Pottery from the Casas Grandes, Chihuahua (Mexico) area has its roots in an archaeological period called the Buena Fe phase which began approximately 1060 A.D.. The Paquime era followed in which Casas Grandes reached its peak as a thriving commercial center during the years 1210-1261 A.D..
By the 20th century, in the remote village of Mata Ortiz, Chihuahua, Mexico, a group of artisans brought back this tradition. The pottery produced in this region has its many similarities with the work of the Indian potters of the American Southwest. While historically the pottery work was known as Casas Grandes, today most recognize this pottery as Mata Ortiz.
Artisans in this region do not use potters wheels in the forming process. The clay is elegantly shaped entirely by hand, resulting in a thin-walled vessel of beautiful symmetry. The pot must dry slightly before it can be slipped or painted. The fine-line painting is done with a brush, typically made from the artist’s or his family’s hair. When completed, it is ready to be fired.