Ancient pieces of pottery inspired Juan Quezada to experiment with different clays and create pottery

Mata Ortiz

Mata Ortiz is a small rural village in the state of Chihuahua, Mexico. There, over 300 of the villagers are creating the most beautiful, individually designed and handcrafted pottery.


Juan Quezada taught himself the art of creating pottery and shared this information with his brothers, sisters and neighbors so to spread his knowledge throughout the town of Mata Ortiz.


When Juan Quezada was a 12 year old boy he left school to help his family by gathering wood in the nearby mountains. As he wandered across the plains he found shards of ancient pottery.

Three years later he began his quest to make pottery the way it had been done by the ancient peoples of Paquime. In 1971, after 15 years of observation and experimentation, Juan succeeded and recreated the whole pottery making process. This process started with mining, treating and forming the clay to decorating and firing the pots.