Mata Ortiz Pottery
Juan Mata Ortiz is a Mexican town located 320 kilometers from the capital of the state of Chihuahua, to the northwest. It is located just 35 kilometers from Casas Grandes, an area where the cultural heritage of Paquimé and Colonia Juárez is preserved, the desert and the knowledge that is discovered inside the territory, perhaps in a cave or a hill.
There are about 300 families that revive the pottery tradition of more than 600 years in Paquimé, using the same technique and materials with which extraordinary vessels were made during the Mesoamerican period. With a sense of actuality and innovation, the artists of Mata Ortiz renew the designs and stylistic features that distinguish them and that have generated interest throughout the world. The symbolic geometries and patterns reveal at first glance a nomadic and tribal breath, with a deep connection to the earth.
The ancestral ceramic technique of Mata Ortiz uses lead-free mineral paints, finely applied with brushes made from boys' or girls' hair. To make the vessels, the potters start with a clay tortilla that they spread with their fingers on a surface, to later transfer it and adjust it to a shallow concave mold. Then they knead thick and long strips that they place one on top of the other to form the walls, which they smooth by hand, thinning the thickness of the mud with a notched metal wedge. Inside a finished piece you can feel the finger marks of the artist who molded it. The large open fire ends with the process, which is achieved using poplar bark and cow dung (dried manure), guaranteeing a very high temperature flame and a rustic finish.