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Jera Tena

Jera Penguin

Jerardo Tena effigy. Jerardo is a nephew of Felix Ortiz.

Jerardo (Jera) Tena is the nephew of Félix Ortiz. Félix and many others were pioneers of pottery in Mata Ortiz. Jera lives in Barrio Porvenir. Jera says, “When I was eight years old I collected clay and manure with my Uncle Félix. I looked at the clay and pottery while my uncle worked. That’s how I learned.”

Unlike Félix, Jera does not make blackware. He is best known for well-polished polychrome animal effigies and has won First Place award five times at the Concurso, the nationally sponsored competition of Mata Ortiz pottery.

The first photo shows penguin effigies in process from 2017. The second photo shows a sheep effigy from 2008.

They Were Written Out of Their Own History

2012-09-18 14.39.472012-09-17 15.34.52

Written Out of Their Own History

English/Espanol

All research was done in Mata Ortiz. This post is inspired by Ana Livingston’s article in the Journal of the Southwest, Winter 2016.

The first time Ana Livingston visited Mata Ortiz, Spencer MacCallum told her: the modern pottery began with one man. Then that man taught many others. Livingston thought this was “a well-fashioned traders tale” intended to market the pottery. As a student in my class at Western New Mexico University stated, “It was a marketing ploy.”

Months after talking with MacCallum, Ana was told by a laborer from Mata Ortiz: “What has been said about how the pottery began is not true. It was several people, my extended family and family friends [who started the pottery].”

MacCallum tells a story. That story is appealing in many ways. The story may help to sell the pottery. But there are a lot of problems with MacCallum’s narrative. As Livingston says, “…many of the initial potters had been written out of their own history.”

 

Omitido De Su Propia Historia

Toda la investigación se realizó en Mata Ortiz.

Esta publicación está inspirada en el artículo de Ana Livingston en el Journal of the Southwest, Invierno 2016.

La primera vez que Ana Livingston visitó a Mata Ortiz, Spencer Mac- Callum le dijo: la alfarería moderna comenzó con un solo hombre. Solamente una persona. Entonces ese hombre enseñó a muchos otros. Livingston pensó que se trataba de “un cuento de comerciantes bien diseñado” destinado a comercializar la cerámica. Como estudiante de mi clase en Western New Mexico University, declaró: “Fue una estratagema de marketing.”

Meses después de hablar con MacCallum, un trabajador de Mata Ortiz le dijo a Ana: “Lo que han dicho de como comenzó la cerámica no es verdad! Fueron varios, mis familiares y sus amigos [que comenzaron la cerámica].”

MacCallum cuenta una historia. Esa historia es atractiva de muchas maneras. La historia puede ayudar a vender la cerámica. Pero hay muchos problemas con la narrativa de MacCallum. Como dice Livingston, “… muchos de los alfareros iniciales habían escrito de [borrado] su propia historia”.

 

Sabino Villalba, son of Andres Villalba

SABINO

This pot by Sabino Villalba depicts a god of Paquimé, part man and part parrot, swimming with a parrot tucked under his arm. The crosshatching represents a shaman. The spiral is a dust devil or tornado. Great work and flawless painting. (Not for sale) Sabino is the son of well known and highly respected Andres Villalba.

Esta olla de Sabino “Caby” Villalba representa a un dios de Paquimé, parte hombre y parte guacamaya, nadando con un guacamaya escondido bajo su brazo. El cruce de rayos representa a un chamán. La espiral es un diablo de polvo o tornado. Gran trabajo y pintura impecable. Sabino es hijo del muy conocido y muy respetado Andrés Villalba.

Mata Ortiz, Anglo Influence and Omissions

According to research by Mata Ortiz expert Jim Hills of Tucson, Arizona, indeed several people in the Porvenir neighborhood were making pottery in the 1970s. Porvenir potters Rojelio Silveira, Emeterio Ortiz, Félix Ortiz and Salbador Ortiz all made Mata Ortiz pottery in the early 1970s. In his paper, “Reconstructing a Miracle” in the University of Arizona’s Journal of the Southwest, Hills states, “Spencer MacCallum continually customized his story over the years in an attempt to promote a single narrative, which required omitting, modifying or diluting facts.” The Ortiz and Silveira potters were among those omissions.  Thus, according to Hills, “a blend of well-meaning entrepreneurial strategies, reticence, forgetfulness, imagination, exaggeration and romantic notions of reality have shaped the Mata Ortiz narrative.”

Essentially, two U.S. writers shaped an incomplete history of the Mata Ortiz pottery tradition. In 1993 American Walter Parks wrote a book based on MacCallum’s notes. In the book’s acknowledgements, Parks states,

“Spencer MacCallum was especially generous, opening all of his files to me and reviewing the text.”

Based on new voices and evidence, that history is deficient. It tells only part of the story. Many significant families were excluded from their writings.

THE PIONEERS, MANUEL OLIVAS

DVD COVER“Efforts Made to Rescue the Ceramics of Paquime” by

Julián Alejandro Hernández Chávez

 

“In 1952, in Casas Grandes, Manuel Olivas began to produce low temperature ceramics decorated with the designs from the pieces found at the archaeological sites. His grandmother taught him how to find the clay deposits, how to prepare the clay and fire his pieces the way his family did to produce clay articles. This is how the new traditional Paquimé ceramics were born; after this, the ceramics appeared spontaneously in several communities in the region and the new potters exchanged the information they had. They sold their pieces as utilitarian and decorative objects, first to locals and later to tourists. There was a flurry of activity at the beginning of the seventies [1970s] which was centered on the town of Juan Mata Ortiz where Juan Quezada, Félix Ortiz, Rogelio Silviera and others worked full time as potters.”

Julián Alejandro Hernández of Nuevo Casas Grandes is a preeminent pottery expert focusing on the Casas Grandes and Mata Ortiz pottery traditions. Mr. Hernández has written two books about the art and archaeological ruins of Paquime in Casas Grandes, Chihuahua, Mexico. He is a working potter, having taught dozens of people about pottery. Hernandez started the first pottery school in Nuevo Casas Grandes. In addition, he is the director of the Francisco Villa Preparatory School.

 

 

MATA ORTIZ, PABLA TALAVERA QUEZADA

ENGLISH/ESPANOL

Pabla is the daughter of Rito Talavera and Lydia Quezada. Pabla made this pot a few years ago. She made about three or four like this. The tiles are attached to the pot before firing. Since Pabla and her family live about four hours from Rito and Lydia, she transported this piece to them before firing.

This post is solely to show great work; this is not for sale. Enjoy!

PABLA BLOG

Pabla es la hija de Rito Talavera y Lydia Quezada. Pabla hizo esta olla hace unos años. Hizo unos tres o cuatro como éste. Los azulejos se unen a la olla antes de quemar. Puesto que Pabla y su familia viven cerca de cuatro horas de Rito y de Lydia, ella transportó esta pieza a ellos antes de encender.

Este post es solo para mostrar un gran trabajo. Esto no está a la venta. Disfrutar!

MATA ORTIZ POTTERY TRADITION

The old history about the Mata Ortiz pottery tradition has been discarded. Some of the early pioneer potters have passed away and their adult children feel more free to share the more authentic histories. This is how history evolves.

There is an unauthentic tale by Spencer MacCallum that pottery making was re-discovered in Mata Ortiz by one man who had never seen a potter at work. That is a myth. That is not true. Mr. MacCallum needs to separate himself from this falsehood. In order to be truthful, these are steps that he can complete:

1. He needs to acknowledge that he made a purposely false narrative about the history of the Mata Ortiz pottery tradition. Mr. MacCallum has allowed an illegitimate narrative to continue.

2. MacCallum needs to state publicly that there were many pioneers of Mata Ortiz pottery. In addition, he needs to publicly disclose that several people in Mata Ortiz and Nuevo Casas Grandes were working together in the beginning years.

3. He needs to immediately state that he is not a professional anthropologist.

“A time comes a time when silence is betrayal.” Martin Luther King, Jr.

We acknowledge that MacCallum has done some helpful things regarding the town of Mata Ortiz, Chihuahua, Mexico. However, for more than forty years he has marginalized, omitted and failed to tell the truth about many families in Mata Ortiz.

 

Documentary, “Mata Ortiz: The Untold Stories”

DVD COVER

Filmmaker Ron Goebel presents a new documentary shot on location in Mata Ortiz, Chihuahua, Mexico. Interviews with artists and researchers native to the region disclose the town’s accurate and complete history. Until now that history has been incomplete and mythical.

The documentary  “Mata Ortiz: The Untold Stories,” is $25.00 plus $5.00 shipping. Total is $30.00. Send payment to Ron Goebel, 772 South Ocean Avenue, Cayucos, California 93430. You can pay with Paypal also.

Congratulations 100,000 Books

JUAN BOOK 2JUAN BOOK

ENGLISH/ESPANOL

Congratulations to Nancy Andrews-Goebel whose multi-award winning children’s book, The Pot that Juan Built, recently hit 100,000 number of books sold! Now in its 25th edition, the book won 23 awards.

Nancy’s upcoming children’s book, about Mata Ortiz potter Félix Ortiz, is illustrated by well-known artist Javier Martínez.

Felicidades a Nancy Andrews-Goebel cuyo libro para niños, “La Vasija Que Juan Fabricó,” ha ganado varios premios, ha alcanzado recientemente 100,000 libros vendidos! Ahora en su 25 edición, el libro ganó 23 premios.

El próximo libro infantil de Nancy, sobre el alfarero de Mata Ortiz, Félix Ortiz, está ilustrado por el reconocido artista Javier Martínez.

 

 

 

MATA ORTIZ, PAQUIME AND LOOTING

English/Spanish:

Museum director Jeff Romney wrote in 2016: Unfortunately our Casas Grandes region was almost completely plundered by people in the 1890s-1980s (most of whom were our own [Mexican]  countrymen). Desafortunadamente nuestra region Casas Grandes fue casi complentamente saqueada por personas en los 1890s-1980s (la mayoria de las cuales fueron nuestros propios paisanos).

English:

Mr. Romney has strong ties to the Nuevo Casas Grandes/Colonia Juárez/Mata Ortiz area and a college degree in anthropology. He explained, “Once the Paquime ruins were excavated in the late 1950s and the world began to see what marvels were discovered, people began digging in the many hundreds of other sites in the area in earnest. The 1960s-1980s saw the most digging from what we understand.

There are documented cases of earlier finds as well such as the US Army under Pershing when they went after Pancho Villa during the Mexican Revolutionary Period. The US Army dug out several sites south of Casas Grandes.

Anyway…even today it is not uncommon for people to encounter pots, and other archaeological materials out in their fields when ditches, roads, canals, homes, and other things are constructed. In the 1880s, Nuevo Casas Grandes and the Mormon Colonies were founded. People were finding items when they prepared the surrounding area for the first time for crops, orchards, cattle ranges, etc. This is not to imply that “looting” occurred on a large scale of time. Large scale looting happened mostly during the 1960s-1980s. There may still be a handful of people out there doing it even today. Who knows?”

Espanol:

El Sr. Romney tiene fuertes lazos con el área de Nuevo Casas Grandes / Colonia Juárez / Mata Ortiz y un título universitario en antropología. Explicó: “Una vez que las ruinas de Paquime fueron excavadas a finales de la década de 1950 y el mundo comenzó a ver qué maravillas fueron descubiertas, la gente comenzó a cavar en los cientos de otros sitios de la zona en serio. Las décadas de 1960 y 1980 fueron las que más cavaron de lo que entendemos. 

Hay casos documentados de hallazgos anteriores, así como el Ejército de EE.UU. bajo Pershing cuando se fueron después de Pancho Villa durante el Período Revolucionario Mexicano. El ejército estadounidense excavó varios sitios al sur de Casas Grandes.

De todos modos … aún hoy no es raro que la gente encuentre ollas y otros materiales arqueológicos en sus campos cuando se construyen zanjas, caminos, canales, casas y otras cosas. En la década de 1880 se fundaron Nuevo Casas Grandes y las Colonias Mormonas. La gente estaba encontrando artículos cuando prepararon el área circundante por primera vez para cultivos, huertos, cadenas de ganado, etc. Esto no significa que el “saqueo” ocurrió a gran escala de tiempo. Los grandes saqueos ocurrieron principalmente durante los años 1960s-1980s. Todavía puede haber un puñado de gente por ahí lo hace aún hoy. ¿Quién sabe?”