Martha Romero


Martha Romero (Nambé) is a teacher, micaceous clay artist, and community sharer.


Tribal Affiliations:

Artwork Affiliations:

Martha chose the following for the Grounded in Clay exhibit:

Hopi canteen

Hopi canteen
c. 1880
13 x 12 in. (33 x 30.5 cm) SAR.1984-4-3
Collection School for Advanced Research

Giver of Life and Unity

All things have a purpose on this earth. For this water vessel, it is to give us life and to connect our spirits to one another.

Sitting in the lap of Mother Earth, the potter prays to Grandmother Clay to guide her. Grandmother Clay leads the hands of the potter with favor of a compassionate heart.

Flattened bottoms lift to piles of earthen clay. Mounds of bellies swell and rise to meet Father Sun. It becomes a vessel for generations; a water canteen to travel from village to village.

And then, a firing, to set in rich, deep-rust fire clouds. Signs from our ancestors.
“Cloud shapes,” Grandmother says, “are dreams.”

The dreams that emerge from the fire clouds are like the clouds in the sky.

“And as I sat with the vessel, its clouds filled me with stories.”

Ancients …
Can you see the woman sitting in prayer for an abundance of corn? Or the rabbit that just got away from Mr. Fox and sits proudly on its curve? Is that the handprint of the Creator letting us know he touched this life-giver?
Can you see the man reaching to the Creator in thanks for the day’s beauty as a river flows below? Is it the sun or the moon that calls us out?
There goes Avanyu, swimming gently across the water vessel, as he has done time and time again.

“This canteen has much energy that calls me away from all else.” From above the canteen are signs of the earth as a whole.

Ancients …
Can you see the man with a staffon a boat,
heading to his hunting ground? Or the small,
happy dog floating in a sky filled with stars?

This pot has survived generations of families. It has sat among feasts of squash and dried buffalo.

It is these generations who have stored the water of all of life and then carried it to share … near the rim, rising with it, come shining water streams to nourish us all.

Reaching, drinking, breathing, and sharing their own fire-cloud stories. From one to another: brother, sister, mother, father, relative, and friend. Here our spirits meet in joy and meaning!



Note from SAR: This canteen was deemed too fragile to travel in the exhibition. A similar canteen traveled in place of, and held space for, this canteen instead.