April 1, 2016

News / Social Notes

News (Scroll down midway for Social Notes)


Laura Bugarini Wins Award


Master potter Laura Bugarini was selected as the Outstanding Woman in Arts for 2016 in the state of Chihuahua. Governor Lic. Cesar Duarte presented the award to Laura in a ceremony held in Chihuahua City. See photos on the Calendar’s Facebook page.



Road Construction to Continue


Apparently the funds have been allocated to continue the road construction and paving on two locals projects of great interest to visitors to the region. The next segment of the road to Sonora will be completed past the turnoff to Cueva de la Olla, past El Willy, and on to the Chihuahua/Sonora border. Pavement from Mexico Highway 2 will be extended for another 4.5 kilometers toward El Berrendo. This will nearly complete paving to the New Mexico border at Antelope Wells. 



Hector & Laura in Hall of Fame


In the fall of 2014, a Hall of Fame was created in Casas Grandes to recognize those individuals who have made significant contributions to the art, culture, and sports of northwestern Chihuahua. In November 2014, 22 were inducted into the 2014 Hall of Fame including Juan Quezada and Spencer MacCallum. Now, in December 2015, 10 new inductees were honored including Hector Gallegos, Jr. for his bodybuilding achievements and Laura Bugarini for her many ceramic awards. Congratulations to both! Read more at http://www.akronoticias.com/2015/12/9813-51224.htm

There are a few pictures on the Calendar’s Facebook page.


Casas Grandes Meteorite Back at Paquimé?


Well, a piece (a very small piece) is now viewable in the gift shop at the Museum of Northern Cultures at Paquimé. The one and a half ton iron meteorite was discovered by treasure hunters in 1867 buried within the ruins of Paquimé. It currently resides in the Hooker Hall of Geology at the Smithsonian. While people are currently working to repatriate the meteorite to Casas Grandes, there is at least a piece back home. The gift shop also has an interpretative brochure on the meteorite for purchase.


La Junta 2015


Over 50 people attended the 19th annual gathering (La Junta) of the Friends of Mata Ortiz which was held October 9-11, 2015. This year’s “field trip” included a tour of the Don Cuco distillery in Janos, a wonderful lunch provided by the Jaquez family, and a visit to the archaeological site at Cerro del Diablo.


Friday’s reception/fiesta was again held at the historic Hacienda de San Diego just north of Mata Ortiz with a scrumptious dinner prepared by Sara Ramirez. Once again the Saturday dinner was held along the Palanganas River at the beautiful Stover home and the fabulous meal was prepared by Mata Ortiz restaurateur and potter Miriam Gallegos. Gloria Hernandez again hosted the Sunday brunch in her back yard with pisole and all its fixings.


The Saturday session held in the new Mata Ortiz library included presentations by Ron Bridgemon (Cave/mine on Cerro Moctezuma), Ron & Vicki Sullivan (“new” and revealing Pancho Villa photos), Virginia Romney (history behind the building of the Colonia Juárez Temple), Phil Stover (potter Javier Martinez), Diego Valles (Grupo Siete organization), Diana Acosta (Happy Hearts organization), and Walter Parks (Mata Ortiz Foundation). A film by Dick Ryan on the early potters of Mata Ortiz was shown in the afternoon.


Check the Calendar’s Facebook page for photos of the event.



Congratulation to Casas Grandes


On September 25, 2015, in Puebla, Mexico, the Secretary of Tourism announced that Casas Grandes has now been added to the list of Pueblos Mágicos within the county. Casas Grandes was the only city so named from Chihuahua this year. Hopefully the Pueblo Mágico designation will bring more tourists to the region.


Flooding along the Palanganas/Casas Grandes River


The late September monsoon, coupled with a tropical depression along the Baja coast, caused the river to crest again this summer. Record levels flooded some homes and inundated many fields with crops. The bridges between Nuevo Casas Grandes and Casas Grandes were closed briefly and the south bridge will be closed for a time to repair the approach.


XVIII Mata Ortiz Ceramics Competition


The presentation of awards for the concurso took place at the football rápido arena across from the Mata Ortiz train station on June 20, 2015. Congratulations to all the winners. Presidente Umberto ‘Beto’ Baca Tena mentioned the important role that Spencer MacCallum played in fostering the talent now prevalent in the village. The ceramics were again displayed in the train station.


See our Facebook page to view photographs of the first place winners.


Premio a la Excelencia - Award of Excellence

          José Armando Quezada Talamantes

Galardon - Grand Prize

          Celia Ivon Veloz Sáenz

White Polychrome

1.    Jesús Octavio Silveira Sandóval

2.    Roberto Olivas Hernández

3.    Guadalupe Lucero Sandoval

4.    Ernesto Arras Olivas

Black burnished with graphite with or without design

1.    Aracely Domínguez Nuñez

2.    Laura Quintana Valenzuela

3.    Nicolasa Andrew Hernández

4.    Efren Quezada Olivas

Figures or Sculptures

1.    Norma Fabiola Silveira Hernández

2.    Tomás Quintana Garcia

3.    Nancy Guadalupe Heras Cota

4.    Sandra Viviana Martinez López

Traditional Color, with or without design

1.   Myrna Ramona Hernández Lucero                                                             

2.   Angela Estrella Silveira Hernández

3.   Luis Armando Rodríguez Mora

4.  Antonio Sandóval Trevizo                                           


1.    Laura Bugarini Cota

2.    Olivia Domínguez Renteria

3.    Edgar Ivan Martínez López

4.    Angel Antonio Guerrero Trillo

Non-Traditional Color, with or without desgn

1.   Cesar Elias Domínguez Nuñez

2.   Guillermo Varela Pérez

3.      Gloria Azucena Reyes Roque

4.      Sulma Orozco Rios


1.   Carla Martínez Vargas

2.   Guadalupe Gallegos Garcia

3.   Virginia Lozoya Delgado

4.   Eligio Ortiz Domínguez 

Honorable Mention

1.    Ramiro Veloz Casas

2.    Claudia Ledezma Loya

3.    Jerardo Tena Sandóval

4.    Efraín Lucero Juárez


Sotol Article


Here’s an interesting article on the history of sotol and its production at the Don Cuco distillery by the Jaquez family in Janos. This distillery will be part of the field trip during this year’s Gathering of the Friends of Mata Ortiz in October. http://newmexicomercury.com/blog/comments/a_sotol_story


Possible Assistance for Chihuahua Artisans


Akronoticias, the online news for northwestern Chihuahua, outlines moves being made to seek financial assistance for artists coming into the U.S. to sell their goods: http://www.akronoticias.com/2015/05/9806-39046.htm


Work on Highway 2


The new road construction in the valley west of San Luis Pass has essentially completed phase one. The five mile section was open except for about a half mile as of June 18, 2015.


While no new pavement has been added to the existing three kilometers on the new El Berrendo turnoff, the dirt road is improved and now continues straight to the border at Antelope Wells, New Mexico.  The entire spur from Highway 2 to the U.S. border is now only six miles.


Road Construction Update


People traveling between Agua Prieta and Janos will be happy to learn that the five mile section of Highway 2 in the valley east of the San Luis Mountains is now open except of a quick detour around a bridge site at the eastern end. This widened section of road will make for smooth sailing until construction starts on the next section.


They have opened the turnoff to El Willy/Cueva de la Olla at Stevens. While the new road is not finished, you can drive on asphalt for about 4 kilometers. This means that between Mata Ortiz and Cueva de la Olla, there is now only about two kilometers of dirt road left (high clearance still required).



MacCallum To Receive the Ohtli Award


On May 5th, the Consulate General of Mexico will present Spencer MacCallum with the Ohtli Award. This is one of Mexico’s top honors and is given to an individual who has made a significant contribution to promoting Mexican culture. MacCallum was nominated for the award by the Mexican Consul in El Paso. The process required approval by a national selection committee. Ohtli is a Nahuatl word and means “pathfinder” in the Aztec language. Each year the Mexican government honors a Mexican native living abroad, who, through their work or talent, makes a difference and reinforces relations with Mexico. In a significant departure this year, the award was given to a foreigner living in Mexico.

Read more from Akronoticias: http://www.akronoticias.com/2015/05/9808-39135.htm

Check our Facebook page for photographs and use this link to watch a video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sVIIfaExrLc&feature=youtu.be


Potters Win Awards in March


Village potters placed well in several ceramics competitions during March 2015.  At the Concurso Gran Premio Nacional de Arte Popular in Mexico City, three potters came away winners. Laura Bugarini received a First Prize, Elias Peña a Second Prize, and Salvador Baca a Third Prize. In Oaxaca City at the Foro Nacional de Grandes Maestros y Maestras del Arte Popular, Hector Gallegos Jr. won a Second Prize. Diego Valles received a Second Prize at the Latin American Art Festival in San Diego, California.  Congratulations to them all.


University Student from Mata Ortiz Still in Need of Financial Assistance


Your editors are still collecting funds to assist Hector Mario Heras Martinez with his university studies. We thank those who have already contributed.


Steve Rose introduced us to Mario as he was starting his university studies in chemistry at UACH in Chihuahua City. Mario was a top student through his schooling in Mata Ortiz and as a chemist myself (Ron), I wanted to support him in his desire to study chemistry.


In this current semester, Mario is taking General Chemistry, Organic Chemistry, Thermodynamics, Physics, Ecology, and English along with three laboratory sessions. Believe me, I know how hard a load this is and Mario is trying to work part time. He is working 2-4 hours when he can, repairing computers in a cyber café. Unfortunately, he is only being paid $1.50/hour.


Such an intellectual and motivated student from Mata Ortiz needs to be encouraged to continue his studies. Hopefully the Friends of Mata Ortiz will help. To read more about Mario, go to the Archives Page and read the October 2014 Letter to the Editors. His thank you for his first semester funding is found on the News & Social Notes Page. Scroll halfway down the page to Social Notes and read the fourth entry titled “Support for College Student.” It only takes about $450/semester to support this fine young man.


Checks should be made out to Ron Bridgemon and sent to 4545 W. Flying Diamond, Tucson, Arizona, 85742. We will take the funds directly to Mario. Thanks again for any help you can provide.


The MacCallums Have Moved


Spencer and Emi MacCallum have moved from their Casas Grandes home at the corner of Calle Revolucion and Calle Victoria to one of their other properties in El Pueblo, Casa Roja. They call their new home Casa Norte as they now reside in the north half of Casa Roja.  They still enjoy visits from Mata Ortiz enthusiasts. To find their house, turn south onto Calle Victoria in front of their old house.  Casa Roja is on the west side of Calle Victoria just two blocks south of Avenida Benita Juárez.


Electricity Possible for Remote Communities


The governor of Chihuahua and the mayor of the Casas Grandes municipality have proposed extending electrical service to the neighboring communities in the Sierra Madres (El Willy, Pacheco) and along the Palanganas River.



Agave Lindo Tours


After serving as a high school principal in Casas Grandes and Nuevo Casas Grandes for a few years, Diana Acosta is returning to full time tourism with her company, Agave Lindo Tours. Your editors highly recommend this experienced bilingual guide for all your tourism needs in the Mata Ortiz region (and beyond). She will be perfect for those driving down on their own (ed.- we have driven down 174 times from Tucson since 1996 without incident). Diana can be contacted at dianahsd[at]gmail.com, 520-838-9729 (Tucson number that rings in Mexico) or her Mexican cell 636-103-6004.


The Mimbres-Paquimé Binational Tourism Corridor


Tourism managers in New Mexico and Nuevo Casas Grandes met to discuss cross border cooperation that should bring more tourists to the Gila Cliff dwellings (Silver City)/Paquimé corridor. The Albuquerque Journal featured an interesting article on this meeting: http://www.abqjournal.com/538370


Contact us for most recent info


With all the continuing road construction in the region and recent policy changes, we recommend you contact us for the latest information if you are planning on driving to the village.


Casas Grandes Road Change


If you have driven to Mata Ortiz in recent years, you are aware of the one-way streets that now pass through the middle of Casas Grandes.  The old main road (Avenida Benito Juárez) through town became a two-lane, east bound only road at Calle Victoria as you came from Mata Ortiz and Calle Revolucion became a two-lane west bound road as you entered town from Nuevo Casas Grandes. The municipality announced that both roads would again become two-way streets, with the change being made on January 30, 2015 for Avenida Benito Juárez.  Calle Revolucion will switch back to two-way traffic on February 13, 2015. Use caution as it will take some time for the locals to adjust to this change.


Construction on Highway 2


For those traveling from Agua Prieta, be prepared for major construction on Highway 2 in Sonora in the valley before going up the mountains into Chihuahua. They are in the middle of a widening project. All traffic is being diverted onto a dirt road north of the old road. Fortunately, the dirt is hard packed and you can maintain a decent speed. Also, it’s a good place to pass several slow trucks.


Bypassing Trucks at the Sonora Checkpoint


Recently, travelers have been encountering a long line of stopped, west-bound trucks at the Sonora military checkpoint on Highway 2. Be aware that you do not have to wait in this truck line. A dirt road on the right parallels the highway and starts at the 5km sign that announces the upcoming checkpoint. There are many places where you can drop down onto this dirt road as you get close to the truck backup.



Spencer MacCallum Receives Two Awards


● The first Festival of Casas Grandes took place October 23-25, 2014, at the Museum of the Northern Cultures at Paquimé. The festival was hosted by the Museum in coordination with the municipalities of Janos, Ascension, Galeana, Buenaventura, and Nuevo Casas Grandes, and Casas Grandes. It was part of the commemorative events for the 75th anniversary of the founding of INAH, and the 30 years of the delegation in Chihuahua.

During the Festival on October 24th, Spencer MacCallum was awarded the first Promotor del Patrimonio Cultural award for his promotion of Mata Ortiz pottery, restoration of houses in central Casas Grandes, and general promotion of tourism in the region. The award itself was a Macaw made by Tomas Quintana and a tile with the names of many potters who were involved with its creation.

Jorge Carrera, the director of INAH in Chihuahua, described the award as a beautifully designed Macaw de Paquimé, "made by the hands of the master potters Spencer has both cultivated and promoted." The Museum vestibule was full with many Mata Ortiz potters and several visitors from the U.S. The group gave Spencer a standing ovation as he accepted the award. (See photographs on our Facebook page.)


● The municipality of Casas Grandes has established a Hall of Fame for those individuals who have excelled in sports and the promotion of culture. The Hall, located in the Casas Grandes gymnasium, will officially open on November 21, 2014. Akronoticias, the on-line news service for northeastern Chihuahua, announced on October 29, 2014, the first 22 inductees would include 16 sportsmen and six in the cultural category. Among the six cultural inductees were Spencer MacCallum and Juan Quezada. To read more and see the names of all the new Hall members, go to the Akronoticias page: http://www.akronoticias.com/2014/10/9829-31430.htm (The award ceremony was postponed until November 25 so the Governor could attend.)


18th Gathering of the Friends of Mata Ortiz


Over October 9-12, 2014, about 50 people from California, Arizona, and New Mexico attended this year’s successful Gathering of the Friends of Mata of Ortiz. There was a field trip to the Valley of the Caves with many making their first visit. Wonderful meals were prepared for the group at the historic Hacienda de San Diego, the home of Jeanne and Phil Stover, and the home of Gloria Hernandez. Thanks go out to all of the hosts and to the amazing cooking of Sarah Acosta, Steve Rose, and Gloria Hernandez. Richard Ryan, Richard O’Connor, Ron Bridgemon, Phil Stover, Walter Parks, and Spencer MacCallum gave brief history, archaeology, and pottery presentations at the new Mata Ortiz library.

The organizing committee of Diana Acosta, Ron & Sue Bridgemon, Spencer & Emi MacCallum, Richard O’Connor, Phil & Jeanne Stover, and Walter Parks did another outstanding job putting the affair together. (See photographs on our Facebook page.) Make your plans now to attend the 2015 Gathering.


Road to El Willy


As has been reported earlier, the pavement into the Sierra Madre Mountains is now paved all the way to Colonia Pacheco. They are currently doing major work on the road that goes to El Willy. Access to this highway will be just west of the new Stevens Bridge. As of October 2014, you drive on parts of the new road bed as you travel to Valley of the Caves and Cueva de la Olla. Amazingly, you can now leave Mata Ortiz and reach the parking lot below Cueva de la Olla in an hour and a half (this still entails seven kilometers of dirt road). (See our Facebook page for road construction photos.)

While attending the induction ceremony for the Casas Grandes Hall of Fame, the Governor of Chihuahua flew by helicopter up to El Willy to inaugurate the opening of a new health clinic.  The El Willy clinic will serve all the surrounding mountain communities.


Tlaquepaque 2014 Results


After several delays in announcing the awards for the 2014 Premio Nacional de la Cerámica Tlaquepaque, we can now congratulate three winners from Mata Ortiz. Olivia Dominguez took second place in the Sculpture category with her piece titled Las Viboras (The Twin Snakes), Elvira Bugarini’s Lineas Caprichosas (Capricious Lines) entry received second place in the Polychrome category, and Salvador Baca got third place in the Polychrome category.


Silver City Clay Festival


The Third Annual Clay Festival (July 30-August 3) in Silver City, New Mexico, was a real success. Three potters from Mata Ortiz were accepted into the Tile & Vessel exhibition. Diego Valles won first place, Caesar Dominguez took third place, and Jesus Nunez received an honorable mention. Diego Valles and Carla Martinez conducted a well attended two-day workshop.  Frequent Mata Ortiz visitor Claude Smith opened an excellent exhibition on the campus of Western New Mexico University during the Festival.  A two hour panel discussion on various Mata Ortiz topics was held with Ron Bridgemon, Marko Fields, Spencer MacCallum, Claude Smith, and Diego Valles. (See Festival photos on our Facebook page)


Tonalá Ceramics Competition


Over 300 artisans from across Mexico entered the ninth national ceramics competition held in Tonalá, Jalisco (within the Guadalajara metropolitan area). Winners in several categories were announced on July 19, 2014. Congratulations go out to the four winners from Mata Ortiz: José Martinez (2nd Place – Traditional), Ivon Martinez (3rd Place - Traditional), Olivia Dominquez Renteria (2nd Place – Contempory), and Carla Martinez (2nd Place – Miniature)


Mormon Dedication in Colonia Pacheco


Some seventy Mormons from across the U.S. spent a week in Mexico (July 19-26, 2014). They all had lived or were descendants of those who had lived in Colonia Pacheco in the mountains west of Mata Ortiz. Tours were conducted within the colonies during the week as well as a visit to Mata Ortiz and the Hacienda de San Diego. The highlight of the trip was the dedication of a sign and plaque on the monument on Temple Hill just south of Pacheco as part of the July 24th Pioneer Day celebration. (See photos on our Facebook page.)


Amerind Muesum Makes New Paquimé Film Available


Casas Grandes, also known as Paquimé, has long been recognized as one of the premier pre-Hispanic communities in the northwest Mexico/U.S. Southwest region, or Northwest/Southwest, yet the history of research in the area has varied greatly through time. Paquimé is located in the Northwest corner of Chihuahua, Mexico. It is unfortunately less well known than some of the iconic sites north of the border. One of the unfortunate things about the location of Paquimé, or Casas Grandes, is that it’s sandwiched between two of the most intensively studied archaeological areas in the world. To the north, the U.S. Southwest has captivated much attention. Many archaeologists over more than a century have investigated hundreds of pre-Hispanic archaeological sites, many of which are visually impressive. The remains that have been found in these sites and cliff dwellings excite the imagination. To the south in Mesoamerica, spectacular ruins have attracted attention for centuries. The great pyramids of the Maya that dot the jungles of Southern Mexico along with the ruins of the Aztec, Olmec, and Zapotec civilizations in Central Mexico have understandably fascinated archaeologists for centuries. Very few North American archaeologists have ventured south of the border to Chihuahua (or other borderland states). Most of those who have done so did not make these areas their professional focus so research continued in fits and starts. Likewise, Mexican archaeologists largely ignored the northernmost part of their country. The watershed for Chihuahuan archaeology was the Joint Casas Grandes Expedition, which conducted fieldwork from 1958 to 1961. Conceived by Charles C. Di Peso and William Shirley Fulton, founder and patron of the Amerind Foundation, and in collaboration with the Instituto Nacional de Antropología e Historia, or INAH, the expedition still remains after many decades the largest internationally collaborative archaeological project in the United States-Mexico borderlands. Di Peso was responsible for the excavations, analyses, and publication of the results. INAH’s representative, Eduardo Contreras Sanchez, mapped the site and oversaw the herculean task of stabilization and reconstruction of the excavated structures. Along with the Snaketown project in Arizona, the Joint Casas Grandes Expedition was one of the two largest and best-organized archaeological projects of its day in the region. Di Peso and Contreras were supported by a large and diverse staff; including in the field, in the laboratory, and during preparation of the publication which would be titled Casas Grandes: A Fallen Trading Center of Gran Chichimeca and published in 1974 by the Amerind.

The Amerind's very own documentary film about Paquimé (aka Casas Grandes) covers the excavations, current research, and inspiration for the Mata Ortiz pottery movement. The film, titled Paquimé: An Ancient Town, A Continuing Inspiration is available on DVD and Blu-Ray formats. Check the Amerind’s website for ordering details: www.amering.org



XVII Mata Ortiz Ceramics Competition


The 17th pottery concurso took place at the Mata Ortiz train station on May 31, 2014. Congratulations to all the winners. Presidente Umberto Baca Tena mentioned the important role that Spencer MacCallum played in fostering the talent now prevalent in the village. One speaker mentioned that she was happy to see many Americans back and hoped more would return in the future. More advertizing would be done for next year.


See our Facebook page to view photographs of the first place winners. Total prize money awarded this year totaled over $27,000.


Premio a la Excelencia - Award of Excellence (top cash award)

          Angel Antonio Guerrero Trillo

Galardon - Grand Prize

          Diego Gerardo Valles Trevizo

White Polychrome

5.    Laura Bugarini Cota

6.    Norma Hernández

7.    Jesús Manuel Pedregón Ledezma

8.    José Fermín Villa Ortiz

Black burnished with graphite with or without design

5.    Susana Sandra López Aldaváz

6.    Salvador Baca Carbajál

7.    Antonio Sandoval  Trevizo

8.    Soralla Acosta Zubia

Figures or Sculptures

5.    Leonél Quezada Talamantes

6.    Olivia Dominguez Renteria

7.    Norma Fabiola Silveira Hernández

8.    Veronica Silveira Sandoval

Traditional Color, with or without design

4.   Gregorio Silveira Hernández                                                              

5.   Ramon Villa Ortiz

6.   Elizabeth Quintana Beltran

4.  Eli Navarrete Ortiz                                           

New innovations (Design, Form, Color)

5.    Lorenzo Elias Peña Pacheco

6.    Aracely Dominguez Nuñez

7.    Gloria Azucena Reyes Roque

8.    Virginia Lozoya Delgado


5.    Hector Gallegos Martínez

6.    Martín Olivas Quintana

7.    Hector Eliazar Quintana Piñon

8.    Maria Guadalupe Quezada Trevizo

Non-Traditional Color, with or without desgn

5.      Ramiro Veloz Casas

6.   Cesar Elias Dominguez Nuñez

7.      Ana Luisa Veloz Casas

8.      Gerardo Pedregón Ortiz


5.   Carla Martínez Vargas

6.   Maria del Carmen Tena Gonzales

7.   Jerardo Tena Sandoval

8.   Alan Baca Lozoya 


New Mata Ortiz Exhibit at the Amerind Museum


The Amerind Museum (near Dragoon, Arizona) unveiled a new pottery exhibit on March 1, 2014.  The exhibit features pottery revivals in the southwestern United States and northwestern Chihuahua, Mexico. The exhibit includes pottery from Mata Ortiz, Chihuahua, Jemez Pueblo, New Mexico, and First Mesa, Arizona.  Included within the Mata Ortiz exhibit are some of the recent works of Diego Valles, Hector Gallegos and Laura Bugarini, Elias Peña, Baudel Lopez, Goyin Silveira, Pabla Quezada, Macario Ortiz, and Lila Silveira.

Check out our Facebook page for photos of the exhibit and the Mata Ortiz pottery.



El Berrendo Road


The south end of the El Berrendo/Antelope Wells road is now open. It is possible to turn north onto the new pavement from Highway 2 at Km 56 and head toward the border at El Berrendo. At present, there is only a three kilometer segment of pavement before you intersect the old dirt road. When finished, the paved road will continue straight north to the border.


 New Road West to Sonora


In late April, it was announced that funding was available to construct a new highway from Willy to Huachinera, Sonora.  This would open another and shorter route from the Casas Grandes region to Hermosillo, Sonora. Apparently the new road will travel north from the new Steven Bridge area to Willy before heading west to Sonora. When completed, this would put Valley of the Caves and Cueva de la Olla within a 45 minute drive of Mata Ortiz.


Locals claim that this will not affect the completion of the paved road which now heads south at the Steven Bridge and ends at Colonia Pacheco. When completed, this road will connect with the pavement at Mesa de Huaracán north of Madera.



New Mata Ortiz Library Opens


The new Mata Ortiz library officially opened right after the annual meeting of the Friends of Mata Ortiz in October. While the children are busy using all the new computer stations, the library is still waiting for their wifi connection. See our Facebook page for photos.


Steven Bridge


The bridge across the Piedres Verdes River is finally done and traffic can now use it. Presently it is possible to drive from Mata Ortiz to Colonia Pacheco in only a half hour. See our Facebook page for pictures of the finished bridge.



Silver City Clay Festival


The second annual Silver City Clay Festival was a great success. The “Tile & Vessel” juried exhibition was a wonderful concept that produced some very fine pieces. Mata Ortiz was well represented as ten potters submitted their work. The grand prize winner was Elvira Bugarini. Entries can be viewed on the Calendar’s Facebook page.


Diego Valles and Carla Martinez conducted a workshop and provided demonstrations during the festival. Ron S. Bridgemon, Associate Curator at the Amerind Museum debuted the Amerind’s new film, Paquime: An Ancient Town; A Continuing Inspiration, at the festival. While he claims that this was still a draft version, it was very well received. The Amerind plans to make the movie available in October.



Premio Nacional de Cerámica Concurso


The 37th national ceramic competition was held in Tlaquepaque, Jalisco, at the end of June. Five hundred artists from 26 states entered 1,300 pieces and awards were given in seven categories. On July 4, President Enrique Peña Nieto presented the awards to the first place winners.


Carla Martinez Vargas, Ana Livingston Paddock and Carlotta Boettcher travelled to Jalisco and delivered pottery from various Mata Ortiz artisans (Diego Valles, Laura Bugarini Cota, Goyin Silveira, Graciela Martinez, Debbie Flanigan, Pricila Martinez, Eli Navarrete and his wife Vicky, as well as Carla Martinez).


Congratulations to Laura Bugarini who won first place in the traditional ceramic category. The following link shows President Nieto congratulating the first place winners, including Laura:  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IgNfYKlw2xo


Other winners from Mata Ortiz include Viviana Martinez and Carla Martinez Vargas.


Concurso National de la Cerámica Tonallan


The Eighth Ceramic Competition in Tonala, Jalisco, was held in mid July, 2013. Over 240 artists participated in the event that culminated with a July 19 awards presentation. Congratulations go out to those from Mata Ortiz who won awards: Carla Martinez Vargas, Olivia Dominguez Renteria , Adrian Rojas, and Mariano Quezada.


Theater Construction


Construction at the park around the old train station in the village continues. Immediately south of the nearly completed new library, most of the block work has been completed for an outdoor theater/amphitheater. More playground equipment had been placed in the park and sidewalks have been installed along Camino Ferrocarril. Check our Facebook page for photos of all the new work. The August 2013 Sights album has a picture of the progress at the theater.



XVI Mata Ortiz Ceramics Competition


The 16th pottery concurso took place at the Mata Ortiz train station on May 25, 2013. Congratulations to all the winners. Dr. Héctor Torres Simental, representing the Governor of Chihuahua, spoke and emphasized the important role that Spencer MacCallum and Juan Quezada played in fostering the talent now prevalent in the village.


See our Facebook page to view photographs of the first place winners.



Premio a la Excelencia - Award of Excellence (top cash award)

          Laura Bugarini Cota


Galardon - Grand Prize

          Hector Javier Martinez Mendez


White Polychrome

9.   Cruz Renteria Heras

10.         Elvira Bugarini Cota

11.         Roberto Olivas Hernandez

12.         Celia Ivon Veloz Saenz

Black burnished with graphite with or without design

9.    Suzana Sandra Lopez Aldavaz

10.         Adrian Rojas Valdez

11.         Salvador Baca Carbajal

12.         Ernesto Ramirez Silva

Figures or Sculptures

9.    Tomas Quintana Garcia

10.         Luz Algelica Lopez Cota

11.         Olivia Dominguez Renteria

12.         Lorenzo Elias Peña Pacheco

Traditional Color, with or without design

7.   Carlos Mario Loya Jaquez

8.   Jesus Octavio Silveira Sandoval

9.   Ramiro Veloz Casas

4.  Gregorio Silveira Hernandez                                                               4.   Silvia Edelmira Silveira Sandoval

New innovations (Design, Form, Color)

9.    Aracely Dominguez Nuñez

10.         Sabino Villalba Hernandez

11.         Efren Quezada Olivas

12.         Nancy Guadalupe Heras Cota


9.    Angel Antonio Guerrero Trillo

10.         Carla Bibiana Lopez Cota

11.         Jorge Heriberto Mora Soto

12.         Jaime Villa Lopez

Non-Traditional Color, with or without desgn

9.      Cesar Navarrete Ortiz

10.        Guillermo Varela Perez

11.  Rosa Elena Renteria Heras


9.   Carla Martinez Vargas

10.        Maria del Carmen Teña Gonzales

11.        Virginia Maria Hernandez Chavez

12.        Norma Cecilia Hernandez Lucero 




Roberto Hernandez’ wood pieces now available in Tucson


Well known wood worker Roberto Hernandez, brother of Mata Ortiz potter Gloria Hernandez, now has seven pieces of his work on display at Bakers Fine Furniture in Tucson (2303 East Grant Road). Roberto was a featured artist in The Magnetism of Mata Ortiz.



Mata Ortiz Grupo Siete AC


Diego Valles supplied the following information regarding Grupo Siete (2012). It was also about time Mata Ortiz had its own people working on their behalf. We heard so many times and from many sources all the good things others were doing to help Mata Ortiz and how we were going to be included in their projects and such, and people is realizing it will not happen unless we do it. Because although we are focusing on putting Mata Ortiz in the contemporary art world, we will also be working on fixing community needs, from education to the way the village looks. The first project we have regarding education is UNIVERSITY FOR MATA ORTIZ; it really means that if we cannot have a university here in town, we can still take all of our students through university. So we are raising funds to do so with activities like the pots sale at the Tucson Botanical Gardens. Those pots are donated by the members of the group by the way. We are accepting donations as well, and since we are a non-profit organization legally formed we are giving tax deductible receipts to donors.


Members of Gruo Sieta are Gregorio Silveira Hernandez, Maria Graciela Martinez Quezada, Diego Gerardo Valles Trevizo (President), Carla Martinez Vargas, Jesús Armando Valles Trevizo, Celia Ivón Veloz Sáenz (Secretary), Hector Gallegos Martinez (Treasurer)



Mata Ortiz Maps


As reported earlier in the Calendar, Dave Nelson’s computer expertise has allowed him to combine imagery of the village with potter’s homes and local services. This interactive map of Mata Ortiz was accomplished with the help of several part-time American residents and potters of Mata Ortiz. At present, there are two resources available to you, both apparently helped by Dave’s pioneering efforts.


The first version is viewable within the Agave Lindo website. You can go directly to the map page at www.agavelindotours.com/mata_ortiz_map.html. You can search for the home of your favorite potter as well as locate various village services. The map is a work in progress and Dave welcomes your comments, input, and corrections. The entire website will be of great valuable if this is your first visit to the region.


If you are already familiar with Mata Ortiz and are looking for a particular potter, Casa Aurora Publications has created a website where you can download maps. Go to http://www.mataortizmap.com.  The site also has a nice slide show of the village.



Grupo Siete

Learn about this new non-profit organization on the Editorial Archives page (April 2012).



Corazones Alegres (Happy Hearts)

Learn about the activities of this group on the Editorial Archives page (April 2012).



Casa Aurora Publications & Centro Cultural

Carlotta Boettcher and Ana Livingston Paddock have established an independent publishing house and exhibition space with a focus on history, culture, art, and photography located in Mata Ortiz. To date (2012) they have published Mata Ortiz: The Art of Survival – The Survival of Art, Volume 1, Graciela & Hector Gallegos and Invoking the Ancestors.  See the Publications page for information about these two books or visit their website: http://www.casaaurorapublications.com

Mata Ortiz Foundation Completes Fourth Project


Mata Ortiz pottery traders and friends of Mata Ortiz several years ago at one of their annual Gatherings established the Mata Ortiz Foundation to work with the people of Mata Ortiz to benefit the community. As a fund of the International Community Foundation of San Diego, a 502(c)(3) entity that can make tax-exempt contributions outside the United States, the Foundation combines tax-deductible donations from the United States with local resources. Unidos por Mata Ortiz, a local non-profit qualified under IRS rules as a receiving entity, initiates village projects and requests Foundation grants.

LIBRARY:  In January 2003, Unidos made a community library its first project. Manuel Mora, school teacher and president of Unidos, obtained Mexican federal and state approvals along with books and materials; a private Mexican supplier of educational materials donated educational videos; the Ejido de Juan Mata Ortiz provided a building on the river street; and the Municipio de Casas Grandes poured a new floor and engaged a librarian, Armando Valles. The Mata Ortiz Foundation donated $11,000 for chairs, desks, shelves, a new door, bathrooms, a sturdy fence around the property and a stone retaining wall along the river in back. The library was dedicated on Saturday, October 8th, 2007 following the annual Gathering of Traders & Friends of Mata Ortiz. The library is now fully functional. Dropping in recently on a Thursday afternoon, Spencer and Emi MacCallum found two children playing chess and half-a-dozen others absorbed in reading.

SCHOOLROOMS:  Encouraged by the success of its first project, Unidos por Mata Ortiz decided the village needed two more schoolrooms in the badly overcrowded and under-provided middle school. With a grant of $8,000 from the Foundation, private donations from the village, and an air-conditioning system from the State of Chihuahua, Unidos built and furnished in January, 2008 two new classrooms which are now in use.

COMPUTER LAB:  Unidos por Mata Ortiz then thought their next priority should be to equip a computer lab in the middle school. The new classrooms freed up a room that parents had once built for a computer lab but that the school had had to use for classes. The old computers they had were non-functional. With village resources, which included some donated pots, and a Mata Ortiz Foundation grant of $6,000, the school now has a well equipped computer lab with 15 stations.

KINDERGARTEN:  Most recently, Unidos was concerned about the inadequate kindergarten, which was so overcrowded and poorly equipped that many parents saw no point in sending their children there. The project is now complete and hugely successful, with a second classroom building, heating and air conditioning, new bathrooms, and cement slab for the playground. Little children attend it every day and sit on the new furniture. Donors again were generous, enabling the Foundation to meet its grant commitment of $12,000. More than thirty people (couples counted as one) contributed from fifty to one thousand dollars each to reach that goal.

Unidos por Mata Ortiz is deciding on its next project. Village resources often include donated labor and artwork by the potters and assists from the Municipio and the State of Chihuahua. Any who might like to make a tax-exempt gift to further this work can do so by writing a check to the Mata Ortiz Foundation in care of the International Community Foundation at 2505 N Avenue, National City, CA 91950. Questions can be directed to Walter Parks (951-684-4224), Mata Ortiz Foundation Advisor, 6154 Hawarden, Riverside CA 92506.  wparks909[at]charter.net



Mata Ortiz Jewelry


The future of the fledgling Matiz silver jewelry industry funded by Micky VanderWagen is in grave doubt, after having made such a strong start and attracted international attention (see “Jewelry Concurso” below on this page). It appears that, following several years of litigation in Mexican courts, the 300 acres and improvements of the jewelry school on the north side of Mata Ortiz may be lost due to a clerical error and a technicality in Mexican law. For those interested in how this could have happened, contact Spencer MacCallum (915-261-0502, sm@look.net).

On a far better note, the one-of-a-kind silver jewelry incorporating Mata Ortiz shards is selling like hotcakes. Two different people in Taxco design and execute it, Salvador Barrera, originally from Nuevo Casas Grandes, and Agustín Torres Beltrán, a Nahuatl silversmith. Jan and Russ Diers promote and sell it in Tucson and through the following museums and galleries across the country:

Smithsonian’s National Museum of the American Indian on the Mall in

Washington, DC and at their Museum Store in the Custom House,

New York City

Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum  (520-578-3008), Tucson AZ

Blanton Museum of Art  (512-471-4127), Austin TX

Bowers Museum  (714-567-3640), Santa Ana CA

Cabot Pueblo Museum  (760-329-7610), Desert Hot Springs CA

Chiricahua Desert Museum  (575-557-5757), Rodeo NM

El Museo del Barrio  (212-660-7119), New York City

Gilcrease Museum  (918-596-2724), Tulsa OK

Maxwell Museum of Anthropology  (505-277-4405), Albuquerque NM

Newark Museum  (973-596-6696), Newark NJ

Pueblo Grande Museum  (602-495-0901), Phoenix AZ

Silver City Museum (575-538-5921), Silver City NM

Blue Raven Gallery  (520-623-1003), Tucson AZ

Blue Bear Jewelry  (989-724-5888),Harrisville MI

Overlook Gallery  (435-259-3861), Moab UT

Silver Fox Jewelry – Traverse City MI

Tohono Chul Park – Tucson AZ – 520-742-6455

West Southwest Gallery  (303-321-4139), Denver CO

Contact Jan and Russ Diers (520-744-0639), 13845 N. Buckhorn Cholla Drive, Marana, AZ 85653. jandiers[at]msn.com  www.mataortiztoyou.com



Social Notes


This section of the Calendar provides information about weddings, obits, quinceañeras, and other events of interest about Mata Ortiz and its “extended family” of Americanos and Latinos north of the line. Kindly notify us when you learn of interesting things happening of a social nature.



Potters Need Assistance


We know that many friends of Mata Ortiz have “adopted” families in order to help them in times of need. Two well known potters are currently in need. Please help them directly if you can or checks can be sent to your editors and the money will be given to them personally.


Macario Ortiz recently had very expensive eye surgery in Denver due to complications from diabetis. Nancy Heras Martinez has ovarian cancer at the age of 34.



Gaellgos Family Update


We are happy to report that Hector and Laura were able to bring their son Hector III home from Juárez on July 31, 2015, as he had reached the required weight of four kilos. Your editors visited the family on August 3rd and everyone is doing great. Hector III is eating well and gaining weight. Hector Sr. is back in Mata Ortiz after his successful triple-bypass surgery in Mexico City in early September.


Our Thoughts and Prayers are with the Gallegos Family


On May 15, Hector Gallegos Sr. suffered a heart attack while working in his field. He spent three hours in the Dublán clinic before being transported to Juárez. While being evaluated, the doctors considered sending him quickly to Monterey or Mexico City. It was determined that he was too weak to move and that he would most likely need multiple by-pass surgery. By May 26, Hector was improving, the pain had lessened, and there was talk of moving him to Mexico City by air ambulance. Wife Graciela and daughter Miriham would accompany him with other family members flying on their own. At last word, the transport was to occur at the end of May. Hector will be evaluated by the best heart specialist in Mexico City.


We thank Hector Jr. for keeping Steve Rose and Grant Taggart apprised of developments and we appreciate their passing the information on to others.



Sebastian Veloz


It is with extreme sadness that we report the death of two year old Sebastian, son of Celia Veloz and José Pérez. Sebastian suffered a brain aneurism in mid November and died in Chihuahua City on Christmas Eve. He was laid to rest on December 26, 2014. He is survived by his parents and brother Carlitos. We all grieve with family and friends and ask all to pray for them during this horrible time in their lives.


Julio Ledezma


Julián (Julio) Ledezma Jacquéz died as a result of a vehicle accident on January 4, 2015. He is survived by his wife Rosa Ponce, daughter Adriana Ledezma Ponce (wife of Daniel Gallegos), and brother Humberto Ledezma. Condolences go out to the family.



Leonel Quezada


It is with great sadness that we report the loss of Leonel “Chonel” Quezada Talamontes, the second son of the late Nicolás Quezada, this past September. Leonel was an excellent potter in his own right. He assisted his father in teaching classes at Idyllwild Arts in California in 2007 and 2008.


Support for College Student


Thanks to those who responded to Steve Rose’s request for donations (see Editorial Archives page) to assist Hector Mario Heras Martinez with university expenses. Funds were transferred to him on October 25, 2014. We thought you might enjoy reading the email he sent to us. Donations are still being accepted.

Hi. Thanks for this enormous help to me. I am truly grateful for your support. It is a step to continue my studies. I will be sure to take good care of the money only be for my studies, your support is a motivation for me to not give up ever and show that anything is possible with hard work and dedication, and of course put up my community Juan Mata Ortiz in major place. Thank you very much ...And also thanks to all those people who came to my aid. Please give them my sincere thanks.



Mauro Quezada


Mauro has completed ten of his scheduled fifteen chemo treatments. He will leave Mata Ortiz near the beginning of May for his next treatment. All markers are down and the outlook is positive. Mauro is looking good and his attitude is very positive. Financial assistance would still be greatly appreciated. If you wish to make a donation please contact Hector Gallegos Jr. at hectorylaura[at]yahoo.com.mx or Diego Valles at diego_valles[at]yahoo.com or 52 636 661 7137.



Hector Gaellegos, Jr.


Congratulations to Hector for another fine showing, this time at the April 27th Body Building competition in Cuidad Juárez. He took first place in the 75kg and up class and came in third overall.



Potters in Car Accident


Lucy Mora and Lorenso Bugarini went to Phoenix in January for a pottery demonstration at Paradise Valley Community College. They had their two daughters, Lucy's father, and niece with them. They were rear-ended near Casa Grande and three of them were hospitalized, but all have been released now. Fortunately, Lucy has a sister in the Phoenix area so the family will stay with her until they are ready to travel again. We wish them all a speedy recovery. (They are home now and doing well.)



Mata Ortiz Births


Lalo and Rosa Heras’ (Posada owners) youngest daughter Clara and Samuel Lopez (son of Samuel Quezada) are the proud parents of Jasmine. She was born on December 8, 2013.


Baudel López Corona and Soralla Acosta have a new son, Angel López Acosta, born in El Paso in early August, 2013. Goyin Silveira and Graciela Martínez also have a new son, Emiliano Greg Silveira, born in El Paso Texas on July 26, 2013. See pictures of the boys and proud parents on the Calendar’s Facebook page (August 2013 Sights album).


Berenice Rodriquez’ Quinceanera


The January 19th Quinceanera of Berenice Rodriquez was a grand affair. Proud parents Manolo and Olga looked a might stressed (who could blame them!) early on, but they put on a spectacular event. It seemed that the entire village participated. Check out the Mata Ortiz Calendar’s Facebook page to view photographs of the gala.


Baby News


Congratulations to Anaí Heras and Graciela Martínez. Anaí and her husband Mauricio Bañuelos are expecting their second child early next month. Graciela and husband Goyín Silveira are expecting their second child in July. Baudel López Corona and Soralla Acosta are expecting their third child in August.


Young Potter Married


Abagail Marín López, daughter of potters José “Pepe” Marín and Abagail López, was married this past December and now lives in Nuevo Casas Grandes.



Chevo Ortiz


We are sad to inform you that the village has lost another premier potter.  Eduardo “Chevo” Ortiz Estrada passed away December 18, 2012.  This is another great loss to the art community.



Sandi Casillas


Emi MacCallum reports from Casas Grandes:


We always have a party in Casas Grandes on April third. That is, it was that way for eight years. A home-made cake or two, usually from the old Mennonite cookbook. We would have wine, using the best silver and wine glasses. The apricot tree in the garden would be blooming and the birds singing.


April third will be different this year. Sandi Casillas passed away, quietly, with her daughter Emily nearby, on Wednesday, March 28th. We nearly made it to toast her 76th birthday.


Does God know what he is getting? A fine, fine artist, teacher, friend, and neighbor.







Nicolás Quezada was the most important of the initial potters with Juan, sharing his keen experimental mind and doing much of the foundational experimentation with him, especially trying every type of fur, fiber and feather to make the best brushes and developing recipes for colorants — which Juan said was the most technically challenging of all they did. Nicolás continued his experimenting to the end of his life, when he developed a way of making a clay I particularly liked, a clay having the appearance of a rose-colored granite. He once told me many years ago that had conditions been different, he would have liked to be a teacher (as Juan, always observant, would have chosen to be a doctor—a diagnostician). And as things turned out, Nicolás did become a teacher, thought not of academics but of pottery. He taught numerous summers at the Idyllwild School of the Arts (ISOMATA), now Idyllwild Arts. I often told people he had international reputation, remembering how Manuela Casselmann in 2003 brought a group of fourteen studio potters from Germany to study a week with him — all of them women, of great Wagnerian build and with a sense of humor to match, always laughing, and without any Spanish. (Manuela’s’ friend, Kali, also German but from Arizona, spoke a little Spanish.) Nicolás was of slight build, and his studio was small. They had such a grand time that week that if I remember rightly, every summer after, some of that group returned to visit.

          One time Nicolas decided he’d make the perfect pot. He wouldn’t sell it, but would always have it in his home. He took several months, working on it only for short periods of time when he was fully rested. At last it was complete — the perfect pot, the pot he considered to the end of his life to be the best he’d ever made. Someone offered him $5,000 dollars for it, and he refused. Then a phone call from Tucson: a woman collector offered him $6,000. He told me later that the temptation was too great to resist, and he let it go. We hope that if that woman should chance to read these words, she’ll share a picture of Nicolás’ perfect pot with the family and the rest of us.

Nicolás had moved from Mata Ortiz to Casas Grandes some years earlier. He built a comfortable house for himself and Gloria and, most outstanding, a garden with greenhouse, ornamental trees, and stone paths, that I thought deserved to become a visitors’ attraction in its own right. To one side, he grew a large quantity of vegetables as well, and I once asked him how he and Gloria could possibly eat so much produce. He said that of course he and Gloria had some of it, but that he grew it for the poor people of the neighborhood who didn’t have enough to eat. That was Nicolás — teacher, artist, and humanitarian.

Spencer MacCallum



Steve Rose wrote the following regarding Nicolás’ funeral that occurred August 16:


“A great potter was laid to rest today. Nicolás Quezada's Mass was in Mata Ortiz and took place at 4PM and then at 5 the long procession of trucks and cars wound through Bario de López on the way to the pantheon. There was quite a change in the cemetery from just a month ago when we buried our carpenter Leonel Flores. Then you could see all the ground and broken coronas with faded plastic flowers strewn about as if they grew out of the incredible dry earth. This time all the hills are green and the crosses and tombstones were just peeking out from the green grasses and wild flowers. As dark clouds and rain threatened us there was a small ceremony in the little casita that adorns our cemetery. As if on cue as they were lowering him in the ground someone’s car alarm started beating out a staccato type taps. Once laid in the ground, Inez Olivas and Cesar with guitar played Cruz de Olvida and after that Una Pagina Mas. I think all will agree that when Nicolás wanted to make a great pot there was no one who could do it better. His stature was short but his talent was great. We all will remember that smile on his face as he would spin a pot on the table to our amazement and fright. He will be missed. As the last words of the last song said, Es la historia de siempre..”



Kindergarten dedication


Walter Parks reports on the dedication of the expansion of the Mata Ortiz kindergarten: “Last week [June 30, 2011], Dr. O’Connor (a Mata Ortiz Foundation advisor), Ken Wilcox, and I attended the kindergarten graduation in front of the new building. The tents were provided by Tecate, which we thought was premature advertising, but they provided much needed shade on a hot day. It was a grand event and grand to be there representing the Mata Ortiz Foundation. Twenty-seven little people marched, performed, and received their "diplomas." We were given the honor of sitting on the dais with the other dignitaries from government and education. I received a plaque in the name of the Foundation that acknowledged our (your) contribution to the building project. Plaques are plaques, but I have to say I was touched when it was presented. Believe me; your donation went to a very good cause.


New High School


Another great step in the education of the village’s children is the establishment of a high school. The high school was built immediately to the south of the secondary school and construction was completed on the weekend of August 20, 2011. The school will be utilized immediately.





<<<< O >>>>


Previous News of Continuing Interest—


Diego Valles article


Installation (Issue 38, 2013), the first all digital contemporary art magazine, has an excellent article with good photographs about the work of Diego Valles. It is available at:



Laura Bugarini article


The December 2013 issue of Mujer’es Business and Life has a nice one-page article with photos about Laura Bugarini and her recent accomplishments.


La Junta report (from Walter Parks)


Spencer told me the October 2013 was the best Gathering ever.  That is hard for me to say because we have had so many good times over the years.  It worked well this year because everyone helped in big ways and small (including donations). Several people deserve special thanks. Diana Acosta organized the great Friday dinner that her mother Sara prepared at Hacienda San Diego.  Diana also took care of many other logistic details – tables, chairs, drinks, etc.  Phil and Jeanne Stover could not attend. Nevertheless they opened their home for Saturday night and Steve Rose stepped up and prepared one of the best meals I ever had in Mexico or anywhere else. Miriam Gallegos (a good potter) provided tamales and Jeanne Peterson pitched in to help in the kitchen.


Ron and Sue Bridgemon did many things as they always do – from leading a trip to Hacienda Corralitos, mixing margaritas, planning Saturday’s program, to arranging for the use of the new library. They only obtained permission for the library at the last minute because the building is not finished and because a governmental change literally occurred the previous day. They finally found the newly-appointed librarian, and we became the first group to use the space.  Dave Nelson helped them and also led one of the field trips.


Rebecca and Frederick Russell organized Sunday’s brunch with several ladies from Porvenir. They served a wonderful pozole and at the end refused any compensation for their work.  Thank you to all of these squared-away people. (Check out our Facebook page for photos—Eds)


Road to Cueva de la Olla


Except for a two minute detour at the Piedres Verdes River, the road up San Diego Canyon to the west of Mata Ortiz is now paved all the way to Pacheco. This means that only about 7 kilometers of dirt road are left for a trip to Valley of the Caves and Cueva de la Olla. The route bypasses the town of El Willy and comes in from the south to Rancho Blanco. While most of this section of dirt road is very good, a few spots will remind you of the original dirt route. Still, four-wheel drive is not required, just good clearance. (Ed – It took us only an hour to reach Rancho Blanco from Mata Ortiz.)


INAH is now locking the access gate at Rancho Blanco and the open hours are posted as from 9am to 5pm. (Ed – the INAH representative arrived from El Willy at 9:25 the morning we were there.)


Computers needed for the new High School


The Mata Ortiz Foundation is launching a fund raising drive for computers and the computer lab at the new high school (2012).  Previously, the Foundation has helped build a library, a middle-school classroom, a middle-school computer room and a kindergarten building in the village – all very successful projects thanks to the generosity of many of the Friends of Mata Ortiz. Now there is a new project -- the expansion of the high school. Last fall a new two-room high school opened on the hill above the village next to the middle school. A bus was provided to bring students from Colonia Juárez and other nearby areas. Immediately the school was overcrowded. It lacks adequate classrooms and labs. However, there is a commitment to education in the village that did not exist a few years ago. Mata Ortiz leaders, parents, and the local government have embarked on a $75,000 facilities program to meet the needs. Walter Parks finds this amazing as he remembers just a few years ago when three students began riding an old bus to Nuevo Casas – the first ever to attend high school from the village. Last March, the Foundation Advisors met with the nonprofit group in Mata Ortiz, Unidos por Mata Ortiz. The Foundation agreed to provide a grant for $6,000 for computers and the computer lab. This commitment is small in relation to the total program, but the Advisors feel it is realistic during these times. These are not great times for fund raising, but whatever we can do will make a difference. Checks should be made out to the Mata Ortiz Foundation and sent to Walter Parks, Mata Ortiz Foundation Advisor, 6154 Hawarden Dr., Riverside, CA 92506.


Chihuahua event in New York


Well-known chef Zarela Martinez organized an event in New York City that promoted Chihuahua’s rich culture. It was a weeklong series of presentations during June 3-9, 2012, called Chihuahua Querida. In conjunction with The Mexico Tourism Board and the Mexican Cultural Institute on whose board Zarela serves, she organized a series of events to highlight Chihuahua’s food, drink, art, and beautiful landscapes. She was assisted by Carmela Wallace of Casas Grandes. Carmela and Zarela grew up together in Chihuahua.


On June 7, presentations about the Casas Grandes region, Copper Canyon, and archaeology sites were made by Carmela Wallace, Ron Bridgemon, Elsa Rodriquez, and Dave Hensley at Centrico, the restaurant of Zarela’s son Aaron Sanchez, star of programs on the Food Network. Diego Valles conducted a day-long workshop the following day. The entire event put Chihuahua in a much more favorable light than has been done by the media recently.


Check out Raechel Running’s video, Chihuahua Querida 2012, which she put together for the New York event: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=utQvR2f8A4I



Diego Valles at Taliesin in Scottsdale, Arizona


Diego Valles has received a grant to do his artwork at Taliesin as part of the Taliesin Artist Residency Program (TARP). In conjunction with the Frank Lloyd Wright School of Architecture, TARP invites experienced visual artists to engage and respond to the unique characteristics of the architectural sites of Taliesin and Taliesin West and their vibrant communities. TARP is open to visual artists living in the U.S. or abroad with a graduate-level academic background and/or a record of work within the art field, focusing on site-specific installations and contemporary works.

Diego will be working at Taliesin during the fall session which is during November and December, 2012, with a possibility of an extension. At the end of the stay, he will have a show to present the work done during the residency. Diego is very proud to be the first potter to be included in such a program, mostly because it is a program for contemporary artwork, which affirms the position about his work as contemporary, same as that of others from Mata Ortiz.


Peterson Film Wins Award!


Congratulations to Scott Peterson! His film, The Renaissance of Mata Ortiz, received the Directors’ Choice Award for Best Arts Film at the prestigious Sedona International Film Festival held February 18-26, 2012. http://www.sedonafilmfestival.com/Page.asp?NavID=134


Both Sedona screenings of the film were sold out, in part due to the efforts of Raechel Running who arranged for the Flagstaff Live article that appeared prior to the show. You can read the fine article and view photos at: http://flaglive.com/flagstafflive_story.cfm?storyID=229086


Tucson show featuring only women potters


The ongoing Women Potters of Mata Ortiz show (through February 3, 2013) at the Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum (ASDM) in Tucson is a magnificent display and event. The Museum sponsored a pottery contest and the winners of the nine categories (see below) were on display at the January 25 reception. Winners were selected by votes of the ASDM staff and volunteer corps. The two major awards were announced on Saturday morning. The People’s Choice Award was determined by a vote of those who attended the reception. The Best of Show was selected by three judges from the Tucson area: the Director of the ASDM Art Institute, a curator from the University of Arizona Art Museum, and a local art historian. Pictures of the first place winning pots can be seen on the Mata Ortiz Calendar Facebook page.


The potters present at the show this weekend were Aide Gonzáles, Carla Martínez, Laura Bugarini, Celia Veloz, Graciela Martínez, Nancy Heras, Armida Saenz, and Elvira Bugarini. Rosa Loya, Yoli Ledezama, Claudia Ledezama, and Olivia Mora will be demonstrating their craft this coming weekend (February 2-3).


The show features numerous large photographs and pottery of the some 230 women who were interviewed for this project. A book is forthcoming.


Best of Show – Elvira Bugarini Cota

People’s Choice – Graciela Martínez Quezada de Silveira

White Clay/Polychrome Paint

1 – Nancy Heras Cota de Martínez

2 – Elvira Bugarini Cota

3 – Angela Estrella Silveira Hernández

HM – Aide Gonzáles Betancourt

Colored Clay/Polychrome Paint

1 – Angela Estrella Silveira Hernández

2 – Martha Martínez Rentería de Quezada

3 – Betty Quintana Beltrán de Quezada

HM – Cindy Nayeli Pérez Mendoza


1 – Gloria Azucena Reyes Roque

2 – Dalia Lucero Andrew

3 – María Conceptión Alvarado Diaz

HM – Susana López Aldavaz

HM – Gabriela Almeida Gallegos


1 – Olivia Domínguez Rentería

2 – María de Los Angeles Corona Guillen

3 – Olivia Domínguez Rentería

HM – Norma Fabiola Silveira Hernández de Villalba


1 – Pricila Cristina Martínez López

2 – Celia Ortega Ledezma

3 – María Guadalupe Quezada Trevizo

HM – Claudia Ledezma Loya


1 – Carla Martínez Vargas

2 – Carla Martínez Vargas

3 – Lucia Quezada Treviso

HM – Virginia Lozoyo Delgado


1 – Elvira Bugarini Cota

2 – Silvia Edelmira Silveira Sandoval

3 – Pabla Talavera Quezada

3 – Graciela Martínez Quezada de Silveira

HM – Olga Quezada Hernández

HM – Antonia Ivonne Olivas Tena

Traditional Black:Fired Outdoors

1 – Pabla Talavera Quezada

2 – Elicena Cota López

3 – Lydia Quezada Celado

HM – Dora Esela Corona Quezada


1 – Rosa María Betancourt Ponce

2 – Guadalupe Gonzáles Betancourt

3 – Jesus Mariam Gonzales Villalpando


Gathering of the Friends of Mata Ortiz


About fifty people attended the 16th annual Gathering of the Friends of Mata Ortiz over the weekend of October 5-7, 2012. Diana Acosta arranged for a special tour of Paquimé the afternoon before the Gathering and on Friday she had set up pottery demonstrations in the village. Dick O’Conner set up a Friday visit to petroglyphs in the area. Friday night the group had a wonderful reception dinner along the Palanganas River at the home on Phil and Jeanne Stover.

Saturday morning, nearly everyone attended short and very interesting history presentations at the Hacienda de San Diego. Later, those interested were at the Posada de las Ollas to discuss trader and marketing issues. In the afternoon, Jorge Quintana discussed and demonstrated pottery techniques and secrets at his gallery. Early afternoon, Spencer MacCallum led a tour of the convent ruins north of Casas Grandes and then its new replica, La Iglesia Nuestra Señor de la Divina Misericordia (Church of our Lord of Devine Mercy). Ron Bridgemon and Dave Nelson provided attendees with a walking tour guide to the murals of Casas Grandes. Carmela Wallace hosted the group for cocktails and hors d’oeuvres at her beautiful home in Casa Grandes. The gathering then moved to the MacCallums’ Casa Nopal for a wonderful goat roast.

On Sunday, a brunch was held at Maria Pinedo’s house in Barrio Porvenir. Maria was not able to attend at the last minute, so several potters from the barrio volunteered and prepared a wonderful meal of pasole.

Most agreed this was one of the most successful Gatherings ever, and it is likely that this focus group format along with primarily social interaction will continue in the future. Check out the Calendar’s Facebook page to view pictures of the event and the Casas Grandes murals.


Amerind Museum’s 75th Anniversary Celebration


Nearly 1,000 people attended the free celebration of the Amerind Museum’s 75th anniversary on Oct. 21, 2012. Mata Ortiz potter Oralia Lopez conducted demonstrations and she and John Bezy had pottery for sale. Native Americans performed tribal dances and many other vendors and demonstrators were present. One of the highlights was the three new monitors that showed continuous videos. One gave a history of the Museum, a second presented the Amerind’s excavation of Paquimé, and the third showed the changes in the village of Mata Ortiz that have occurred since 1978 when the Amerind sponsored the first pottery concurso. All three videos were produced by the Museum’s new Associate Curator, Ron S. Bridgemon.


To commemorative their 75th anniversary, the Amerind published a beautiful 94 page book entitled Amerind at 75! The book details the history and accomplishments of the Museum.



Mata Ortiz Grupo Siete AC


On September 5, 2012, Mata Ortiz Grupo Siete AC announced a raffle to be held on October 7 during the annual Gathering of the Friends of Mata Ortiz. The raffle is being conducted in support of their La Puerta de Mata Ortiz project, the construction design of an entryway monument to the village. The design of the monument will honor the engineering knowledge and building techniques that have been used from prehispanic to the present time by the inhabitants of the region. The raffle prize will be ten signed pieces, one each from the members of Grupo Siete, so you know the art will be of the highest quality. Raffle tickets are $50 (or peso equivalent) each. Tickets will be drawn out of a drum and the third ticket drawn will win the entire ten piece collection. Make sure you get your ticket at the Gathering and support this worthy project.


Grupo Siete is pleased and honored to thank everyone for helping to enrich Mata Ortiz cultural legacy through Education. The project University for Mata Ortiz was very successful in raising funds to provide scholarships to 15 new university students for this semester (August- December 2012). With this, the students were able to pay their entry fees to their respective universities.


So on the students’ behalf and their community, Grupo Siete AC thanks all the contributors.


2012 Tlaquepaque Winners


Diana Acosta informs us that four potters are winners in the Premio Nacional de Ceramica 2012 that was held in June at Tlaquepaque, Jalisco. Congratulations to Norma Cecilia Hernandez Lucero, Estrella Silveira, Eli Navarrete, and Chistina Lopez. Winning categories and prizes will be announced July 6 in Tlaquepaque.  Watch the Calendar for the announcement or check Diana’s Facebook page after July 6. [NOTE: for those of you who keep updated on northwest Chihuahua news via the website akronoticias.com, they apparently announced the 2012 winners on June 28th by erroneously publishing the 2010 list of winners.] 






XV  Mata Ortiz Ceramics Competition -September 14, 2012


See our Faceook page to view photographs


Grand Prize

            Hector Gallegos Martinez & Laura Bugarini Cota


Award of Excellence

            Lorenzo Elias Peña


Non-traditional colors, with or without design

13.   Ramiro Veloz Casas

14.   José Armando Quezada Talamantes

15.   Gloria Azucena Roque

Black burnished with graphite with or without design

13.   Salvador Baca Carbajal

14.   José Manuel Lopez

15.   Rodrigo Perez Tena


13.   Javier Martinez

14.   Roberto Olivas Hernandez

15.   Alan Baca Lozoya

New innovations

13.   Adrian Rojas Valdez

14.   Lorenzo Peña Pacheco

15.   Martin Cota

Colored clay

10.  Eli Navarette Ortiz

11.  Patricia Ortiz Rodriguez

12.  Elizabeth Quintana Beltran


13.  Gregoria Silveira Hernandez

14.   Manuel Sandoval Reyes

15.   Jesus Octavio Silveira Sandoval


13.  Carla Martinez Vargas

14.  Maria del Carmen Teña Gonzales

15.  Cruz Renteria Heras 


1.  Carlos Villalba Hernandez                                                                                                         2.  Sabino Villalba Hernandez                                                                  3.  Alejandro Ortega Ledezma

Children, 12 and younger

12. Aaron Orozco Dominguez

13. Valeria Veloz

14. Nayeli Villa Pedregon


September 2011 Concurco


     The September 24, 2011, pottery competition sponsored by the Municipio of Mata Ortiz and Presidente Javier Mendoza saw 121 artists submit 154 pieces of work. The winners in the various categories are as follows:

A.     Blackware (Negras)

 First Place        Diego Gerardo Valles Trevizo

 Second Place    Salvador Baca Carbajal

 Third Place       Salvador Baca Carbajal


B.     Non-Traditional Colors (Color No Tradicional)

 First Place        César Elias Dominguez Nuñez

 Second Place    César Elias Dominguez Nuñez

 Third place       César Navarrete Ortiz


C.     Minatures (Miniatura)

First Place         Jerardo Tena Sandoval

Second Place     Guadalupe Gallegos García

Third Place        Laura Bugarini Cota


D.     Effigies (Figuras)

First Place         Martin Cota Guillén

Second Place     Norma Fabiola Silveira Hernández

Third Place        Olivia Domínguez Rentería


E.     White Clays (Blancas)

First Place         Gregorio Silveira Hernández

Second Place     Sofia Lorena López Hernández

Third Place        Daniel Gallegos Martínez

F.     Colored Clays (Barro de Color)

First Place          José Armando Quezada Talamantes

Second Place      Florencio Sanchez Corona

Third Place         Sabino Villalba Hernández


G.     Sgraffito (Esgrafiadas)

First Place          Ramiro Veloz Casas

Second Place      Hector Eliazar Quintana Piñon

Third Place         Juan Carlos Reyes Alvarado


H.     Best of Show (Galardón)

Jesús Carlos Reyes Alvarado


Results of the May 31, 2011 Pottery Concurso


A. White Polychrome

    Blancas policromadas

            1st place           Elvira Bugarini Cota

            2nd place          Humberto Ponce Avalos

            3rd place           Graciela Martínez Quezada

B. Burnished Blackware with Graphite, (plain or decorated)

    Negras: Bruñida, con graffito (con o sin diseño)

            1st place           Salvador Baca Carvajal

            2nd place          Gerardo Lucero Andrew

            3rd place           Adolfo Tena Sandoval

            Honorable Mention     José Manuel Martínez López

            C. Effigies

                Figura o escultura en barro (zoomorfa, fitomorfa y/o antropomorfa)

                        1st place           Jerardo Tena Sandoval

                        2nd place          Tomás Quintana García

                        3rd place           Norma Fabiola Silveira Hernández

            D. Colored Clays: red, tan, cream, marbled, grey (plain or


                 Barro de color: rojo, café, crema, marmoleadas (con o sin diseño)

                        Tied 1st place    Elí Navarrete Ortiz

Aholiviana Jael Lucero Sandoval

                        2nd place          Javier Núñez Corral

                        3rd place           Lila Silveira Sandoval

E. Innovation in Design, Form, or Color

    Nuevas propuestas (diseño, forma, color)

            1st place           [None awarded in this category; winner

Jael Lucero moved to “Colored Clays”]

            2nd place          Martín Cota Guillén

            3rd place           Delia Rojas Valdez

F. Sgraffito, Cut Open Work , or Engraved

    Esgrafiado (calado o grabado)

            1st place           Laura Bugarini and Hector Gallegos, Jr.

            2nd place          Claudia Soledad Durán

            3rd place           Martín Olivas Quintana

G. Non-Traditional Colors

    Con o sin diseño con pinturas de color no tradicional

            1st place           Anastacio Mora Sandoval

            2nd place          César Elías Domínguez Núñez

            3rd place           Rafaela Romero Madrigal

            H. Miniatures (up to 6 centimeters)

                Miniaturas (hasta 6 centímetros)

            1st place           Cruz Rentería Heras

            2nd place          Virginia Lozoya Delgado

            3rd place           Graciela Martínez Quezada

            Honorable Mention         Carla Martínez Vargas

I. Children’s Category (up to 12 Years Old)

    Infantil (hasta los 12 años)

            1st place           Brianda Eduviges Loya Acosta

                        (daughter of Lucio Loya Jáquez & Cristina Acosta)

            2nd place          Omar Gallegos Rentería

                        (son of Lupe Gallegos & Yolanda Rentería)

            3rd place           Irving Iram Camacho Villa

                        (son of Alvaro Camacho & Cruz Celia Villa)

Best of Show


            Tati Eleno Ortiz López

Best Among Competing Former Galardón Winners

Premio a la Excelencia

            Lorenzo Elías Peña Pacheco



Triumph for Mata Ortiz

Along with 210 other studio potters from all over North and Central America, Diego Valles submitted two entries for the Third Biennial Concordia Continental Ceramics Competition, January 28-February 19, 2010. Sponsored by Concordia University in St. Paul, Minnesota, this is a prestigious event in the ceramics world. Thirty-five from the total entries were juried into the show, and both of Diego’s were included. When all was said and done, the panel of judges awarded “Best of Show” to—you guessed it—Diego! Way to go, Diego!


2009 Tlaquepaque ceramics competition

The 33rd ceramics competition, Premio Nacional de la Cerámica, held each year in Tlaquepaque near Guadalajara, took place June 5-10, 2009, and again our Norteños shone. Salvador Baca Carbajal placed first in the burnished pottery category with an elegant black creation, for a prize of $40,000 pesos. His wife, Virginia Lozoya Delgado, placed second in the miniatures category with a three-piece set for a prize of $30,000 pesos. Carlos Loya placed second in the traditional ceramics category, for a prize of $30,000 pesos. Also present and competing were José Luís Loya and Adrián Rojas. Besides his own, Adrián also brought and entered pieces by Elvira Bugarini, Lupe Gallegos, Efraín Lucero, Diego Valles, and Carla Martínez.

            The eight categories were: Vidriada Libre de Plomo (Non-lead glaze); Cerámica Tradicional; Cerámica en Miniatura; Cerámica Navideña (Christmas nativities); Figuras en Arcilla (Clay figurative sculpture); Cerámica Bruñida (Burnished clay); Cerámica Pintada en Frio (Ceramics painted after firing); and Cerámica Contemporanea. In each category, the judges looked for Ejecución, Originalidad, Diseño, Composición, Aprovechamiento de Materiales (Use of materials), Presentación, y Espontaneidad. 

Since this annual competition began 33 years ago, all winning pieces have gone to the local Tlaquepaque museum, Centro Cultural “El Refugio,” making a remarkable collection of ceramics.


Jewelry concurso

The first annual, international jewelry competition took place in Mata Ortiz October 5-6, 2007, with jewelers from Taxco and the American Southwest competing with jewelers from Mata Ortiz. Judges were Carlotta Boettcher, Santa Fe, coordinator of New Mexico’s native American artisan’s programs, and Mónica Benítez, head of the Jewelry Design Center for Industrias Peñoles, world’s largest silver producer (a third judge at the last moment could not appear). Salvador Barrera, of Taxco, took second and third places, while Ariel Rentería, of Mata Ortiz, won first. When it came to the Sponsors’ Awards, however, (the four sponsors of the competition being the Matiz Jewelry Company, Mata Ortiz; the Center for Casas Grandes Studies, Casas Grandes; El Pueblo Galería, La Mesilla, NM; and Lapidarios Barrera, Taxco), Salvador beat out Ariel. Best of all was the camaraderie that developed among the participants, with generous sharing of techniques and terminology. After having postponed a follow-up event for three years due to legal and political uncertainties, we are hopeful of resuming the competition in 2010. For information regarding that next competition, contact Spencer and Emi MacCallum (915-261-0502, sm@look.net), Center for Casas Grandes Studies, Avenida Victoria #405, Casas Grandes, Chihuahua.


Memorial CD for Manuel Olivas (1940-2007)

Jon Samuelson (520-820-3834, jlsamuelson[at]msn.com) created for Manuel Olivas’ family a moving CD memorial with exceptionally fine photos of Manuel. Set to music but without words, it is effectively ‘bilingual.’ Manuel’s obituary appeared in the May 2007 Editorial section (Go to “Archives” and click on “Editorials”). This CD, which is among the photographic classics of the potters, is available for $30 with proceeds going to the Olivas family. Contact Spencer or Emi MacCallum (915-261-0502, sm@look.net).


Sculptor returns to the area

Andreas Goff has returned to the area after conducting a children’s art workshop in Sitka, Alaska. Andreas was artist-in-residence in 2007 at the MacCallum’s Casa Azul, and his ceramic sculpture was the subject of an exhibition at the Museo de las Culturas del Norte, where he also conducted workshops for children. He likes the area so much that he has bought property in nearby Col. Cuauhtémoc and is resurrecting a small, old adobe by the river as his home.



Photographer Raechel Running, of Flagstaff, Arizona is in her fourth year as guest artist-in-residence at the Casa Azul, a program of the MacCallum’s Center for Casas Grandes Studies. She is recording the rich and many-faceted life of the Casas Grandes region. A prolific artist and beloved member of the community, Raechel’s work last year, 2009, included a 30-page spread on Chihuahua consisting entirely of her own text and photos in the May number of Vision China, China’s largest publication; a high-art photo coverage of Chihuahua in Sojourns Magazine (Summer-Fall 2009), and a show of her Chihuahua work at the University of Albertay in Dundee, Scotland. She’s surely making Chihuahua known to the world. Before coming to Casas Grandes, besides her photography, Raechel was a professional river guide in the Grand Canyon with more than 90 rafting trips to her credit. She is the daughter of John Running (www.johnrunning.com/Resume.html), whose photographic coverage of the Rarámuri (Tarahumara) in the early 1980s is currently exhibited at the Casa Azul (see under “Exhibitions”). Contact Raechel at 928-458-0603 or by email at raechel[at]raechelrunning.com.   www.raechelrunning.com


New Museum director

Archaeologist Eduardo Gamboa succeeded Laura Vásquez Vega last year as the new director of the Centro Cultural Paquimé and the Museo de las Culturas del Norte, and is doing an excellent job of further building up the Museum as a cultural center for the community. Laura Vásquez, who had studied at the Universidad Nacional in Spain and assisted in planning the administration and preservation of the archaeological sites of Teotihuacan, Tlacotalpan in Veracruz, and Tulum in Quintana Roo, had to return with her husband to Mexico City for personal reasons after an all-too-brief term here. She in turn had succeeded Mercedes Jiménez when the latter transferred to the Papalote Museo del Niño in Cuernavaca to be near her mother, whose health was failing. Mercedes’ was a hard act to follow. More than any other director before her and with almost non-existent funding, she made the Museum a vibrant cultural center for our community, with one or more programs every month showcasing local talent — classical guitar concerts; poetry readings; dramatic presentations; dance performances; exhibitions of sculpture, painting and drawing, ceramics, wood art, and photography; book inaugurals; and endless workshops for children. A model of professionalism, she was loved and is more than a little missed. She can be reached in Cuernavaca by email at pequechango[at]hotmail.com.


Guggenheim fellow

Carl Socolow, Camp Hill, Pennsylvania, won a prestigious Guggenheim fellowship to complete his project of documenting over a six-year period the changes in the ordinary life of the once-isolated village of Mata Ortiz following the completion of the paved road. The Sunday, April 23, 2006 Patriot-News (800-692-7207), of Harrisburg, PA gives it excellent coverage(see under “Publications”), and the Morrison Gallery at Penn State University exhibited (Nov 1-Dec 30, 2009) Mirror on a Country Road, “a lyrical photographic study of the village of Mata Ortiz, Mexico.” See www.carlsandersocolow.com/Invite.for a statement by Carl about the intent and meaning of his work. Contact Carl Socolow at 717-979-3070 or by email at carl[at]socphoto.com.  www.carlsandersocolow.com


Prize awarded at UNM

Beth Bagwell, recent archaeology PhD from the University of New Mexico, who did several seasons of fieldwork in the Sierra and lived in Casas Grandes with the MacCallums for a year while writing her dissertation, won the 2007 Popejoy Dissertation Prize at UNM.  This prize, for the best UNM dissertation in the previous three years in the Social Sciences and Education Departments, came with a $1000 award and a plaque. Beth's dissertation examined the organization of labor in middle-range societies using two small cliff dwellings in Tres Rios near the Sonora border as her case studies. Beth (Cell 505-610-1278, bagwell.beth[at]gmail.com) is now working with Aspen Environmental Group in Sacramento, California.


Restorations complete

Spencer and Emi MacCallum have completed the construction phase of the project they undertook on moving to Casas Grandes in 2005. The project has been to help conserve some of the old aspect of Casas Grandes by restoring/renovating a group of adobes near the plaza and then furnishing them with local antiques. To help sustain this conservation effort, they offer visiting artists, archaeologists, writers, etc., rooms and apartments for inexpensive, extended-stay rentals ($300-$500/month) and occasional overnights. The main facility, La Casa del Nopal, resembles a small hacienda with seven units and a small library/lecture room opening onto a large garden courtyard. With wireless Internet and with overflow accommodations close by if needed, it is well suited for small-company retreats and academic conferences. La Casa del Nopal is a popular attraction for tour groups to visit and hear free a brief talk of welcome and historical orientation to Casas Grandes. Contact Spencer and Emi MacCallum at 915-261-0502 (rings in Mexico) or by email at sm[at]look.net.


Previous Social Notes of Continuing Interest —


Grupo Siete Seeks to Aid Mauro Quezada and Family

         The organization Mata Ortiz Grupo Siete AC is raising funds to support a fellow potter from Mata Ortiz. Master potter Mauro Quezada was diagnosed with cancer last month in Chihuahua City after a shoulder surgery. He and his family moved temporarily there so that he could receive the chemotherapy. As we know, chemotherapy can be very expensive if the patient doesn’t have the proper health insurance. Luckily for Mauro, his insurance covers chemo. However, due to kind of insurance, he will receive it only when it is available and that will not be on time as he has been waiting for the first doses for almost a month now. This and having to stay out of home for the treatment have increased the family expenses considerably. For this reason Grupo Siete is kindly asking for donations to support Mauro and his family in the time they need it the most. If you wish to make a donation please contact Hector Gallegos Jr. at hectorylaura[at]yahoo.com.mx or Diego Valles at diego_valles[at]yahoo.com or 52 636 661 7137. We greatly appreciate your prayers and generosity.


A second baby girl

            Diego Valles and Carla Martínez Vargas have a second baby girl, Ana Victoria Valles Martínez, born April 5, 2010, a sister for their first, Reginia Sophie, born March 5th, 2008. Diego and Carla married in Carla’s hometown of Zaragoza in 2007, and although both graduated with highest honors in engineering (electrico-mechanical and industrial respectively, after Diego had won a year’s scholarship to the University of Technology in Sydney, Australia), they have both opted for a career in art. Diego was galardón (best of show) winner in Mata Ortiz’s 2009 Concurso.


New neighbors

Don José Martínez, for many years Mata Ortiz’ beloved mechanic and tire repair person who had moved in with daughter and son-in-law, Graciela Martínez and Hector Gallegos, died in 2008 at 89 years of age. Spencer remembers the many times in the early years of the pottery project when Don José, working under the shade of an enormous white willow, saved his old Datsun truck, enabling him to get back to Los Angeles.

 Don José sold his home and place of business to artists Carlotta Boettcher and Ana Livingston, of Santa Fe, NM, who have now made their retirement home in Mata Ortiz. Carlotta and Ana have been warmly welcomed into the community. Before beginning their restoration/renovation, they carefully recorded the Martínez home photographically.

Carlotta is a bi-cultural Cuban-American. Her recent medium is art on automobiles (her work was shown at the Tucson Museum of Art Paint on Metal show in 2005). A photographer and filmmaker, she studied under John Collier Jr., has an MA from San Francisco State University in Visual Anthropology, and trained in Paris at the Ecole Nationale des Beaux Arts. For the last 14 years, Carlotta lived in Santa Fe and Abiquiu, NM, fostering economic development thru the arts in Native American and Hispanic rural communities. She coordinated the Native American Artisans Program at the Palace of the Governors-New Mexico History Museum in Santa Fe.

            Ana, a noted jeweler, grew up in Guatemala and has always considered the color and texture of the textile arts of the Maya Highlands to be her artistic muse. How did she come to be in Guatemala? Her grandmother in 1928 was the only passenger on the maiden voyage of Pickwick Airlines from Los Angeles to Buenos Aires. The single engine plane landed in Chihuahua, then got as far as Guatemala City before breaking down completely. Ana studied at Konstfakt School of Design in Stockholm, Sweden, the home of “Scandinavian Design,” and has a master’s from Stanford University in Museum Education. Her jewelry is represented in more than 60 galleries in the United States. Welcome, Carlotta and Ana!


Flying colors

Kiara Hughes passed with flying colors her dissertation defense in ethnology at the University of New Mexico, May 18, 2009 after spending a year with the MacCallums while writing her dissertation. Dr. Hughes (505-345-3546, kiarahughes[at]aol.com) studied the ways in which women's participation in the household production of pottery in Mata Ortiz has affected their personal, economic, and artistic autonomy. Congrats, Kiara!



Lila Silveira and Carlos Sandoval celebrated their daughter Evilín’s quinceañera (meaning “fifteenth year”) on Saturday, May 26, 2007, the day of the annual Concurso. This traditional rite-of-passage for a fifteen-year-old girl marking her transition to womanhood is one of the most important events of a woman’s life, and the celebration often is more elaborate than for a wedding. David and Carolyn Moser, of Tucson and several friends (Chuck and Sara Willsey, Norman and Ginny Sherman, Gary Kern, and David McLean) attended by invitation and reported it for the Calendar, saying, “It was one of the most special and amazing things we’d ever been asked to participate in. It really touched all of us.” The quinceañera began with a formal celebration of Mass in the church at 4pm. Here Evilín was attended by a “court” of 15 formally attired young men and 15 young women, all 15 years or less, the latter including little girls as well as contemporary friends, sisters, cousins, etc. Following custom, Evilín had chosen her favorite color for the color theme, in this case a bright lime green. The men attendants wore lime-green gingham shirts and white Stetsons except for Evilín’s three brothers, who had black Stetsons. Of course all removed their Stetsons inside the church. Following the Mass, a procession (paseo) of cars wound from the church through the village to Evilín’s home in Barrio Porvenir, where Carlos and Lila hosted 400 people to a barbecue dinner under outdoor tents. The ceremony of the evening came after dinner, at 8pm. The littlest girls in Evilín’s “court” surrounded her in a ring and sang a song with some such words as “I’m leaving my childhood,” and her father then knelt and replaced her lime-green satin flats with high-heeled shoes, signifying her arrival into womanhood. Finally came the traditional waltz. Evilín waltzed first with her father, then with her escort (chambelán) and each of the other 15 male attendants, and finally with various significant others including her grandfather. All of this was prelude to general partying and dancing to a live band into the early hours of the morning. For some photos of this event, go to the Mosers’ link:



We lost a friend

          Felix Ortiz, one of the earliest potters, almost contemporaneous with Juan Quezada, died 2007. He and his late brother, Emeterio, experimented in the early years, developing a continuous-coil technique for building a pot like that used by the Pueblo Indians and unlike the single-coil technique pioneered by Juan. Their method is still largely used in Porvenir at the southern end of Mata Ortiz. Felix was noted for his effigy pots, especially those portraying coyotes, badgers, and crows. His daughters are carrying on his tradition. He is sorely missed. His freestanding taller (workshop) is still as he left it, and it has been suggested that it be preserved as a museum.


Another triumph for Mata Ortiz

Mata Ortiz potter Uriel López Saenz, of Barrio López, has won Mexico’s national roping championship (Campeón Nacional de Lazo Doble). Competing at Ciudad Cuauhtémoc, Chihuahua April 29-30, 2007 against 120 contestants from all parts of the Republic, Uriel won, besides prize money, a handsome new pickup truck. Way to go, Mata Ortiz!!


Anglo arrivals welcomed in Mata Ortiz

Several Norteamericanos have recently completed homes in Mata Ortiz.  Susan Hill, pottery trader of Santa Fe, completed renovation of her home in Barrio López which she acquired from the estate of the late María de Jesús Celado Saenz, maternal aunt of Juan Quezada, known to all as “Tia Chu” (see the March 2007 editorial). The house, last on the right as you go north to the cemetery, has a fine view of the trees along the Palanganas and the hills beyond. Bill King, Albuquerque pottery trader, completed a house just north of the new Salon de Actos, overlooking the town. Both Susan’s and Bill’s work was contracted by Luís Tena, who also carried out the MacCallums’ restoration of seven old adobes near the plaza in Casas Grandes. Gordon and Barbara Pierce are renovating an older adobe home in Barrio Porvenir on the same street as Macario Ortiz, just west of the soccer field. A fourth new home is that of Phil and Jeannie Stover, Mennonites of Sarasota, Florida. This beautifully sited new home just north of the church and overlooking the Palanganas River was built by Steve Rose, of Mata Ortiz. Steve, a pottery trader who found that his true calling is architectural design now has several homes to his credit in Mata Ortiz.