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Blair Howell | profile | all galleries >> Mata Ortiz Pottery in the process...... tree view | thumbnails | slideshow

Mata Ortiz Pottery in the process......

In the high desert of northern Chihuahua, Mexico at the end of a long dirt road lies the sleepy village of Mata Ortiz. Although it doesn't look like it there is a revolution going on here, but it is an artwork revolution not one of guns.It is La Lucha de Barro (the fight with the clay) This Revolution was started by a man named Juan Quezada.

Juan Quezada grew up here. He always loved art and on wandering in the mountains surrounding Mata Ortiz as a child he found the shards and every so often whole pots made by ancient potters of the Casas Grandes culture. This culture was centered in the same valley in which Mata Ortiz lies at the pueblo known today as Paquime. Juan believed that if the Ancient ones could make beautiful pottery he should be able to also. He set out trying to find sources of clay in the mountains. From this native clay he taught himself to form an olla he rediscovered temper by looking at the ancient shards. step by step he taught himself every step of the process: Mining the clay, refining it, building the olla, polishing it, painting it (with home made pigments) even firing the clay using cottonwood bark or cow dung. Today Juan's Ollas fetch thousands of dollars in Galleries through out the world but the village is full of talented potters all using Juan's technique of hand building (it differs from the technique used by American Indian potters in that only one large coil is used rather than many small coils. Because the weakest point in hand built pots is between the coils, Juan's method produces a much stronger walled pot allowing his pots to be much thinner).
Consolacion Quezada
Consolacion Quezada
Laura Bugarini
Laura Bugarini
Mauro Quezada
Mauro Quezada
Gerardo and Martin Cota
Gerardo and Martin Cota
Dora Quezada
Dora Quezada
The Village of Mata Ortiz
The Village of Mata Ortiz
Mata Ortiz Pottery
Mata Ortiz Pottery