that sparkles like the stars in far-off space – or, the glitter of water in the moonlight.
Both the wavy rim and the glistening interior evoke water, which is a powerful symbol of good luck.
However, NEVER put water in this bowl, unless you want a mound of black mud!
Let its symbolism and impeccable fabrication shine, alone.
Needless to say, the bowl is entirely traditional, from gathering the clay to mixing, coiling, smoothing, stone-polishing, “painting” with the micaceous slip, and pit firing.
Martha Appleleaf was the first recipient of a prestigious, new award, at Santa Fe Indian Market: the Traditional Pueblo Pottery award, which “recognizes excellence in a legacy art form”.
Well-deserved, Martha’s pottery continues the historic legacy of her great-aunt Maria and family, with touches of artistic and material innovation that keep that legacy relevant, fresh, and alive.
This outstandingly beautiful bowl is a superb example.