Vickie Martinez “Koe-Sawe”, Buffalo Steps, was born into the Pueblo of Santa Clara-Tewa in 1967. Vickie was inspired to continue her ancestors’ long lived tradition of working with clay from her Mother, Barbara Martinez. She has been making pottery since 1983, when she was 15 years old.
Vickie was taught to pot by her grandmother, Flora Naranjo and her mother, Barbara Martinez. Some years ago she dated Stella Chavarria’s son and both Stella and Teresita Naranjo encouraged her to improve and take her pottery more seriously. The results are evident.
Vickie specializes in the traditional handmade black and red Santa Clara pottery. She gathers her own natural clay from the hills within the Santa Clara Pueblo.
Vickie cleans, mixes, hand coils, shapes, carves, fires, and then polishes her pottery the traditional way. Vickie was quoted as saying: “I find carving a very challenging and rewarding experience, which I am enjoying thoroughly.”
Like all good Santa Clara pottery, the high gloss on her pots is achieved by polishing the surface with a smooth stone -- a very tedious process. Three and sometimes as many as five layers of slip are applied to the smooth dried work, allowing time between coats to dry, and then followed by a lubricating coat of animal fat. The fat serves two purposes: one, it allows the stone to slide smoothly over the surface, and two, it keeps the slip damp. Polishing stones are highly treasured and usually passed on to descendants.
Vickie signs her pottery as: Vickie Martinez, Santa Clara Pueblo. She is related to the following artists: Barbara Martinez (mother), Glenda Naranjo, Frances Salazar (aunts), Sammy Naranjo, Chris Marinez, and Manuel Martinez (brothers).