Mata Ortiz--A Mexican Village of Potters--A small (2,000 pop.) village in northern Chihuahua 100 miles south of New Mexico has almost everyone making pots for the souvenir trade. In the 1930's, as a boy, elder Juan Quezada rediscovered methods used by the villagers' ancestors, the Paquimè Indians (who lived there 900 years ago). As his pots began to sell, he taught others -- traditionalists, innovators. Interviews and photos with villagers form a fascinating story of life in this little town, which had no pottery tradition whatever -- it was created from potsherds. Webmaster Mike Williams has been a friend for a long time obviously, publishes a newsletter for Friends of Maya Ortiz.
Books about Mata Ortiz pottery available from Amazon.com.
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Nora Naranjo-Morse, Santa Clara Pueblo--This links to excerpts from this clay sculptor's book of poetry, Mud Woman: Poems from the Clay, 1991, University of Arizona Press, $15.95 paperback, 800/426-3797. Her book is illustrated with photos of her clay sculpture. In the long intro essay, she describes her life and art, as an Indian woman artist who faced difficulties with non-traditional work such as caricatures of grotesque white tourists . She also tells how she derived strength and inspiration from her mother and the tradition of Santa Clara Pueblo pottery. The essay links to some of Nora's poems, which are illustrated with small clickbuttons that link to extra-large high-quality photos of all too few of her amazing, sometimes funny, clay sculptures. The 127-page book itself has 30 color plates, some humorous, some more traditional. Some of the funny ones are caricatures of tourists and other obnoxious white people, that are sort of like Koshare clowns in a way, if clowns wore gold spandex tights and floppy lady hats and sequin sunglasses.. Nora's poems are very fine. They speak strongly to all women everywhere, but especially to those of us who are walking various knife-edges between modern life and traditional values.
Nora's book is very highly recommended for classroom reading (7+ grades) and for gifts, especially for women and girls. Possibly certain really sensitive (as they describe themselves) Significant Other male types if you think they could handle it. Personally I think it would be wasted on most men, so give it to them, then steal it back when they leave it lying around untouched. There is a hardcover version also, $35. They take telephone credit card orders, and school purchase orders. The book excerpts are prepred by Karen Strom, part of her experimental on-line multimedia book project.
Books by Nora Naranjo-Morse available from Amazon.com.
Book review-essay, Children of the Clay, a social studies book for Middle Schoolers, by Rina Swentzell. This featurs also a book for younger (5-8 years) children by Nora Naranjo-Morse, and hyperlink trips all over. It's self-guided web research for students and a teaching resource in itself for teachers.
Mike and Jackie Torivio-- Acoma husband and wife pottery team. He forms the clay, she paints. Essay by Richard Pearce-Moses, Owl is probably in Heard Museum. The big pic resides on Karen Strom's Native Artists section. That owl is so lovable! I just wanted to hold it, but it's only a picture! (I have an owl-name from Nellie Red Owl; I've always liked owls.) I wish there were more shots of this owl from different angles, in clearer light too. How big do you think it is?
CREDITS: : The logo of these art pages is "Two Fish" by Manitoulin Island Ojibwe-Odawa Martin Panamick, as explained in the Art Contents Menu page credits.
PAGE LOGO BOWL is Mimbres, around 1300-1450. Mimbres pottery, named after the Mimbres Valley of Mexico, was a product of the Mogollon culture, which began to cultuvate corn in the dry highlands of Mexico-New Mexico-Arizona around 2,000 BC. Mimbres pottery was made by the coil technique. The earliest examples -- from about 200 - 700 AD -- are delicate designs of black on white, some geometric abstracts, but many geometrized animal or spirit-figures. Later, polychrome pottery (like this) using red and black glazes was made. The amazing geometric designs have had much influence on Indian art of the southwest, as can be seen from many items in the pottery galleries here. This bowl is from the collection of the Dallas Museum of Art.
Juan Quesada photo by Mike Williams, Webmaster of the Mata Ortiz village site.
Maria Martinez (Poveka) (San Ildefonso Pueblo, 1881-1980) blackware pot, 1923. Maria rediscovered the ancient technique of airless firing to make blackware. Her husband Julian invented a method of decorating pots with matte black designs on shiny black. Her entrepreneur son Popovi Da also began self-marketing, partly cutting out the traditional southwest system of non-Indian "trading post" middlemen who took most of the profits from sales, though this still survives in a host of classy, profitable (to the owners) fine arts galleries in Santa Fe and Albuquerque. Grandson Tony Da, an artist and potter, operates a pottery production facility and the family gallery today. That's a bear fetish by Tony; I found it in unfinished art appreciation lessons prepared for IAIA. Here's a brief bio about Maria Martinez by a gallery that says it replaces these stories every month. So let me know if it disappears. Back to pot collection if you jumped here from there.<
Towa (the People) clay sculpture by Nora Naranjo-Morse, photo from her Mud Woman book.
Why?, Roxanne Swentzell, Santa Clara Pueblo, life-size ceramic sculpture from Alan Houser Memorial Sculpture Graden, Phoenix, AZ. One of the most powerful pieces of art done by anyone, anywhere, anytime, anyculture.
Fantastic Owl, by Mike & Jackie Torivio, Acoma Pueblo husband-wife potter team. Is this one in the Heard Museum or in Karen Strom's personal collection? Very loveable to someone like me who loves owls.--Karen Strom--Physics and Astronomy graphics professor, University of Massachusetts. Last is the place of honor in most every Indian tradition. Karen's big Index, of all Native resources she finds (or are reported to her) on the InterNet is of great value. Many photos and essays are incorporated as parts of an interesting on-line multimedia book, Voyage to Another Universe, structured as several journeys around the southwest. Maps, random-selections of multiple images, multiple cross-referenced linkages, art, personal encounters with people and places, phrases in spoken Navajo, make this project one of both aesthetic and technical interest. It is a fine learning resource for those who know little of the art and places of this big territory of Indian Country, which has such a powerful influence on the world of native art.
Books about Pueblo pottery available from Amazon.com.
Books about Mata Ortiz pottery available from Amazon.com.
Webmistress Paula Giese -- Explanatory text and graphics copyright 1995.
Last Updated: 5/27/97