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Mata Ortiz Village Pottery

Mata Ortiz Village Pottery

Artist Profile

Mata Ortiz Village Pottery
The small village of Mata Ortiz, in Chihuahua, Mexico, had a history of poverty and no prospects. However, Juan Quezada, a second-grade dropout who gathered firewood in the hills near Mata Ortiz, discovered ancient pieces of broken pottery, which led him to methodically recreate the entire ceramics process, from finding the clay to shaping, painting, and firing it. He rediscovered the long-lost pottery tradition of the village, which eventually spread to the younger generation of Quezadas, an...

The small village of Mata Ortiz, in Chihuahua, Mexico, had a history of poverty and no prospects. However, Juan Quezada, a second-grade dropout who gathered firewood in the hills near Mata Ortiz, discovered ancient pieces of broken pottery, which led him to methodically recreate the entire ceramics process, from finding the clay to shaping, painting, and firing it. He rediscovered the long-lost pottery tradition of the village, which eventually spread to the younger generation of Quezadas, and then to friends and neighbors. Walt Parks, who has played a crucial role in the artistic and economic miracle of Mata Ortiz since 1984, brings the villagers' pots to the United States to sell, arranges exhibitions and classes, and acts as an unpaid translator and financial adviser. This has helped over 300 of the approximately 2,000 villagers become working potters and allowed them to enjoy lucrative careers. The pottery has transformed the whole village, providing residents with better opportunities for a better life.

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