Category Archives: Press

Review of ‘Contemporary Flatweave’ by Wence & Sandra Martinez

Tradition is alive (and growing) at Latino Arts

By Kat Minerath
Sep. 22, 2015
Shepherd Express

The gallery is activated by the tapestries moving lightly in the HVAC breeze. They line the walls, accompanied by various studies for finished pieces. In the center of the spacious room, large woven pieces hang from the ceiling like quiet sentries.

“Contemporary Flatweave Rooted in Legacy by Wence & Sandra Martinez” at Latino Arts is an exhibition displaying work from the Martinez studio. Working in collaboration, spouses Wence and Sandra work with their daughter and other family members to produce textiles inspired by Oaxacan weaving traditions. Contemporary pieces form the majority of the exhibition, accented by special examples that illustrate the passing down of craft, such as a blanket woven in the 1940s by Wence’s grandfather.

Read more…Read the rest

Noche de Gala at Latino Arts

The Noche de Gala at Latino Arts was a blast! Guests were greeted by four singing youngsters welcoming us at the door…amazing music all night, from classical from the youth strings program, stunning violin solo, to cumbia and salsa dancing demos and lessons. Food was great, and all of that surrounding our exhibition felt a bit like a big wedding feast! I could have danced all night but I was too busy visiting with everyone. I wanted it to go on forever. Thanks to all involved for including us. Wence and I will be Gala attendees forever more. Great organization and we are honored to have been a small part of an amazing evening. Our show is up through Oct. 14 Mon-Fri 9am-8pm.

Village Collection Debutes!

Reception Saturday, July 25, 2-6pm with short introduction to the works at 4pm.

Love seeing the weaving against stone in this room. Photo courtesy of E. L.

Wence and Sandra Martinez view their roles in a long line of stewards of the Oaxacan weaving legacy as an honor and a privilege. With Wence’s expert mentoring, their daughter, Malena Martinez and son-in-law, Jacobo Martinez debuted as apprentices in 2014, bringing the work full circle, flowing back into the cultural heritage from which it was born.

malenaThe “Village Collection” is based on 14 of Sandra’s latest designs woven by the apprentices of machine spun, Oaxacan wool providing entry level pricing for new collectors. Whether used on the wall or the floor, the work brings warmth to a variety of interiors from urban lofts to cozy bungalows.

“Village Collection” designs are available in a variety of colors and sizes woven by the apprentices. Currently in gold, turquoise, red, soft green, black and cream.… Read the rest

Michael Doerr Exhibits at Martinez Studio

Michael DeorrSandra and Wence are pleased to announce that Michael Doerr of Doerr Woodworking is showing his original handcrafted furniture at Martinez Studio

After a successful collaboration at the Architectural Digest Home Show in New York City, Wence and Sandra invited Michael to be a guest artist at their studio last summer. “We were thrilled with how compatible and complimentary Michael’s work was when shown side by side with our own,” says Sandra.

Michael Doerr began working with wood in the 1970’s as a wooden shipwright’s apprentice studying with Master Ferdinand Nimphius at his boat company. Then he developed his own line of handmade wooden furniture specializing in comfortable chairs. Now, thirty years later, Michael has set up residence in Door County, where he builds furniture, teaches chair construction classes, and has developed a national and international clientele.… Read the rest

Cress III

Martinez Reception at Mr. Helsinki

Cress IIIJoin Sandra and Wence for a closing reception at Mr. Helsinki in Fish Creek on Friday, May 23 from 5-7 pm. Although Wence’s weaving and Sandra’s works on paper have been on display throughout the long winter, they recently added fresh new pieces in anticipation of the festive evening.

“This has been a whirlwind year,” says Sandra. “It’s time to celebrate with our Door County friends!” The show also features wall cabinets and chairs by Michael Doerr of Doerr Woodworking. “Michael has been a friend and inspiration to us throughout our careers,” says Wence. “We’re happy to be sharing space with him for this show.”… Read the rest

Coming Home to Teotitlan del Valle

mexicoMost winters, Sandra and Wence travel to Wence’s home village of Teotitlan del Valle, Oaxaca to spend time with family and enjoy an annual art retreat, where they source and dye wool alongside Wence’s father Cosme. “It’s such a beautiful time,” says Sandra. “ We collect wool that is hand-spun by some of our favorite people, and then dye it using local botanicals.”
One of Sandra and Wence’s favorite colors varies from soft yellow to deep, rich gold, is created with a unique species of lichen. “Small tufts of lichen grow on rocks high on the mountain where we built our house,” explains Sandra. “Wence’s dad has been collecting lichen from his special spots for decades. It takes a huge amount of small tufts to dye a few skeins of wool. We never bleach our yarns first so the natural variations of tone in the original hand-spun remains in the final color.”

Wence also prizes certain types of un-dyed, hand-spun wool in varying shades of cream, tan, brown and grey.… Read the rest

Retablo Red

March News

Retablo RedDear Friends,
We hope this message finds you well and seeing a glimpse of Spring no matter where you are! Our whirlwind year continues as we find ourselves in Oaxaca, Mexico where we are enjoying time spent with family as well as the pleasures of gathering hand-spun wool and dying it ourselves with the help of Wence’s father, and our daughter and son-in-law.

Our family has the rich opportunity to be part of two distinct and special parts of America – Door County, WI and Teotitlan del Valle, Oaxaca. As a blended family, we mbrace our dual heritage and culture with love and gratitude, and offer our artistic work as modern artifacts that reflect what we have become – and are becoming – as artists and as a family.

Please let us know what you think of our newsletter. We cherish your feedback, and look forward to hearing from you.… Read the rest

Martinez Studio Donates Piece to Smithsonian Auction

auctionRecently, Sandra sent a painting to the Smithsonian Craft Show’s OnlineAuction. “As featured artists in the 2013 Smithsonian Craft Show, we are deeply appreciative of this institution and what they do to advance craft in America. We feel privileged to be able to contribute, in some small way, to the success of this amazing show and further acknowledge what the ‘Smithsonian bump’ meant for us personally.”

The donated piece by Sandra titled Vesssels Dot Study, was made as a study for a weaving. It will be auctioned along with items donated by other artists from Smithsonian Craft Shows as well as top tier galleries and museums nationwide. All proceeds support Smithsonian Women’s Committee grants to the Smithsonian. The auction runs from Monday, April 7 to Tuesday, April 22.… Read the rest

To the Smithsonian and Home Again

Door Living 2013

Martinez Studio garners national recognition
Katie Lott Schnorr

smithsonianWence and Sandra Martinez, artistic and marriage partners for 25 years, live and create their tapestries at Martinez Studios near Jacksonport.

In a late spring day, brilliant with green and sunshine, I arrived at the studio/gallery of Wence and Sandra Martinez, set in a small, whitewashed barn on their Jacksonport property. As I wandered the gallery looking at Wence’s distinctive flat-weave designs and Sandra’s abstract, organic images, I could hear the easy hum of the couple’s give and take upstairs in the studio. A few minutes later, they came down the wooden stairs to greet me and we settled into a semi-circle of chairs. As we began to talk, their warmth and enthusiasm spilled over like the May sunshine pouring through the door.

Download the PDF articleRead the rest

Architectural Digest Show

Thank you, Architectural Digest…

There is only one first time…and for our first trade show to be Architectural Digest in Manhattan…well we are still floating a bit.

Michael (Doerr Woodworking) and Bobbi have 30+ years of road show experience and kindly took us under their wings. A natural fit, the four of us had a wonderful time together.

The goal is to return.

(With such wonderful artists all around us… our corner rocked!)

Architectural Digest Show

Our AD/NY/12 adventure was inspiring on every level…

Geared to upscale Interior Designers and full to the brim with talent…we felt grateful and welcomed as a new resource for quality hand crafted work.

Usually folks who come to our studio know a little something about us before we meet. Talking with so many new people was quite a rush and they were so well informed. I wanted that show to go on for another week!… Read the rest

Buffalo Robe Phase VIII

Weaver Takes Traditional Craft Into World of Contemporary Art

By Heather Steinberger December 15, 2011

From Indian Country

Wence Martinez

Since 2008, the prestigious annual Architectural Digest Home Design Show has incorporated a special section—MADE—for artists and designers of limited-edition or one-off art objects and furnishings. These gifted artisans come from all backgrounds and walks of life. When next year’s event opens on March 22 at New York City’s Pier 94, the group will include a master weaver from Oaxaca, Mexico. Wence Martinez, a Zapotec Indian, learned to weave from his father at the age of 9—and in the years since, he has taken the traditional craft to a new level. In Martinez’s hands, weaving becomes contemporary art, at once captivating and startling.

He was born and raised in Teotitlan del Valle, a village of approximately 7,000 people in the mountains of Oaxaca. The village has been celebrated for its textile weaving for centuries, and his extended family still lives and weaves there.… Read the rest


Martinez Studio Announces “The Family Circle Sale” and Lecture

Door County Today

JACKSONPORT, (Aug. 29, 2011) –Since the opening of Martinez Studio in 1994, owners and artists Sandra and Wence Martinez have always found ways to bring along Wence’s family on their artistic adventures – if not literally, at least in spirit. To celebrate the traditional and personal weavings of the family circle, Martinez Studio is pleased to announce a “family sale” and accompanying lecture. The lecture will take place on Saturday, September 3rd at 3 pm at the Martinez’s working studio and gallery on Highway 57, one mile south of Jacksonport, with special pricing running throughout the rest of the fall season.

Wence’s photographs and the couple’s tag-team storytelling will introduce you to the people and region of Oaxaca. Wence was trained in traditional weaving processes by his father and grandfather in Teotitlan de Valle, Mexico, and then went on to study design, French Gobelin weaving techniques and technical wool dyeing at the Taller Nacional de Tapiz in Mexico City.… Read the rest

Neva Sills

Martinez Studio Welcomes Neva Sills for Guest Artist Weekend

Martinez Studio Welcomes Neva Sills for Guest Artist Weekend

Door County Style Magazine

Aug, 2011 by Melissa Ripp

Neva SillsJacksonport’s Martinez Studio is excited to announce that painter Neva Sills will be featured as guest artist for the gallery weekend of Friday, August 12 through Monday, August 15. The reception for the weekend will be held Saturday, August 13, with Sills on hand to speak about her newest works.

Sills’ new painted and drawn collages look to calling cards – the “social media” of the Victorian era – to study the interactions people have with one another as well as the natural world. Borrowing this imagery, Sills’ works show highly-rendered hands holding organic arrangements executed in an array of styles, from brisk charcoal gestures to flattened stencil shapes. Smaller works that appear to be formal exercises in color, shape and form reveal themselves as a further examination of human relationships.… Read the rest


Helsinki’s of Door County Hangs Work of Martinez Studio

Peninsula Pulse

The large-scale tapestry and paintings of featured artist duo Wence and Sandra Martinez will transform the newly painted red walls of Mr. Helsinki Restaurant and Wine Bar from July 1 – August 28.

At Martinez Studio in Jacksonport, Wence produces contemporary tapestries of his and Sandra’s designs. He studied gobelin weaving techniques and wool dying in Mexico City at the Taller Nacional de Tapiz. While his work is modern in design, he maintains the use of traditional two harness “walking” looms, hand-spun wools from his native area in Mexico, and dyes the yarn himself using vegetal and analine dyes.

Sandra’s paintings are done on thin paper using acrylic washes and sumi ink. The works are floated in deep shadow box frames, allowing the paper itself to become an object.

For 30 years the making of a signature glyph imagery has been her way of suggesting how spirit infuses life.… Read the rest

Coming and going at the same time…

I am making a point to pick out random books from the shelves here… to leaf through them…saying goodbye…cursing my bad memory and writing important things down in my journal. Sorting art supplies, detailing out the finished work from a most productive winter…all the while wishing there were just a few more days, weeks to follow a lead in the artwork.

Today we reveled in the smell of rain in the desert mountains…it was 104 degrees, then it rained and even after all these years, i run around sniffing things…is it the dirt, the adobe, the brick, the concrete, the tougher than nails, desert scrub plants? This is a scent, neither Wence nor I have ever encountered anywhere else.   We drink it in.

Missing the squishy ground of Wisconsin springtime, the frogs, the run-off creeks full to the brim…but we’ll be back in a flash…

We hit the door, second week of May, and do some running around before we settle in by Memorial Day weekend…just like many door county seasonal folk.… Read the rest

Effigy Mound Images

The midwest is full of effigy mounds…

A thoughtful friend passed on some maps of effigy mounds in Wisconsin, drawn by Increase Lapham in 1885 for the Smithsonian.

Effigy Mound Images

This is one of the paintings…prints get photographed shortly.

Those images knocked around my head and heart for months, and towards the end of the six month “art retreat” that is our winter in Oaxaca…they came up to the top. I made a series of large paintings on paper using the maps as a way to ground my figures.   The paintings moved into a much dreamed of print project.  Two color silkscreen on plain and finally, painted paper.

I was in heaven, spending days working on them at Asaro Collective’s print studio and gallery in Oaxaca City (Espacio Zapata).  Our young buck art buddies were a joy to spend time with and Line’s knowledge of his medium was invaluable.  Considering the studio equipment, materials  and physical strength required to do silkscreen work, I would never have had the chance without him, and Nero who helped when the larger screens needed two people to pull the print.… Read the rest

Tree Fences

Tree Fences

The floods of October moved a lot of rocks down the ravine that forms the edge of our property. Gifts, in a very real sense, since rocks are essential to building here. The outdoor kitchen patio is cut into the mountain that forms the back of the property. The new rocks will form the final section of a sort of planter that runs the length of that patio. This after the required manual labor of harvesting the rocks from the ravine…Wence and Eddy…they do it all…

Tree Fences

A thousand years ago…okay, maybe 25 years ago, Wence’s father planted these trees along the property line, common practice to mark such things.  Later, when we cut into the mountain, the roots were exposed, but I could not bear to remove them.  so now, Wence and Eddy are finishing up the rock planter we started years ago. … Read the rest

TWW Project

Wence has been buying from and photographing this set of sisters (and the occasional brother) in Chichi for years…They are feisty and very generous.  They do spin, but they also buy up wool from other spinners to sell in quantity when the weavers from Teotitlan show up looking for it…smart.   (Petra and Narcissa)

Wence and his father Cosme, went to Chichicapan early this morning, in search of a variety of colors of undyed wool for the TWW Project.  The piece will be 7×10 feet and only use undyed wools.  These sister spinners (above, Maria and ? ) are from San Pablo Guila, outside of Chichi. We are always hoping they have some yarn spun up and available….this time they did and it is as lovely as it gets.  The warp has been chosen, the wools collected…and now the tedious warping of the monster loom is next.… Read the rest

Sandra and Wence Martinez

Gregariousness and a Green House – Sandra and Wence Martinez

By Melissa Ripp –Peninsula Pulse

Sandra and Wence MartinezI have to say that my reason for wanting to interview Wence and Sandra Martinez were, at first, kind of silly – I simply wanted to meet the artists who had enough guts to paint their home the most delectable shade of spring green. A house, no less, that is perched among the fields and farms of Highway 57 between Jacksonport and Sturgeon Bay. Based on the green house, I had a feeling that I would like them – and their work – immediately. And I was right. Sandra and Wence Martinez are a wonderfully gregarious couple, and this friendliness translates well to the many kinds of mediums this couple uses to create their body of work.

Wence’s birthplace of Teotitlan del Valle, Oaxaca, Mexico is famous for its weaving. “I would say about 80 to 90 percent of my village’s population weaves,” Wence says.

Read the rest

Work of Sandra and Wence Martinez Transformed

“Semillas” and “Vessels” taking shape at Martinez Studio in Jacksonport

Peninsula Pulse
Art enthusiasts who make the trip to the Martinez Studio in Jacksonport this month will have the unique opportunity to see two of Sandra Martinez’s newest paintings come to life in another medium – as weavings on the loom of her husband, master weaver Wence Martinez. “Semillas,” an approximately five-week-long project, is scheduled for completion within days, after which he will start on “Vessels.”

SemillasThe husband-and-wife team have collaborated frequently on artistic projects throughout their years together, but Sandra Martinez said these new projects are particularly thrilling for her.

“Wence and I met and started doing artwork together 20 years ago, and watching him work on ‘Semillas,’ I feel like I did 20 years ago,” she said. “I could watch him for hours and hours…Whenever Wence weaves a piece of mine, it evolves,” she continued.… Read the rest

Weaving lives and work together

Door County home reflects artistic couple’s patterns

Posted: June 3, 2007, JSOnline

After a lot of hard work, Sandra and Wence Martinez find the living is easy these days in a house painted bright green on the outside and adorned with precious icons inside.

The couple also relishes a two-story studio and gallery on the grounds, where Wence weaves one-of-a-kind handspun wool tapestries with intricate patterns and tasteful colors. Here, Sandra also conceives primitive-looking designs for the tapestries and fashions her own line of original vinyl handbags and printed scarves and shawls.

“We spend so much of our creative energy on our artwork that when we come into our home, it’s our den, our nest, and we don’t agonize,” Sandra said. “We just want to be inspired, to look around and feel good about the things that we see.”

Indeed, there’s a lot to view in this two-story, 1,600-square-foot log home in Jacksonport in Door County.… Read the rest


Martinez Studio: Past and Present

Nov. 19 – Dec. 21, 2004

Opening Reception:
Friday,  Nov. 19 5:00 – 7:00 p.m.
Latino Inc. Arts

MARTINEZ STUDIOWence 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, Wence 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. Wence’s tapestries have been exhibited internationally and his commissioned works can be found in many private and corporate collections.

Wence 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.… Read the rest