Mata Ortiz Pottery

Chihuahua Mexico

Mata Ortiz Pottery

Mata Ortiz is located the Mexican state of Chihuahua about 4.5 hours south and west of El Paso, Texas, United States. It is a small town with adobe dwellings at the foothills of the Sierra Madre Occidental, along the banks of the Palanganas River.

Mata Ortiz pottery is a recreation of the Mogollon pottery found in and around the archeological site of Casas Grandes (Paquimé) in Chihuahua. The style was propagated by Juan Quezada Celado, a self-taught potter, and by the mid-1970s Quezada was selling his pottery and teaching family and friends to make it. The pottery soon became sought after in the United States, both in museums and other cultural institutions as well as in fine art galleries.

Most of Juan’s family and over 300 other households in his home village, Mata Ortiz, now follow his path.  The success of the pottery, which is sold for its aesthetic rather than its utilitarian value, has brought the town of Mata Ortiz out of poverty, with most of its population earning income from the industry, directly or indirectly.

For an in-depth article from the Los Angeles Times on the revival of this art form, click here.