Mata Ortiz Arts
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Mata Ortiz Clay Arts &

the ancient city of Casas Grandes (Paquimé).

An Artistic Revival in Chihuahua, Mexico!  

Next Tour Departure: This tour is not currently scheduled. 

Call or email Piet & Mary at (520) 887-2340 (in Tucson) with any questions.

Scenic comfort and learning aboard a luxurious Motorcoach roundtrip from Tucson, Arizona, plus two nights in a very comfortable hotel at Nuevo Casas Grandes, Chihuahua (where purified water flows from the taps). From there, we'll meet the artists at the village of Mata Ortiz and visit Paquimé and its museum!

QUESTIONS? Contact Mary & Piet by phone: 520-887-2340 (Tucson, Arizona) 


Please call or email to make your reservations early.

This program has been produced exclusively for members of Tucson's botanical garden, Tohono Chul Park. If you're not already a member, we hope you'll welcome this opportunity to become one. Please call Jo Falls to learn all about the joys of membership!

Some of our most special and unique learning vacations are produced for members of Tucson's Tohono Chul Park, a non-profit, botanical garden and art museum. The Park's mission is to enrich people's lives by providing them the opportunity to find peace and inspiration in a place of beauty, to experience the wonders of the Sonoran Desert, and to gain knowledge of the natural and cultural heritage of this region.  It's easy to become a member. Call Jo Falls, Director of Public Programs, (520) 742-6455 for more information. 

  Juan Quezada is seen through the smoke, as he observes a firing with our group in his yard.

Rooms look out on a grassy, tree-lined courtyard

Comfortable Hotel in Nuevo Casas Grandes 

(Purified water flows from the tap!) 

The Casas Grandes Valley in present-day Northern Chihuahua, Mexico was a bustling metropolis from the 11th to 13th centuries. Pottery produced here was traded extensively throughout what is now Northern Mexico and Southwestern U.S. The ancient city of Paquimé was destroyed by fire in the 14th century and its pottery tradition lost. Truly lovely earthen ruins remain.

Casas Grandes - or Paquimé, Chihuahua. En route to Mata Ortiz.

Growing up in the 1950’s in the nearby village of Juan Mata Ortiz, Juan Quezada was intrigued by the pottery shards he found in the mountains and valleys surrounding his home. A natural artist, talented and curious, Juan began experimenting with the local clays to produce pottery in the ancient ways. Completely self-taught, he perfected his pottery and painting and began to sell his magnificent art. Meanwhile Juan taught his art to family members who in turn taught others in the village.

Today there are an estimated 500 potters in this village of 2300! Juan Quezada’s pots command thousands of dollars in galleries and museums worldwide, yet incredible bargains still remain in Mata Ortiz. Many wonderful works can be acquired from just a few dollars to $50 and up into the hundreds. Or, $3000 or more for one of Juan's masterpieces. An average Mata Ortiz price may be about 25% of U.S. gallery prices.

Journey with us to Mata Ortiz and visit artists in their home-studios. Witness pottery building with native clays, decorating, and finally, traditional outdoor firings. Also visit the impressive ruins of the 11th-century city of Paquimé—Casas Grandes—whose ancient culture inspired this artistic revival. A marvelous museum is also included. Transportation from Tucson, comfortable hotel accommodations in Nuevo Casas Grandes, a breakfast, a very special lunch and admissions are all included.

From our guests about Mata Ortiz, Chihuahua… 

“We want to thank you for being such super tour directors and guides…There is much to learn about our new state and in particular the many cultural influences of Mexico. There were a lot of extra niceties on your trip: The thoughtful (and nutritious!) snacks, the personal and knowledgeable contacts at Mata Ortiz. Our pots are great! In a local gift shop, I recognized an almost identical pot to one of our $10 purchases, selling for $100! Gerry & Elinor, Arizona

 “…a wonderful experience. The food and the ambiance were great. I learned more of Mexico. Thank you again for your expertise…a wonderful tour. Barb, Arizona

 “…an experience I shall never forget. As usual, you were the perfect hosts.” Patty, Arizona

 “…like everyone, I want to go back and buy more pots! Everyone raved about the wonderful trip, and we all reached the conclusion it was due to you two, who ran it superbly. Keep me on your list! Did you say Oaxaca?” Peggy, Arizona

From left:  Artists gather dazzling local minerals for clays and colors. Noe Quezada's fresh creation on the coals. Firing of the pottery is just done out in the yard...and that's an art in itself!


Elbow your way up to the table to buy in the Quezada's living room. Gloria Hernandez works the earth with natural ease. 


Contact Piet & Mary Van de Mark by phone:

520-887-2340 (Tucson, Arizona)

Toll Free: 1-800-726-7231  

©Baja's Frontier Tours LLC, Tucson, Arizona 2004

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May 11, 2016

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