Work of Sandra and Wence Martinez Transformed

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.”

The 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.

With a smile, Wence added, “It’s fun.”

Door County visitors and residents who stopped at the Fairfield Art Center earlier this season will remember the paintings, which were prominently featured in the exhibition “Wence & Sandra Martinez: Presence.” They were part of a large body of new work Sandra created this past winter in Teotitlan del Valle, Wence’s home village in Oaxaca, Mexico. The couple often spends the winter offseason in the village, working on their art, visiting neighboring households to select yarn for new weavings and building a bed-and-breakfast that also will serve as an artist’s retreat. They return to Door County in the spring.

After the exhibition at the Fairfield, the couple looked forward to seeing Sandra’s paintings reborn on the loom. Wence Martinez has been weaving for more than three decades, and he has garnered international recognition for his one-of-a-kind artwork that carries on the Zapotec legacy by using hand-spun, hand-dyed wool. He weaves his original contemporary and traditional designs into museum-quality tapestries for the floor or wall.

While some of the “Presence” paintings will evolve into weavings, others will become patterns on Sandra’s renowned functional and wearable-art design projects. The most popular of these are her handbags.

“Functional art is a passion for me, since it allows me to enjoy art with a light heart,” she said. “I love to play with the combinations of symbol appliqué, vintage fabrics and vinyl, so the bags turn out to be one-of-a-kind. I think of them as sculptural containers.”

Sandra also is developing a series of “shoppers.”

In addition, the Martinez Studio has unveiled a new Web site at, and they are eagerly anticipating another Oaxacan art retreat in Teotitlan del Valle this winter.

“Every spring, the public should expect a new batch of work from us,” Wence said of the offseason, lower-latitude retreats. “This is just the beginning for us.”

The Martinez Studio is located 10 miles north of Sturgeon Bay and two miles south of Jacksonport on Highway 42. The gallery is open 10 am – 5 pm daily from May to October or by appointment. For more information call 920.823.2154 or visit