Abraham Rodriguez won 2nd place in the 2017 Concurso, the annual art competition in Mata Ortiz, Mexico for his sgraffito work! Abraham Rodriguez is a second generation potter who also learned the art of Mata Ortiz Pottery from his well known family members. Abraham is a true cowboy, and rides some of the nicest horses in town. His love of nature can readily be seen in his pottery. Abraham crafts some of the nicest sgraffito work with animal scenes in town. Sgraffito is the technique of building up layers of paint and then carving or etching to reveal the color of the clay below, and is quite the laborious process. At first sight you can see Abraham's love of nature, and he transfers the images into his work with care and respect.
This piece is a fine example of his nature scene work, that pays homage to the horses that he loves dearly. It holds an incredible visual interest. The pot is done in a wonderful combination of back, red and a highly polished small white section with a horse that stands out in the polished natural color of the off white clay! So cool! This piece was signed by the artist. A pottery ring will be included at no additional charge.
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. He pinches 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.
Approximate Measurements: 6 3/4" high x 6 1/2" wide (22" circumference at it's widest point)