Trail Dust: Teen-age memories of San Ildefonso potter María Martínez – The Santa Fe New Mexican.

This year marks the 64th anniversary of the publication of the now classic biography María, The Potter of San Ildefonso by author Alice Marriott. So beloved is the book, it has been reprinted more than 15 times.

I was in my teens back in East Texas when I first discovered Marriott’s work and became captivated by María Martínez’s story and the history of the Pueblo people in general.

At a discussion around the family dinner table as to our upcoming vacation destination, I made a strong pitch for Northern New Mexico. And won!

By mid-July 1953, my parents, younger brother and myself were in Santa Fe. At my insistence, we were soon on the road north, headed for San Ildefonso Pueblo.

Upon arrival, a resident pointed us to a small adobe gift shop on the west end of the plaza, operated by the Martínez family.

That day, Maria’s daughter-in-law Santana was behind the counter. As she was wrapping my purchase of two black pots — a small one by María with her trademark signature on the bottom ($8) and a second, larger one, signed “Santana” ($4), I asked whether it would be possible to meet her mother-in-law.