“It is the imagination, discipline, determination,
and the pleasure of doing what we make that makes us be.”
Cultural Community: Mata Ortiz, Chihuahua, mExicO
Location: Tucson, AZ
Porfirio “Pilo” Mora represents the pottery tradition of Mata Ortiz, a small village in Chihuahua, Mexico, known for its talented potters. Porfirio recounts that by researching in Mata Ortiz, there was a culture that left potters an inheritance, and that was the vestige of ceramic activity. Porfirio and other potters began finding remains of Mata Ortiz pottery, such as pieces of pot and ceramic bits which were very common in the region. Mata Ortiz pottery is inspired by ancient Paquimé culture, which shares many similarities with southwestern Pueblo cultures.
Potters enjoyed the idea of learning how to make Mata Ortiz pottery and thanks to the research they conducted to find it, that was how Porfirio and other potters began to make, what is quite evolved now, the ceramic that proudly represents Mata Ortiz and the state of Chihuahua.
The work of art is the main reflection of the economy and well being of families in the town of Mata Ortiz. When young people get involved in the tradition of Mata Ortiz pottery, Porfirio believes they grow pacified, and continue to take care of the traditional work and representation. Master potter Porfirio learned how to prepare the clay and the pigments, along with other basic techniques, from a tradition that has been passed down from generation to generation.