Pilo Mora

Pilo Mora

“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.

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Harrison Preston

Harrison Preston
Pottery, Basketry and Jewelry

“…Creating baskets and pottery keeps me
grounded in my culture. It also serves as a
form of meditation from day to day stresses.”

Cultural Community: Tohono o’odham
Location: San Xavier, Tucson, AZ

Wa:k O’odham artist, Harrison Preston is a traditional Basket weaver and potter, who creates both Traditional and contemporary work, all while trying to preserve and respect the traditions therein. He was raised and currently lives on the San Xavier Indian Reservation (Wa:k), a district of the Tohono O’odham Nation, south of Tucson, Arizona.

While attending high school, Harrison began learning traditional Tohono O’odham basketry from noted Tohono O’odham artist and activist, Terrol Dew Johnson. Under Terrol’s tutelage, Harrison would go on to win several awards at Native American art markets at the Heard Museum and the Arizona State Museum.

After high school, Harrison attended the prestigious Institute of American Indian Arts in Santa Fe, NM, before returning home for family reasons. Harrison also attended Pima Community College in Tucson, where he studied metalsmithing and sculpture.

In 2017, Harrison began learning Traditional Tohono O’odham pottery from Kathleen Vance of Sells, AZ, and has worked with her and others to reinvigorate O’odham pottery traditions. Harrison can be found demonstrating and showcasing his work at regional markets and events across southern Arizona.