Mata Ortiz train station, 2012. This is the site for the concurso, the pottery competition. Pot is by Javier Martinez. Note the first place ribbon.
This documentary presents a more complete history of the Mata Ortiz pottery tradition.
In this documentary several new voices articulate a more accurate picture of the early years.
The story from Spencer MacCallum about Mata Ortiz focuses on only one person; it has become clear that many people created the contemporary pottery movement.
The Mata Ortiz pottery tradition emerged as a group effort, not from a single man’s inspiration. This film shows that many people were included. The traditional out-of-date narrative excluded many.
Now, what was left out of the story is part of the story.
You can see the film on Vimeo.com. The Vimeo link is: https://vimeo.com/131245102
Vimeo is more or less an upscale YouTube. It’s free. It’s for filmmakers.
Ay Ay Ay
The Mexican Consulate in El Paso is preparing to commemorate an American presence (Spencer MacCallum) in Mata Ortiz, Chihuahua, Mexico. It is important to note that along with economic development, the U.S. presence brought with it paternalistic myths and misbehavior. The male Anglo-centric legend of Mata Ortiz pottery neglects the critical initial role of women utilitarian potters in the region. Additionally, the myth excludes early Mexican traders and entire groups of early commercial potters, such as those in Nuevo Casas Grandes and the Porvenir neighborhood of Mata Ortiz, in the recklessly incomplete American version of the development of Mexican Mata Ortiz pottery tradition. Why the Mexican Consulate chooses to commemorate exclusionary and irresponsible non-native behavior in their beautiful country is a mystery. The contemporary pottery of Mata Ortiz is indeed some of the best in the world. The Mata Ortiz artists, from the earliest Olivas, Ortiz, Quezada and Silveira potters to those of today, are recognized internationally. But generally speaking the American “‘I’ ‘I’ ‘I’” version of the U.S. presence in the region is not exemplary. Mexican potters, and Mexican potters alone, are responsible for the extraordinary ceramics renaissance in and around Mata Ortiz.