Category Archives: Family

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.

 

Mata Ortiz: Las Historias No Contadas, Parte Dos

LAS HISTORIAS NO CONTADAS DE PAQUIMÉ Y

MATA ORTIZ (PARTE DOS)

                                             Por Ron Goebel y Nancy Andrews

 

“Es momento de incluir más voces y expandir la historia de la tradición alfarería de Mata Ortiz en una representación más completa”.

-Del documental de 2015 “Mata Ortiz: Las Historias No Contadas”

La alfarería en Mata Ortiz surgió como un esfuerzo grupal. La documentación muestra que en Mata Ortiz la tradición alfarería comenzó como un esfuerzo grupal y no con la inspiración de un solo hombre. El profesor Julián Hernández está de acuerdo: “Comenzaron a trabajar con el barro… todos juntos… para lograr mejores habilidades y realizar sus trabajos de alfarería”.

Marisela Ortiz reafirma este esfuerzo grupal cuando habla sobre la década de 1960 y de principios de la década de 1970, los primeros años de su padre en la alfarería. “Sí, mi padre Félix Ortiz fue uno de los primeros que comenzó a trabajar con barro, él y algunos de sus amigos”, destaca. Junto con su hermano, Emeterio, entre los amigos alfareros de Félix se encontraban Rojelio Silveira y Salbador Ortiz, tío del artista contemporáneo Eli Navarrete.

Eli Navarrete recuerda sus propios comienzos, cuando aprendió a fabricar ollas en Barrio Porvenir. “Me juntaba con Félix y su hermano mayor Emeterio. Fueron pioneros con Juan Quezada. Y uno de los primeros en utilizar técnicas nuevas fue mi tío, Salbador Ortiz. Los fines de semana, pasaba tiempo con familiares y amigos y hablábamos sobre encontrar nuevos materiales y herramientas”.

El alfarero pionero de Mata Ortiz, Rojelio Silveira, coincide y afirma que en la década de1960 Salbador Ortiz era uno de los alfareros auténticos del pueblo. En una entrevista de 2012 con el documentalista Richard Ryan de Mata Ortiz, Silveira relata: “Tenía unos 21 años cuando comencé a fabricar ollas. Fue antes de casarme”. Era el año 1965. “Ahí fue cuando hice una olla con dos rostros, una esfinge. Félix [Ortiz] hizo un cuenco pequeño y mi amigo Chava [Salbador Ortiz] hizo una olla pequeña. Así fue cómo empezamos. Comenzó cuando les dije: “Hagamos una olla”. Silveira había sido un saqueador, y también resultó que pudo fabricar una olla él mismo. “Así que dijeron, está bien, intentémoslo, y así lo hicimos. Todos juntos. Félix Ortiz, yo Rojelio Silveira y Salbador Ortiz. Los tres”.

Mata Ortiz Sgrafitto: Hector Gallegos Jr.

 

Hector Junior 10  2011

In 2003, in a match no doubt blessed by the ancient potters themselves, Hector Gallegos Junior and Laura Bugarini were married, That union united two of the best known pottery families in Mata Ortiz. Both Hector and Laura are frequent award winners at the numerous concursos and other pottery events throughout Mexico and the United States.  These days, Hector and Laura’s work is in huge demand, usually requiring waiting lists, often lengthy ones.

In addition to his art, Hector Gallegos Jr. is dedicated to fitness and body building. He competes, and frequently wins or places, in body building competitions in Mexico and the United States.  Along with his pottery studio, Hector has his own gym at the back of his home in Barrio Americano.  Laura supports him in his fitness passion by making sure his diet is nutritious. Laura and Hector also collaborate on pottery projects, as well as continuing to make their own individual pieces.  Their daughter Pablita attends private school with high academic standards and English curriculum.  Hector too is acquiring good English language skills, sometimes practicing with ten-year-old Pabla.

Hector is a founding member of El Grupo Siete, The Group of Seven, an alliance of Mata Ortiz artists working for positive, locally envisioned change in the village.  The Gallegos family often travels to the United States and throughout Mexico for art, body building and Group of Seven functions, as well as fun.  They are indeed a 21st Century pottery family, wise, worldly and working for the transformation they want to see. Hector is  part of a remarkable new wave of Mata Ortiz potters that has been called “the Young Turks.” In so many good ways, they all live up to that global comparison.

Blog Hector Laura Juan 2012

Juan Quezada, Laura Bugarini, Pabla Gallegos and Hector Gallegos Junior at the Concurso in Mata Ortiz, 2012.

 

Mata Ortiz Pottery, Kids and Family

When the late Mata Ortiz potter Nicolas Quezada said, “We will keep the pottery tradition alive for the children and the children’s children,” he was referring in part to these girls, at that time not yet born. These little playmates are cousins. They are the daughters of four great families of Mata Ortiz potters. Their world emphasizes both academic and artistic excellence.

After daily carpools to private school in nearby Colonia Juarez, Pablita (left, now nine years old) returns to a home enriched by the ancient pottery tradition. In fact, that pottery tradition affords her family the tuition. Mia Guadalupe (right, now six) earns academic achievement awards at Mata Ortiz Primary School.

Both will likely become excellent potters in their own right. Indeed, Pablita is already selling her small pieces, using her earnings in any way she chooses, subject of course to her parents’ approval. Sometimes she gives her pots as gifts to special friends. What a gift!

Pablita and Mia Guadalupe

Pablita and Mia Guadalupe

And, don’t worry, quiet playful moments like the one pictured are abundant, children are allowed to be children, in a balance as delicate and beautiful as the pottery.

Nicolas Quezada pot

Nicolas Quezada pot