Shaped By Her Hands tells the story of Maria Martinez, a world-renowned American Indian potter. This was my debut picture book as an illustrator, and I also designed the book myself. I see this book as a culmination of thorough research, deep respect for Maria’s Pueblo roots, years of self-taught art education, and a long-held commitment to diversity in children’s literature. All pottery and patterns depicted in the book are based off of Maria Martinez’s actual pottery. As a special design touch, I applied spot UV to the patterns on the pottery on the cover, so that they mimic the metallic glaze Maria achieved in her famous black-on-black pottery. 

Shaped By Her Hands: Potter Maria Martinez
Written by Anna Harber Freeman and Barbara Gonzales
Illustrated and designed by Aphelandra
Published by Albert Whitman & Company
Praise for Shaped By Her Hands
⭐ “Aphelandra, who has Oneida heritage, paints with the hues of the Rio Grande’s turquoise waters, orange pottery fires, pink sandstone sunsets, and the obsidian black clay of Maria’s pots; the result is earthy and elemental, containing the spirit of the New Mexican landscape…A deserved celebration of a famous Tewa potter who elevated her craft to fine art.” —Kirkus starred review
⭐ “Soft, colorful illustrations provide a sense of warmth and pay tribute to her lasting impact on her community and the world...Through masterful storytelling and graceful illustrations, this impactful title embodies Maria Povika Martinez’s famous words: ‘The Great Spirit gave me [hands] that work...but not for myself, for all Tewa people.’” —School Library Journal starred review
“Aphelandra adds vibrant, subtly textured spreads to this profile of an arts pioneer.” —Publishers Weekly