Marvin, of San Ildefonso Pueblo and his wife Frances Martinez, originally of the Santa Clara Pueblo where potters are known for their fine polishing work, create pottery together. In general, Marvin and Frances share the duty of making the pottery with Frances coiling and polishing the red clay prior to firing. Next, Marvin paints the intricate and beautiful designs on the pots and they are fired. Marvin is quick to say that while he learned a great deal about life from his great-grandmother Maria Martinez, it was Maria's son Adam and his wife Santana Martinez that taught him what he knows about making pottery. Now deceased, they were pottery stars in their own right and often lived in the shadow of Maria and Julian. He honors Adam and Santana wholeheartedly because they were the people who raised him.
Marvin and Frances work in the traditional matte black-on-black designs of his grandparents and great-grandparents. Using clay gathered from pueblo land and hand-processed at home, they then hand-coil their pots, stone polish them, decorate them with designs in bee-weed and fire their pots outdoors. Marvin is known for his depictions of the Avanyu, the water serpent, which his great-grandfather Julian Martinez made famous. He occasionally varies by adding rain coming down from the clouds in the Avanyu design, as well as altering the teeth of the serpent.
They sign their work "Marvin & Frances Martinez, San Ildefonso".