Mata Ortiz is a small village in Chihuahua, Mexico. It is nestled on the banks of the Palanganas River in the foothills of the Sierra Madre at an elevation of 5200 feet. There are around 300 families of the village which have traditionally been ranchers and farmers. Many have also worked for the lumber and railroad industry in the area.
The area surrounding Mata Ortiz is rich in a variety of clays. Inspired by Pre-Columbian artifacts from the nearby ruins of Paquime, many families make replicas of pottery from the site, then later create their own unique pieces. Today this pottery has achieved national and international recognition.
This publication is the story of potters Graciela and Hector Gallegos, and is the first volume of a series of oral histories about families in Mata Ortiz.