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”.