The Pottery of Mata Ortiz

Class Dates

March 18, 2022 to April 08, 2022

Meeting Days

Fridays, 9 -11am


Tucson Museum of Art



Course Instructor(s)

Course Description

The village of Mata Ortiz sits in a river valley along a tributary of the Casas Grandes River in the northern Mexican state of Chihuahua, Mexico.  The people of Mata Ortiz today know all of these stories well, but to the outside world, Mata Ortiz is well known as a “village of potters.” Largely because of its highly regarded pottery, Mata Ortiz is today quite distinct from its past, a place of hope, creativity, individuality, and dogged determinism that embodies the best of the human spirit.

This course will explore the Mata Ortiz Pottery making process. From the history, teachings, techniques, materials, tools, and experiments, you will emerge in the Mata Ortiz culture and pottery making process. Class discussions will include:

  • History and how the art of Mata Ortiz has evolved

  • Materials and tools – gathering and experimentation

  • Building a pot

  • The designs – hand painting techniques

  • Making it permanent – the baking process 

Porfirio Mora represents the pottery tradition of Mata Ortiz, a small village in Chihuahua, Mexico, known for its talented potters. Mata Ortiz pottery is inspired by the ancient Paquimé culture, which shares many similarities with southwestern Pueblo cultures. Master potter Porfirio learned how to prepare the clay and the pigments, along with other basic techniques, from a tradition that has been passed down from generation to generation.

This course is limited to 20 participants.

Course Format

Classes will be held in English & Spanish. The instructor will facilitate in Spanish with live English translators present. Translation services are provided by Southwest Folk Alliance. 

Registered community members will meet with Master Potter Porfirio "Pilo" Mora for four in-person sessions on the following Fridays from 9 to 11 AM: March 18, 25, April 1 and 8.


Online registration for this course opens on Monday, December 6, 2021, at 10 a.m.


Refunds are available and need to be requested before the second class meeting (March 25). To drop a class, please contact Stephanie Noriega at 520-626-0626 or  A $25 administrative fee for each cancellation will apply. 

Location & Parking

Class meets at Tucson Museum of Art located at 140 N Main Ave, Tucson, AZ 85701 

The following parking options are available:

  • Free TMA parking lot: From Main Avenue turn east on Washington Street, then turn right into the lot. Accessible parking is available.
  • Metered street parking available around the Museum
  • El Presidio Parking Garage, 160 W. Alameda Street (south side of street, ramp descends to underground parking), closed on weekends. The Museum does not validate parking for this garage.