The History of Mata Ortiz Pottery

The History of Mata Ortiz Pottery

Mata Ortiz pottery was revived with an archaeological dig in Paquimé, a pre-Columbian city located in the Rio Grande River Valley. Paquimé grew into a thriving city with booming political and commercial life, a working sewer system, irrigation, fine buildings and more, earning it the nickname of Casas Grandes, or large houses. This civilization vanished like many others of its time. That is, until a young boy named Juan Quezada from Mata Ortiz, a village near Paquimé, happened upon the lost art and architecture of the vanished city and successfully revived the spirit and pride of what is now known as Casas Grandes or Mata Ortiz pottery.

Juan Quezada used the clay sherds he found in the ruins of Paquimé to bring this artistic pottery back to life.Native American Seed Pots

Juan worked to perfect his technique and taught others as well so that what is now known as Mata Ortiz pottery could spread and become something bigger than just him and his love for the beautiful clay sherds he found as a boy. He succeeded in helping to teach more than 500 inhabitants of the village of Mata Ortiz in Chihuahua, Mexico, to craft both traditional and contemporary pottery, recreating and reimagining pots, vases and effigies in the likeness of these centuries-old methods.

This Native American pottery is made entirely by hand using either the coil and scrape or the tortilla method.

The coil technique involves rolling clay into long and narrow pieces called coils. These coiled pieces are then laid on top of each other shaping the vessel. As the potter builds the piece, he or she is continuously blending the coils together into a unified surface. After the clay is fully hardened, the vessel is scraped to eliminate any traces of the coils in the final product. The single piece, or tortilla method, uses single flat round pieces of clay that are formed by hand into the shape of the pot and smoothed and sanded to achieve the desired finish.

At Kachina House, we are proud to offer a wide variety of Mata Ortiz pottery, all of which is handbuilt and handpainted by the talented artists of Mata Ortiz. We have effigies, pots, ornaments, jewelry and more available. Give us a call at 928-204-9750 today to learn more about this unique pottery or stop in our showroom at 2920 Hopi Drive to see it for yourself!

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