|This is David's and my collection of black on black pottery.|
|Traditional Paquimé Design|
The story of how the sleepy, impoverished village of Mata Ortiz came to life again reads almost like a fairy tale. At the very least, the series of events that transformed this village is a minor miracle by anyone's standards.
When twelve-year-old Juan Quezada, always a loner, wandered the fields surrounding his home in the late 1950s, he found the ancient pottery shards of the Paquimé artisans and decided he would try to duplicate their work.
|I love this modern interpretation of Day of the Dead.|
A traveling salesman received the gift of three pots, but, needing practical items more than art, he traded the pots for clothes in Deming, New Mexico, at Bob's Swap Shop. This unprepossessing spot is where Spencer MacCallum found them.
MacCallum, an anthropologist with a specialty in art history, accompanied his friend on a trip to Deming where he found the pots at Bob's. Intrigued by their symmetry and flair, he bought them and placed them on a shelf back home. He knew an extraordinarily talented person had created them, but he had little hope of finding the artist. He tried to forget the pots, but his mind returned to them again and again.
|This is a Mata Ortiz artist's kitchen and warehouse for pots.|
|The kitchen table doubles as a space for painting pots.|
|This award-winning artist is preparing for an upcoming show.|
|Eventually, the pots (The ones in the foreground are upside down .) temporarily become part of the artist's home decor.|
When you're in the artist's home, don't forget to notice the humble work places--a kitchen table covered by oil cloth--where this beautiful art is painted. You might see the "kiln," which usually consists of a firepit and a few bricks, if you look closely at the backyard.
|The modern geometric designs are even more amazing when you realize everything is done by hand using home-made brushes.|
Receiving a permit and driving across the border is quite easy with a bit of advance planning. Remember that you will need duplicates of all necessary documents which is much easier to do before you leave home. There will be a photocopy machine at the border, so don't despair if you forget a copy. See this website for the list of documents you will need.
|Officer removes the sticker when we cross back to US,|
While Chihuahua is considered one of the safest states in Mexico, you MUST have Mexican car insurance any time you cross the border. I have found Lewis & Lewis to be one of the cheapest and best. David and I paid just under $50 US for four days in Mexico. You can, of course, find other insurance companies or perhaps your US provider can add a proviso for your visit.
Ron and Sue Bridgemon, Tucsonans who travel and lead tours to this area several times a year, maintain a wonderful, detail-filled website with information about driving in Mexico, the many sites to see on your way to Mata Ortiz, and the best places to overnight and dine. Don't leave home without reading this site!