Our partnership with the potters of Mata Ortiz brings us pride year after year. We offer selections of their work to Tucsonans as well as host pottery workshops. Bookmans Speedway recently hosted one such event and happily reports that a new selection of Mata Ortiz works are available.

Mata Ortiz Pottery at Bookmans Speedway

Mata Ortiz is a region of northwest Chihuahua, Mexico best known for the world-class artists who work there. Producing some of the most stunning and inspired works of art, the Mata Ortiz community has been the home to a ceramics renaissance. Starting in 1955, an untrained 15-year-old woodcutter named Juan Quezada became interested in the pottery he discovered throughout the Palanganas and Casas Grandes valleys. He set out to recreate the exciting work he loved. Through trial and error he tested varieties of clay, tempers and slip colorants and devised methods of forming, slipping, painting and firing pottery. These early works were humble but by 1975 Juan supported his family by selling his works and expanded with the help of others.

Anthropologist Spencer MacCullum encountered Quezada’s work in a New Mexico junk shop and tracked him down. Spencer then promoted the work and eventually through exhibitions, pottery-making workshops and demonstrations the Mata Ortiz region and it’s spectacular pottery became world known.

Today many artists work in the Mata Ortiz style. Each one contributes their own style and creativity. One such potter is Oralia Lopez. Lopez set the standard in Mata Ortiz for finely executed geometric pottery designs. Inspired by the heritage of Native American religious symbolism in geometrically patterned ceramics, Oralia creates some of the most exceptional works and is known widely throughout North America, Europe and Asia. Her work is available to the Tucson area at Bookmans Speedway.

Lopez recently hosted a pottery painting workshop and demonstration where she showed her works and helped tutor others in pottery painting. Stop by Bookmans Speedway to see the works of this dedicated and highly-skilled artist and look for future opportunities to attend Lopez’s workshops.