A beautiful black on black javelina animal effigy pot hand crafted by the world famous and highly sought after Master Potter Nicolas Ortiz!! I just love Nicolas' work. He is quite famous for his animal effigy designs, and you can easily see why. Just such a wonderful sense of artistry and fun! Nicolas Ortiz is a featured artist in the famous book "The Many Faces of Mata Ortiz". You can read all about him on page number 130. Nicolas first learned the art of pottery from his younger brother Macario Ortiz, who in turn learned the art form from Felix Ortiz... some of the most famous of the potters from the Barrio Porvenir section of Mata Ortiz. No one does animal effigy work like Nicolas! Truly amazing I love the paint job on this beauty! The lines are crisp and clean and they just shine magically on top of the highly polished black background! And to think that this was hand polished with an agate stone, and painted with long strands of human hair! Wow!! The sculptural elements of this piece are outstanding! I love the tusks protruding from the sides, the long snout, the hooves with all their grooves and detail, the big ears and the looping tail. So darn cool! This piece was 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, such as in this piece, 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. This does not allow oxygen to 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: 8 1/4" high x 10 1/4" long x 4 1/2" wide