Water Serpent Bowl

Martha Appleleaf


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Martha’s great-aunt was the world-famous Maria Martinez, who rediscovered the technique of traditional San Ildefonso black pottery, over a century ago.

Her mother was the prominent potter Carmelita Dunlap, and Martha has established her own exceptional reputation for fine pottery.

She herself, is celebrated for the brilliant polish of her work, and the traditional designs associated with her family as seen here.

A dramatic, precisely defined, Avanyu ( Water Serpent) winds around the center of the bowl.

This symbol of good luck is beautifully polished, in contrast to the matte, beige clay slip around it.

The plain, gleaming band below it accentuates the well formed shape of the pot.

Above, around the neck, the red clay is micaceous, so there are subtle sparks in it.

There are lightly incised and painted water symbols on this band, as well.

When working in red pottery, there is no chance to hide any little flaw, and there isn’t any – everything is as perfect as the stone polish.

The form, the design, and the techniques used in creating this handsome piece, are as traditional as those used by her revered great-aunt, Maria.

Tradition lives on, beautifully, in another generation of this gifted family.





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