This last month a group of friends booked a wonderful three day tour to the pottery village of Mata Ortiz, Mexico, about 150 miles into Mexico. The pottery is world class and based on the ancient pottery of Paquime'. It was the relentless effort and experimenting of Juan Quezada that has brought back this thousand year old tradition of the Paquime' culture.
We visited the village and several homes of the artists. The whole village has been taught this technique and it is being taught to the next generation. Each pot, even the tiny ones, are signed by the artist.
Since we were there during the "Day of the Dead", we asked if we could visit a cemetery. We were there on Friday afternoon and some of the graves had been decorated but most of them would be done by families the next day.
One of the highlights of the trip was the ruins of Paquime'. It started out as a hamlet in the seven or eight
hundreds and grew into a great trading center by the 13th century. They are unique ruins with a ball court, T shaped doors, turkey pens, unique water and sewage systems and macaw breeding facilities.
The Paquime' museum is one of the best we've ever seen and gives a good comprehension of the great volume of things found here and that were presumed traded here.
The water for Paquime' came from a spring several miles away and several reservoirs are within the ruins. Paquime' had developed into a high level of culture.
Since we were a private tour, lunch, a delightful lunch, was arranged for us at the Hacienda San Diego. This property had been acquired in 1874 by Luis Terrazas, the largest land owner in all of Mexico at that time but then abandoned during the Revolution. The building is in need of a lot of repair but is a wonderful and beautiful structure.
A number of out buildings were also part of the original hacienda but, though still standing, are no longer so.
Talent abounds in this area!! We stopped at the studio of the wood carver, Roberto Hernandez. His work is beautiful but his talents do not stop at wood. He built the most amazing house out of split tires. The tires were used as siding and also as shingles with old windshields used for windows. Wonderful recycling.
Photos and story courtesy of Bob & Wilma.