Trini Silveira is a fine second generation potter from the famous village of Mata Ortiz in Chihuahua, Mexico. Hailing from the Silveira Family of the Porvenir section of the village, she is part of one of the most well-known families of quality potters, and Lila Silveira’s sister. Trini Silveira’s mother is Socorro Sandoval, one of the most respected potters in town, who is especially well known for her skill at hand building magnificent thin walled pots. Trini began her career as a potter making the traditional style that her neighborhood Porvenir is known for. At the young age of only twelve years old, Trini began learning the art of Mata Ortiz pottery by watching her parents. One of the most remarkable aspects of the career of Trini Silveira, in our humble opinion, is that she immigrated with her husband to the United States yet still carries on the beautiful traditions of her family. Even with the long distances traveled between San Diego, California and Mata Ortiz, Mexico, Trini continues to practice her art form in the manner traditional to her village. She returns to Mexico several times a year to bring back hand formed pots, which she then paints with human hair brushes and fires at home in a more modern electric kiln that meets the regulations of her new community. Trini is the only one of the Mata Ortiz artists to have immigrated to the United States, yet still regularly continues to practice and remain faithful to the traditions handed down to her by her parents. She is well known for the simple elegance of her pottery, which she decorates with precisely painted designs. She takes great care to paint her designs with the human hair brush. One of her popular designs is a combination of finely detailed lines that form a geometric pattern of precision. This design actually resulted from a mistake she made while painting a different design.To incorporate the design, she created a geometric pattern. She liked it so much, that she continues to use it to this day. It is her signature piece, and we are amazed by her talent! In 2017 Trini entered the annual pottery juried art show (Concurso) in Mata Ortiz for the first time, and she took 1st place in the category of new and innovative design. In 2018 Trini returned to the Concurso and took home second place in her category.
I love how precisely these difficult traditional cuadricula sqaures are painted, and it still blows my mind that these were painted with a few long strands of human hair! The designs are everywhere, yet gorgeous and exacting and well thought out in it's layout. There is just so much work packed into this piece! The natural earthy matte black clay takes on an almost chocolate brown feel, and then is accented with the natural paint in red and white. It is a gorgeous combination! We love seeing Trini preserve the traditions that she grew up with, yet modernizing the designs with her own unique layout!
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: 7 5/8" high x 5" wide (16" in circumference at it's widest point