About Xiukuauhtli

My name is Xiukuauhtli, which means She who is the Essence of the Turquoise Eagle. This given name is a reminder of my path, guiding me to connect to my inherent potentials and carry the balance of strength and heart with me everyday.

My name is derived from the Nahuatl language of the Indigenous Mexica / Nahua people of the Native Nations in Mexico. My people are descendants of the Tolteca and the Maya.

The name I was given at birth is Marisa Martinez, which I continue to honor and use as the name for my jewelry business.

Jewelry, Life and Art that connects to a rich, indigenous cultural heritage.

Living a life that is authentic, nurturing, and grounded in culture and tradition moves my soul. Creating pieces of adornment that spark flames and connect hearts through the telling of stories are main goals in my work as a Jewelry designer, Metalsmith, Teacher, and Mentor. The art I create is a reflection of that and it is my hope that you feel this when you acquire a piece made by my hands with my heart. I love to share these vignettes of our beautiful culture and beliefs in my work as a way to continue the story. To celebrate this legacy and to keep some of the most precious parts of our history alive for my children and their children and for yours too. It is a journey that I am on and I invite you to join me.

Classes that inspire creativity, encourage growth through connections and finding beauty in the imperfect.

I believe that art has the power to move people, unite people and heal people. In sharing these values and gifts through teaching and mentoring others, my hope is that people will grow in their creativity, make meaningful connections and be inspired to use the confidence gained in learning throughout all areas of their lives. Sharing this knowledge with others is my offering in gratitude and my way of closing the circle.

My Story

Artist, Teacher/Mentor, Mother

I was born in 1978 to a indigenous migrant worker family in Loveland, CO. I was raised most of my life between cultures by extended family, friends, and foster families. A very rough yet blessed childhood journey led me to Minnesota for college. Hard work, determination and resilience landed me a scholarship to pursue my dreams. Here I studied Art, Spanish and Business at the University of St. Thomas and Saint Kate’s. I came across jewelry making by fate through my dear friend Amanda’s mother, MN Jewelry designer and Artist, Leanne Stremcha.

At that time, as a recently divorced mother of two young boys, and having little resources or help, I especially needed healing, hope and guidance. The gift of a mentorship in jewelry making given to me by Leanne, offered me all of this and more. It has provided a doorway of opportunity. It was a way for me to integrate my love of art, adornment, my culture, and teaching to create a business in which I could provide for my family. It also allowed me the flexibility to be the mother I needed to be to my children, one of whom had been diagnosed with severe special needs.

15 years later, I am thriving in my journey as mother and artist and teacher. In addition to the support of my immediate family, my dear friends and clients, this is in large part to the community of support that I have through my Kalpulli. Kalpulli Yaocenoxtli (Warriors of the first cactus flower) an Indigenous ceremonial dance, drum, and philosophy circle steemed in the Mexica-Nahua traditions and teachings based here in MN. Reconnecting to my roots in this way has allowed me to begin to blossom and stand firmly planted so that I can move forward with confidence on this journey I am on. I am filled with infinite gratitude for all the guides in my life who have taught, inspired, encouraged me along the way. From the Great spirit, to my abuelita who saved me as a baby, to my mother’s adopted family who nourished me later in my childhood, to the various teachers, friends and foster families throughout my teens that encouraged and cheered me on and finally to the amazing mentors and peers and students in my adulthood who never let me give up.

To YOU reading this now, supporting my work. I would not be who I am today without you in my life. This work I get to do is a gift. Sharing it with you all is a huge privilege and I am honored to be able to do it. Thank you for joining me on this journey. 

Light and Love,
~Xiukuauhtli : she who is the essence of the turquoise eagle


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