August 22, 2003

Bazaar del Mundo to Host Largest Mata Ortiz Pottery Showcase in the Nation

The public can witness the creation of beautiful and collectible Mata Ortiz pottery during the fourth annual Mata Ortiz Pottery show, Friday – Sunday, August 29 – 31, at Bazaar del Mundo in Old Town San Diego State Historic Park.

Demonstrations of the process for making these one-of-a-kind pieces – with sculpting, painting and firing done in the Bazaar del Mundo courtyard - will take place from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. Friday and Saturday, and 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Sunday. The event is free to the public.

From the village of Mata Ortiz near Chihuahua, Mexico, Mata Ortiz (or Casas Grandes) pottery is a renowned art form that stems from ancient cultural roots. Led by Juan Quezada, the entire pueblo of Mata Ortiz creates outstanding handmade, coiled pots or ollas following methods that are centuries old. While the finished product looks like pottery formed on a wheel, it is actually formed by using the “coil method,” in which the potters stack coils one upon the other. The coils are then smoothed together by hand and fired over open flame (as opposed to in a kiln).

Traditionally, Mata Ortiz artists make their own paint brushes, which consist of two or three hairs collected from young girls in the village. Using these tiny brushes, the pots are hand-painted with intricate designs, which include geome-trics, recreations of ancestral symbols, and designs that the artists have created by searching within their own spirit and creativity.

Today, only 300 Mata Ortiz potters produce these fine creations, and the Bazaar will bring in more than a dozen artists from Chihuahua, Mexico, including Salvador Baca, Virginia Lozoya, Ruben Rodriguez, Eleuterio Pena, Karla Lopez, Jorge Quintana and others. Through displays and demonstrations in the Bazaar courtyard, they will share their artistry with the public.

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