Maria Antonia Martinez sparked the come back of Native American pottery. She is San Ildefonso Pueblos Indians, and developed black on black pottery and polychrome reproductions. Her pieces now sell for thousands of dollars. For her part, she has won numerous awards and visited the White House to be honored for her work. She has also received honorary doctorates. Some of her pottery is signed Marie Martinez, as she felt this would be more popular with Wwite buyers.
Family members were involved in painting and other parts of the operation.
Crescensio Martinez was a noted water color artist. He painted the summer and winter dance scenes for a museum. His pieces sold well, and so he painted more. When he married Maximiliana, Maria Antonia's sister, he began decorating pottery of his wife, an accomplished potter in her own right, and that of his sister-in-law.
Julian Martinez became involved in pottery working for an archeological dig. They wanted someone to reproduce pottery based on pieces they were finding. He suggested his wife, and accomplished potter, but she only agreed if Julian would provide the painting. Julian discovered he was an excellent painter. The experimented with firing techniques which produced their trade mark black on black ware.
Popovi Da, Julian and Maria's son has continued the pottery tradition. He opened a shop in San Ildefonso and sold his mother's pottery. He then began to help with the decorating. He developed new types of pottery, sienna ware and black-and-sienna ware. These require complicated firing techniques.
His wife, Santana has also been involved in the family business.