Tip: To expand
any image, simply click on the image. Remember to press the "Back" button
on your browser to return to this page!
Mata Ortiz is a small town in northern
Chihuahua, Mexico, famous for the very distinctive, and beautiful, styles
of ceramics produced there. Collectively, these styles are now known as
'Mata Ortiz' pottery or ceramics.
The pottery of Mata Ortiz is a revival
of a pre-hispanic pottery tradition. This style of pottery was orginally
part of the 'Casas Grandes' culture - an agricultural group centered at
the site of Paquimé, 'The Valley of the Caves', northern Chihuaha,
México (Sierra Madre Occidental).
Up until 25 years ago the pottery of Mata
Ortiz was a 'lost art'. The resurrection of the art from was mainly at
the instigation of one man: Juan Quezada.
around the local hills one day, Juan Quezada had the good fortune
to uncover some ancient ceramic pots. Juan was so struck by the exquiste
beauty of these objects that he found it hard to keep them out of his mind.
One of his more perplexing questions was 'How could works of such beauty
be fashioned from the available materials in such a barren environment?'.
To find the answer he set upon a monumental quest: To discover, and reproduce,
the ancient secrets used in the creation of these fine works!
Thus began a long and painful process
of learning an ancient craft with no guide except the beautiful pots he
had found. Juan carried out experiement after experiement, trying to find
the magical processes that his forebears had used in their art. In his
search, Juan captured the imagination of other village members too and
eventually the pottery of Mata Ortiz was born!
artist in Mata Ortiz has their own, very distinctive, style but all are
based on the principle techniques discovered by Juan Quezada. For this
Juan is acknowledged as being the founder of the Mata Ortiz ceramics, an
art form that has been reaching higher and higher levels. In fact many
Mata Ortiz pieces are now sold for thousands of dollars!