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Mata Ortiz Books

Portraits of Clay: Potters of Mata Ortiz
Sandra S. Smith. 1998 Tucson: University of Arizona Press. Introduction by Spencer MacCallum. A beautifully designed little book of 65 pages (5 1/2" x 6 1/2") with 36 duotones of village scenes and portraits of potters faced by verbatim quotes in Spanish (with English translation) from the artists about their life and work. Prepared to accompany the photographic exhibit about mata ortiz pottery of the same name.

Copper Canyon, Chihuahua, Mexico
Featuring the puzzle of oasis America: children of Kokopelli. Richard D. Fisher (Tucson: Sunracer Publications 2003). Rick Fisher has outdone himself in this edition of Copper Canyon with magnificent pictures, more than 100 in color and nearly as many in black-and-white, of the country and people from the Canyon northward to Mata Ortiz and enhanced by several scientific papers investigating the case for a stronger connection between Anasazi, Hohokam and Mesoamerica. Sponsored by the Government of Chihuahua, Secretary of Commercial and Tourism Development.

many faces

The Many Faces of Mata Ortiz
1999 - In The Many Faces of Mata Ortiz by Susan Lowell, Jim Hills, Walter Parks, Jorge Quintana and Michael Wisner (Tucson: Treasure Chest Books 1999), pages 15-79. This volume is the definitive treatment of the ceramic art of Mata Ortiz, an eye-catching book (208 pages 9" x 11" with 260 color illustrations) which reflects this brilliant new art tradition from numerous different perspectives and describes the work of more than 100 ceramic artists. Reviewed in the November 1999 American Indian Art Magazine and also in Ceramics Monthly (47:9).

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the pot that juan built

The Pot That Juan Built
Nancy Andrews-Goebel writes and David Diaz, a Caldecott Award winner, illustrates this children's book about Juan Quezada and the pottery of Mata Ortiz, Mexico. A picture book for children of all ages, it contains an afterword with photos by Michael Wisner to help adults expand on the story of Mata Ortiz pottery for young readers and listeners. Nancy Andrews-Goebel has been professionally involved in early childhood education for 25 years, teaching preschool through college. She and her husband have a home in Mata Ortiz, where they produced the documentary video, Mata Ortiz Pottery: An Inside Look.

casas grandes world

The Casas Grandes World
This book focuses on a remarkable prehistoric culture that extended through parts of present-day Chihuahua, Sonora, New Mexico, Texas, and Arizona, centering on the large Mexican site of Casas Grandes. The thousands of prehistoric sites in this area have only recently been considered related to each other, yet for 250 years, from about AD 1200 to 1425, their inhabitants traded with each other, made coursed-adobe pueblos in the desert country, manufactured magnificent pottery, and produced some of the most extraordinary rock art in North America.

casas grandes

Casas Grandes Pre-Columbian Pottery Decoded: Of Gods and Myths
Ernest H. Christman (Albuquerque NM: Tutorial Press 2002). This monumental and stimulating effort by a lay person to interpret the symbols on prehistoric Casas Grandes pottery, drawing on known Aztec iconography, contains more than a thousand color photographs. 208 pages, hardcover 8.5x11.

miracle of mata ortiz

The Miracle of Mata Ortiz: Juan Quezada and the Potters of Northern Chihuahua
1993 Riverside CA: The Coulter Press. This remains the definitive history of the Mata Ortiz pottery phenomenon. Paperback ISBN 0-9637655-0-7.

Southwestern Indian Pottery
1999. Bruce Hucko. Las Vegas, NV: KC Publications, Inc. This 65-page, 9"x12" flexible-cover publication with striking photographs by the author reviews all the various styles of Southwest Indian pottery and comments at the end on trends and collecting. Sticklers for accuracy that we are, we note in the otherwise attractive two-page spread on Mata Ortiz pottery on pages 54-55 that the author credits Juan Quezada with learning from María Martínez, San Ildefonso Pueblo, about black-on-black pottery and introducing it to Mata Ortiz. However, it was Juan's youngest sister, Lydia Quezada, who early in 1980 innovated that technique, in all likelihood unconsciously influenced by María whom she had met a few months earlier during the Maxwell Museum exhibition of Mata Ortiz pottery at UNM, Albuquerque. This highly informative survey of Southwestern Indian pottery is part of KC Publications' Southwest Indian Arts and Crafts Series.


Additional Mata Ortiz Books


Fomento Cultural Banamex
1999 Grandes Maestros del Arte Popular Mexicano. Candida Fernández de Calderón and Alberto Sarmiento, eds. (Mexico City: Fomento Cultural Banamex) Juan Quezada is included in this definitive illustrated reference book on contemporary Mexican popular artists and their work. Although some consider that much of Mata Ortiz art transcends the category of popular art, few Mexicans and a minority of Americans as yet accept ceramics into the category of contemporary fine art. For a contrary view, see the foreword to the exhibition catalog, Crossing Borders /Transcending Categories: Contemporary Art from Mata Ortiz, Mexico, by Stuart A. Ashman, director of Santa Fe's Museum of Fine Arts, and an essay in the same publication by University of New Mexico art professor Bill Gilbert, "The Village of Mata Ortiz." Grandes Maestros is available in English as Great Masters of Mexican Folk Art.

Juan Quezada
Illustrated by the author, Shelley Dale, and available in Spanish or English, this superb children's picture book tells Juan Quezada's story in his own words. In the book, Grandfather Juan, Grandmother Guille and their grandson, Chato, make pottery while sharing Chato's favorite family story: how Juan re-invented the lost ceramic art of their area, shared his knowledge with family and neighbors, and created a better life for their village. The author is an arts educator and is available for classroom and workshop visits. The English version has a glossary for Spanish words used in the text, and both versions contain a map, history, reference and an art lesson plan that meet national education standards. The Spanish version has a bilingual art lesson. Forty pages, fully illustrated. Ages 4-12, Grades K-6. Order from Norman Books

The Potters of Mata Ortiz: Five Barrios, Seven Families
This catalog for the traveling exhibition of the same name (September 1999 thru August 2001) is more than a catalog; it is an important book in its own right. It follows the format of the catalog of the 1995 UNM Art Museum show also curated by Bill Gilbert, The Potters of Mata Ortiz: Transforming a Tradition. The only visual distinction between these two besides the different subtitle is color; the earlier is a distinctive green, this a distinctive blue. It would be easy, therefore, to mistake this for a reprint or revision of the former, which it is not. The book focuses on the recognizable stylistic differences among the neighborhoods and pottery families of Mata Ortiz and contains genealogical trees for seven of the best known pottery families, showing generational relationships for 111 artists. Text in Spanish and English, 64 pages, many black-and-white illustrations of artists and village, 36 in color of the ceramic art.
Order from University of New Mexico Art Museum (505-277-4001 / 7315 Fax), Center for the Arts #1017, UNM, Albuquerque NM 87131. Paper $22.95 (ISBN 0-944282-21-0). Discounts 2-4 copies 20%, 5-20 copies 30%

The Desert Southwest: 4,000 Years of Life and Art
Allan and Carol Hayes, with photographs by John Blom. These authors of the highly recommended Southwestern Pottery: Anasazi to Zuni (Flagstaff AZ: Northland 1999) anticipate a release date in January 2005 by Rio Nuevo Publishing, Tucson. The book includes a significant section on Mata Ortiz art. Contact Al or Carol Hayes (415-332-3489), 33 Spencer Ave., Sausalito CA 94965.

Talking Birds, Plumed Serpents and Painted Women: The Ceramics of Casas Grandes
- Tucson: University of Arizona Press. This beautifully illustrated catalogue of the exhibition by the same name held at the Tucson Museum of Art from December 14 to February 16 contains articles by curator Joanne Stuhr, Christine and Todd VanPool, John Ware, and Eduardo Gamboa. The exhibition features mainly ceramics and is the first to focus on the aesthetic contributions of the ancient Casas Grandes culture. It includes by way of comparison a small selection of contemporary work from Mata Ortiz loaned by the Arizona State Museum. The catalogue, 90 pages with approximately 60 illustrations, is available at for $37.95 or directly from the University of Arizona Press. Contact Joanne Stuhr (520-624-2333, Ext. 126), Curator, Tucson Museum of Art, 140 N. Main Avenue, Tucson, AZ 85701.


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