Early in her career, Maria Martinez was recognized as an exceptional potter. She soon began to develop a following in the nearby community of Santa Fe. As her contact with the non-Pueblo world grew, so too did her reputation as an artist.
Edgar Lee Hewett recognized her talent as a potter. After the founding of the Museum of New Mexico, he and Kenneth Chapman drew upon her expertise in their research of the prehistoric Southwest. They and other like-minded individuals encouraged her and provided opportunities for Maria to earn a living from her craft. As she developed as an artist, she and her husband Julian traveled outside of New Mexico and demonstrated at fairs and expositions throughout the country.