Shaped from Clay: The Rapidly Evolving Mata Ortiz Pottery

January 16, 2013 by
Categories: Mexico

Mata Ortiz PotteryThe artistry that remade this small town is changing as modern materials and techniques are used, but Juan Quezada is still the guiding spirit.

The place felt so familiar. The air was dry and warm and slightly smoky. Streets were unpaved, rutted, edged with weeds below ramshackle wooden fences. Swaybacked horses and muscled pickup trucks dueled for right of way on the dusty roads.

I was invited almost immediately into the humble homes of extraordinary artists and encouraged to inspect pieces of delicate pottery displayed on oilcloth-covered kitchen tables or arranged on sagging beds. I looked over the shoulders of men and women who shaped, polished and painted at tiny sunlit work stations. I caressed their art, held their children. I embraced the artists' warmth, spirit, gentle humility and exquisite talent. They touched my soul.

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