Julia M. Dendinger | News-Bulletin photos

Diane Martinez, a Bosque Farms artist who won ribbons at the New Mexico State Fair, has begun a new journey in her artistic talents.

In addition to her recent blue ribbons at the New Mexico State Fair, Bosque Farms potter Diane Martinez earned the President’s Award for her Seed Pot, pictured in the foreground, last summer from Red Earth, a non-profit arts organization which promotes traditions of American Indian arts and cultures. In the background is her bead-embellished corn maiden sculpture, which brought home a blue ribbon.

BOSQUE FARMS — After two years, this fall’s New Mexico State Fair had a feeling of normalcy to it, and the feel of success for one Bosque Farms potter.

R. Diane Martinez, known for more than 40 years for her signature, contemporary blackware, brought home 13 blue ribbons for her pottery.

As with everything in the last two years, the arts world has been shut down — no shows, no exhibits, few sales and creators looking for ways to channel their energy.

While Martinez spent a lot of time playing with clay and creating pieces of blackware, she has also experimented with slab construction, incorporating a deer antler into one as well as different embellishments for her signature glossy black vessels.

One piece that brought home a ribbon recently, a corn maiden sculpture, is decorated with thousands of shimmering seed beads, each one placed by hand by Martinez.

At a certain point during the pandemic, her husband raised a white flag, declaring they were “drowning” in pottery and pleaded with Martinez to find other things to make, smaller things.

So she switched to making jewelry. Using plastic, “shrinky dink” material, she created hundreds of necklace and earrings featuring those very “sus” characters from the madly popular online game “Among Us,” dubbed “a party game of teamwork and betrayal.”

She also used the sheet plastic material to create earrings patterned after cattle ear tags, decorating them with pizzazz and designs hearkening back to her husband’s family brand.

In addition to being digitally drubbed by her granddaughters, Martinez became inspired by numerous K-pop artists and began following several K-dramas during the lockdown.

“There was one where this guy played three different roles,” Martinez said.

Intrigued, she began drawing him but was having trouble. Knowing something was off, Martinez posted a draft to Facebook and TikTok asking for feedback. Not realizing the image was of a man, most of the feedback boiled down to it looked like an “ugly girl.”

“But I really appreciated it because nobody was mean about it. It was just honest opinions,” the potter said. “One woman said she appreciated me sharing my ‘artistic journey’ with everybody, because a lot of people think it’s easy, and for a lot of people, it is, but lately for me, it’s been hard.”

As Martinez heads back into the hustle and bustle of art shows across the country, she can say as a potter she is a New Mexico True Certified brand artist. Last spring,  the New Mexico Tourism Department unveiled a refresh of the New Mexico True brand, and since its inception five years ago, the program has quadrupled.

According to the department’s website, the New Mexico True Certified program brings national attention to the quality, care and craftsmanship behind products that are authentically New Mexican, while providing opportunities for businesses of all sizes to integrate the New Mexico True Certified logo at point-of-sale and on packaging, fulfillment and marketing materials.

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Julia M. Dendinger began working at the VCNB in 2006. She covers Valencia County government, Belen Consolidated Schools and the village of Bosque Farms. She is a member of the Society of Professional Journalists Rio Grande chapter’s board of directors.