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Martinez Studio: Past and Present

Orange Background with Logo Watermark - Latino Arts

Martinez Studio: Past and Present

By Wence Martinez and Sandra Martinez | November, 2005

Wence Martinez, a full-blooded Zapotec Indian, is a master weaver of wool tapestry. More than 2000 years ago, in the ancient village of Teotitlan del Valle in the southeastern state of Oaxaca, Mexico, villagers began to weave. Today, Martinez continues the traditions of his native people with his own designs. Immensely proud of his heritage, he uses traditional looms made in Oaxaca, along with hand spun/hand dyed wool to weave his original contemporary and traditional designs into museum quality tapestries for the floor or wall. Martinez's tapestries have been exhibited internationally and his commissioned works can be found in many private and corporate collections. Martinez began to weave when he was nine years old, learning from his father and grandfather. At the age of 13, he was awarded a scholarship to do advanced studies in dyeing and weaving techniques at the Taller Nacional de Tapiz in Mexico City. His work not only reflects the influence of his Zapotec tribe's traditional designs, but North American Indian, Persian, and Turkish elements as well.

Sandra Martinez has been exploring a range of art forms for over 25 years. Her interests lie in creating symbols, working with primitive and symbolic imagery and fashioning functional art for the home and wearable art for women adorned with her signature glyphs. Martinez's original meditative symbols are connected with ancient Taoist graphic art dating back to the early 12th century. They are woven into Wence Martinez's tapestries and on handmade, one-of-a-kind scarves, shawls, handbags, and pillows. Martinez settled in Door County in 1987 after producing and exhibiting her work in Milwaukee, Green Bay, Minneapolis and Chicago. Partners in life and art, the exhibit features work not only from their own Martinez Studio, but also pieces on loan from collectors. The exhibit also features Wence Martinez's black and white photography chronicling the people of his native Oaxaca, allowing the viewer a glimpse into the beauty of his ancient village.