Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Mata Ortiz, Mexico

I went to Mata Ortiz, Mexico last week over Spring Break with my clay class.
There were 12 of us all together. We took 2 short workshops on Monday.
It was my first time to visit Mata Ortiz. The story is amazing. Their
pots are amazing, too. Check out Mata Ortiz gallery online.

Gray pots -- Student pots (ollas) just before they were fired. Three of us chose to do "black on black" pots -- they belong to: left to right: Dottie, Mary (me), Rosie. The potters in Mata Ortiz fire their pots right in their own yard! You can see a wire wheel underneath our pots. This was placed on top of a large flat, round metal piece. The pots were covered with a metal container, then sand was used to seal the edge. Wood was leaned against this container. Using lots of kerosene (cannot remember the actual lighter fluid they used) and a match, the fire was coaxed into being. The fire burned for 15-20 minutes. Then the pots were cooled down by brushing away the coals and sand. Eventually the lid was taken off and the pots were taken out and allowed to cool.
Photo by Teresa Ali-Olivas

People: When you visit Mata Ortiz, you buy pots! You can buy pots at the place you stay as the potters in town are allowed to bring their pots in for view. Or you can go visit the potters in their homes / studios and purchase direct. Here, Rosie and I have purchased pots from the Ortiz family. Rosie's pot was a black on black she purchased from the father. He invented a technique of using graphite on the pot to create the black color. Rosie love the black on black look and wanted to buy from the person who invented this technique. I fell in love with the pot made by his son, Tati. The young potters are moving beyond the traditional colors of black and red. They are experimenting with chemically treated colors like blue, gray, and green which this pot sports. I love the oriental feeling of the design which is also non-traditional Mata Ortiz. The potters of Mata Ortiz are constantly innovating new shapes and techniques. LEFT to RIGHT: Me, Tati's mother, and Rosie.
Photo by Teresa Ali-Olivas

Crosses & Stepple: I asked fellow traveler, Teresa Ali-Olivas to take this shot since I did not bring my camera.

Have you been to Mata Ortiz? What was your experience?

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