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Barbara Gonzales, Tahn-Moo-Whé (Sunbeam), eldest great-granddaughter of Maria & Julian Martinez, is known for her signature Swish Pots and intricately incised black and red pieces, as well as polychrome pieces utilizing the recurring motif of a spider, symbolizing good luck.

A serious potter for over forty years, Barbara has been making pottery since her early childhood, at which time she was living with Maria, who introduced her to clay.

Barbara’s first step into the international light as part of the Maria Family came in 1978, at the Renwick Gallery, Maria Martinez: Five Generations of Potters Exhibition. At the time Barbara was an aspiring young potter, who had recently adopted the spider as a recurring motif in her pieces, while also perfected what was quickly becoming her signature piece, the lucky swish pot.

In the early 1980’s, Barbara began intentionally assigning gender to her design elements, in the form of Turquoise inlays denoting masculinity & Coral inlays denoting femininity. This idea over the years has integrated itself into the larger picture of Native American Art.

Barbara’s proactive participation in the community of San Ildefonso, and her involvement with other parts of Native America, has extended her reputation well beyond her art and into diverse public service positions on the Tribal, City, County, and State levels.

Barbara has and continues to lecture at museums and cultural events across the country, while also making time to write as a freelancer.

  • Barbara Gonzales
  • (505) 455-7202
  • Stop 15 - Sunbeam Arts, 22-A Ko Pin- Po, San Ildefofonso Pueblo