Mata Ortiz pottery with sgraffito
Mata Ortiz rebirth :
The revitalization of Mata ortiz into a pottery centre is good story. In the 60‘s and 70‘s, with only tribal stories to go on and rediscovered pottery artifacts from the Casa Grandes location, Juan Quezada resurrected the style and ancient techniques of his ancestors pottery. In the process he rescued a village on the cusp of obscurity and put it on a creative trajectory that has now become a thriving pottery district known for the production of original, contemporary folk pottery. There was just enough evidence from the ancient pottery shards to intuit the spirit of the long lost art and rekindle the unique native aesthetics again. Due to the limited information the local artesanos weren’t too encumbered with historical,definitive styles and have successfully developed a post modern adaption of the traditional pottery.
The remote village of Mata Ortiz is on the high plains of Chihuahua in northern Mexico, about 150 miles from the Arizona, New Mexico or Texas borders. The Paquime (or Zuma) native American Indians, a prehistoric culture from the nearby Casa Grandes area, had once been an active pottery production centre for trade in the 13th and 14th centuries.
Juan Quezada holding an ancient pot
Photo by Raechel Running
Mata Ortiz map
In 1976 American anthropologist Spencer MacCallum saw some of Juan Quezada’s pots in New Mexico and decided to track down Juan to source more information about their origin. He ended up teaming up with Juan to promote his art as he recognized a natural talent. This proved to be a fortuitous venture for Mata Ortiz.
Without using a kiln or a pottery wheel, the self taught Juan Quezada began recreating the ancient pots using experimentation with clays from the region and a local tortilla and coil method of assembly which combined with pinch and scrape methodologies for pot construction. After much refinement and innovation, Juan taught his family members and friends how to execute the techniques and Mata Ortiz pottery has flourished since. There are now thousands of potters in the locality creating their traditionally inspired pottery. Mata Ortiz Pottery has become synonymous with a high quality ware of integrity and beauty.
Mata Ortiz Pottery – Lazaro Ozuna Silveira – Sgraffito Olla
Using an essentially organic approach, the Mata Ortiz artists polish their pieces with stones, seeds and bones. Just as they did traditionally, they use coveted clays from the local mountains and pigments mainly of mineral origin, especially the rich oxides, which are collected and ground in their location. They hand paint their pottery using hand made brushes made from human hair. The decoration of the Mata Ortiz pottery forms have evolved to express fluid dynamic interpretations of their traditional patterns and symbols with beautifully refined detail. Combined with their fascinating abstractions and use of space, they have recaptured the spirit of their location and past. The Mata Ortiz artists now see their works more as a fine art then a craft and use sgraffito, cut-outs, vivid colours, refined figurines and surface carving to achieve bold contemporary expression.
Lorenzo Bugarini cradles an extra large pot.
photo – Alison DaRosa
Mata Ortiz Olla
Angel Amaya -Mata Ortiz Seed Pot
Sculpted Olla with wall cut out – Baudel Lopez
Martin Olivas Quintana incised Dragonfly pot
Yin Yang vessel – Diego Valles
Mata Ortiz, Mexico
Jose Quezada wedding vase
Jose Quezada is the eldest son of master potter Nicolas Quezada, pioneer artist of Mata Ortiz, and a nephew of Juan Quezada.
height 11.25 inches
sold at http://www.finepueblopottery.com/
Cindy Perez incised butterfly olla
Diana Loya Mata Ortiz Pottery with fine decorative detail
‘Green Maze’ – Leonel Lopez Jr
Etched olla by Efren Ledezma
15 inch diameter
Nicolas Quezada large olla
Goyin Silveira animal olla
‘Hummingbirds’ – Martin Olivas Quintana
‘Hummingbirds’ – Hector Gallegos
Sgraffito olla – Jesus Olivas Quintana
‘Parrot Olla’ – Pabla Quezada
Hector Gallegos ceramic urn featuring a Quetzalcoatl serpent and Native American feather symbol
Olivia Dominguez Snake Olla
Roberto Olivas sgraffito pot
Nicolas Quezada terracotta olla
Mata Ortiz Pottery, tall- necked small pot by Blanca Quezada
Baudel Lopez polished red pot
Humberto Ponce – Mata Ortiz Wedding Vase
Graphite burnished pot featuring Eli’s trademark fish,birds and geckos
Nancy Heras de Martinez
Roberto Olivas Sgraffito Olla
Leonel Lopez Saenz
Tall olla in non-traditional colours by Cesar Navarrete Ortiz.
Olivia Dominguez – tobacco snake olla
Jose Quezada Olla
Juan Quezada black clay olla
Goyin Silveira– ‘Tarantula Olla’
This pot features dozens of hidden animals and insects that create the complex design…snakes, tarantulas, turtles, birds and macaws, owls, lizards, fish.