Martha Appleleaf Fender learned to make pottery from her mother, Carmelita Vigil Dunlap. Her brother, Carlos Dunlap, and sisters Linda Duplap and Jeannie Mountain Flower Dunlap are also well-known pottery. Her son, Erik Fender, continues the family tradition of making pottery. As a child Martha would watch her aunts, Maria Martinez and Desideria Montoya make pottery. During her early years, she experimented, making green on red pots like her uncle, Tsa-Pe, and cream on red pots like her other uncle, Albert Vigil.