Mata Ortiz Pottery
Casas Grandes (Paquime) is a prehistoric archeological ruin near Chihuahua, Mexico. In the early 1970's, a Mexican railroad worker named Juan Quezada began reproducing pottery in the authentic traditions of Casas Grandes. Today, his pots are in the permanent collections of the Smithsonian, and he is the foremost living ceramic artist in Mexico. Most of Juan's family and over 300 other households in his home village, Mata Ortiz, now follow his path. The pots are formed by only the potter's hands; No pottery wheels are used. The clay is obtained locally from around the village using pick-axes and shovels. The paints used are also natural. The pottery is dung-fired on the ground, not in a kiln. Lastly, each piece is signed by the artist. Casas Grandes (Mata Ortiz) pottery began as a revival of ancient traditions, but has developed a distinctive artistic style all it's own.