Maria Acosta is another well known potter in the village. She is popular for the quality and affordability of her pots. We just loved these beautiful seed pots, from the moment that we saw them! The combination of the white clay with red and black squares arranged in an eye dazzling pattern reminiscent of a crossword puzzle. The incisions around the seed pot opening give it a very distinctive look as well. And we love the sense of whimsy and fun, with the surprise addition of a butterfly design on the bottom of the seed pot! Maria Acosta hand forms her pots without the use of a potter's wheel, from clay that has been dug from the surrounding countryside and strained to remove the impurities. As such, the clay is the purest and easiest to work with, so say the artists from Mata Ortiz. The painting on this piece was done with paint made from natural pigments and minerals by the artists, and applied with handcrafted brushes made of long strands of human hair! The piece is polished with an agate stone to achieve a beautiful shine. The pot is signed by the artist.
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. The artist wanted the colors to remain on this piece, so oxygen was allowed to flow during the firing. One in every four or five pots break in a traditional firing. It is definitely a labor of love!
Approximate Measurements: 2 1/4" high x 5 1/4" wide (16 3/4" in circumference)