Mata Ortiz Pottery


225.00 450.00

This generous olla was built, fired and decorated by the artist, Tena, who has signed it with his first name, Gerardo. It is 8.5” high and 6.5” wide. The decoration is geometric images that relate to the stories of the people of Mata Ortiz.

Because we are down-sizing our involvement in native art and our lifestyle, we are eager to see this and other Mata Ortiz pottery we own passed on to others who will appreciate its beauty. As a result we have cut the price in half from its original retail level.

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A prehistoric ruin near Chihuahua, Mexico, Casas Grande was the source of a old pottery tradition. It was the home of crudely produced and finished pottery. In the 1970's, Juan Quezada, a resident of the area, which became known as the Village of Mata Ortiz, began reproducing pottery in the traditional style of Casas Grandes. Pots created by Quezada and his associated villagers, many of whom are family members, are highly respected and valued today. You will find them in collections and museums as demanding as the Smithsonian.

More than 300 other households in Mata Ortiz, now also create beautiful pottery. These artisans specialize in hand-built pots (wheels are not used). In the tradition of the Pueblos to which Mata Ortizans aspire; the medium used is local clay harvested by the potters and their families. Painted designs are also sourced from nature. Designs are frequently etched before being defined by paint. The pottery is fired in shallow pits, not in kilns. Each piece is signed by the artistGrande traditions, but has developed a distinctive artistic style all it's own.

A prehistoric ruin near Chihuahua, Mexico, was the birthplace of what is now identified as Mata Ortiz. It was discovered In the early 1970's. The old shards of pottery reflected a tradition of well designed but somewhat crudely formed pottery. A Mexican worker identified as Juan Quezada began building pottery in the authentic traditions of the local artisans. His work and that of other villagers evolved into a high quality of hand-built, hand-decorated bowls, ollas and figuratives The standard to which they aspired was that which had been developed by pueblo artisans of the United States Southwest. Thin, hand built walls, created without the use of wheels, came to represent superb art that was equal inits artistry to that of the pueblos if worked to emulate. Today,the pots of Juan Quezada pots are so respected and desirable that they are displayed in museums from the Smithsonian to European collections. Most of Quezada's family and Mata Ortiz village potters (more than 300 at current count), now contribute to the breathtaking beauty and fine quality that comes from this little village. Their pots are built in coiled clay technique and hand polished artists. The clay comes from local deposits that are said to be known only to the artists who “harvest” it. The paints also are natural in origin. Each pot is fired on the ground, not in kilns, in fires fueled by dung. The pottery finds its way to American buyers through collectors and dealers who travel to Mata Ortiz to buy directly from the artists.