Mata Ortiz Pottery- How it all Started


In 1976, Spencer Heath MacCallum walked into Bob’s Swap Shop in Deming, New Mexico. There, among the battered pans and chipped china, he came across three, handmade, ceramic pots. Each was perfectly symmetrical, with red and black painted geometric designs covering the extremely thin clay walls.¬† He purchased the pots and took them back home to California. Over the coarse of the next month he couldn’t get the three pots or the unknown maker out of his mind. On his next trip back he asked¬† the owner of the Swap Shop if she had any idea who made them. She did not, but suggested that “Mexico would be a good place to start.” Spencer decided then and there he must find this artist. With only three pictures of the pots to go by, he set off through northern Mexico looking for this unknown potter. He assumed it must be a woman, as all the great American Southwest potters had been: Nampeyo, who revived the Hopi pottery tradition, Maria Martinez (Poveka) of San Ildefonso Pueblo, and Lucy Lewis of Acoma Pueblo. After a day or two of searching, they were given […]