A great affordable way to own a piece of art made by the famous Ortiz Family of Mata Ortiz, Mexico! Absolutely gorgeous pottery from Elijio Ortiz, the son of the world famous (now deceased) Master Potter Chevo Ortiz... one of the finest potters of the Barrio Porvenir section of town, and a pioneer in the art form. We just love the fact that Elijio is carrying on the traditions that he learned from his father, and thus keeping his spirit and art alive. For us at DeSilva Imports, this pottery has a special value for its social impact, and its preservation of ancient traditions. The work of Elijio is very nicely formed and painted. We love the swirl affect that forms carved indentations around the circular design on each side of the pot. It is hard to capture in a picture, but the piece has great visual and textural appeal. It is a bargain for the level of expertise of this young potter.
Hand made without even the use of a potter’s wheel! Done in the traditional style of Mata Ortiz, with hand forming the piece out of clay that has been dug from the local countryside. The clay is sifted to remove the impurities, making the clay pliable and easier to work with than the standard clay that we find in art supply shops in the US. The artist starts with a flat pancake of clay, then adds a single coil of clay. They pinch the walls upward to form the pot, while scooping out the clay from within, and thinning the walls from the outside at the same time. Larger pieces will include a second coil added at the top. Mata Ortiz pottery is known for how thin walled and light weight it is, which makes it quite difficult to hand build without collapsing along the way. The piece will then dry for several days, before sanding the walls to get the walls. The surface of the pot is protected with a thin layer of oil, before hand polishing the surface with an agate stone. Then the piece is painted with natural paint using a home made brush crafted of long strands of human hair. A low temperature firing is the last step. Although there are some electric kilns in town these days, traditionally the pottery is fired on the ground using local wood similar to cottonwood. If it is a colored pot, the firing area is elevated on bricks to allow air to circulate during the firing, the pot is placed on a tripod or grate, covered with a clay or metal vessel, wood is stacked around the outer vessel and then ignited. Once the wood burns down, then the firing has been completed. If a black pot was desired, then sawdust or cow dung would be spread on the ground inside of the outer vessel and dirt would be used to seal the edges of the outer vessel, so that oxygen does not flow into the firing. Any actual color of clay could be used, and the pot would still turn black. One in every four or five pots break in a traditional firing. It is definitely a labor of love!
Approximate Measurements: 5 1/4" high x 5 1/2" wide x 18" in circumference at it's widest point