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Gualala Arts

Promoting public interest and participation in the arts since 1961.

Archive of past events: 2004 through 2014


Gualala Arts Workshop
Revival of A Lost Art - Mata Ortiz Pottery
with Master Potter Jerardo Tena
Instructor: Jerardo Tena

Saturday - Sunday
October 11 - 12, 2014

10:00 a.m. - 4:00 p.m.

To register
Call Gualala
Arts Center

Register by:   September 1, 2014; after that, check availability
Tuition:   $130 members; $150 non-members
Materials fee:   $30 to instructor,
all materials provided
Materials:   Mata Ortiz Pottery materials list

Jera, after firing Join Master Potter Jerardo Tena Sandoval to learn the pottery techniques of Mata Ortiz, Mexico.

Internationally recognized for their pottery, the potters of Mata Ortiz have revived the ancient art of the Paquimé people, a civilization that flourished in the area 600-800 years ago. As if guided by the spirit of the Paquimé Indians, a struggling pueblo has become a community of fine ceramic artists renowned the world over.

You will learn to create your own Mata Ortiz pot using the "tortilla/chorizo" method and Jerardo will teach you the burnishing, painting and firing techniques used in Mata Ortiz to create his "ollas" or pots. Time permitting, you will even create your very own human hair brush. Don't miss out on this very special class and an opportunity to learn from one of the leaders of the Mata Ortiz phenomenon.

About the Instructor

Jerardo Tena Sandoval was born in Ejido Hernandez, Chihuahua, on November 18, 1973 and moved with his family to Mata Ortiz when he was seven years old. He began working with clay by helping grind the clay used by his uncle, Félix Ortiz, who was one of the original Mata Ortiz potters. He learned pottery decoration from his mother Sofia Sandoval de Tena, who was born in Mata Ortiz.

Jera with Black Clay Pot Jerardo is known for his miniature figures, animals and effigy figures. He has shown in Santa Rosa, California at the Jesse Peter Museum and at the University of California at Berkeley, Hearst Museum of Anthropology and many other locations in the U.S. He has also given classes and demonstrations at the Sonoma Community Center Ceramics Department in Sonoma, CA, Clay Planet in Santa Clara, CA, the Healdsburg, CA studio of Joann Cassady, Walnut Creek Civic Arts Center Ceramic Department in Walnut Creek, CA, Diablo Valley College Ceramics Department in Pleasant Hill, CA, Richmond Art Center, Richmond, CA and Santa Rosa Junior College, Santa Rosa, CA.

Jerardo has been quite successful at the Mata Ortiz Concurso, their annual pottery competition. In the Zomorfas (Zoomorphic or animal) Category he won 1st place in 1998, 1999, 2002, 2004, 2008, 2011, 2nd place in 2000 and 3rd place in 2007. In the Diseños Mimbres Category (painted Mimbres designs) Jerardo won 3rd place in 1999. In 1998 he won an Honorable Mention in Miniatures, 3rd place in 2006 and a 1st place in 2011. In 2006 he won 1st place in Nuevos Diseños Category (New Designs) with "The Quails" and 3rd place in 2007 with "The Armadillo." He continues to win in Nuevos Diseños with a 3rd place in 2009 with "Quadrito," a square piece made to hang on the wall.

Jerardo teaches groups in different cities such as Mexicali, and Ensenada, and various universities. He teaches them how to make, paint and fire the pots and prepare the clay. He is currently passing on the tradition to his son and daughters.

Jerardo's wife Norma Hernandez de Tena was born in Colonia Cuauhtémoc on February 21, 1975. She moved to Mata Ortiz when she was 15 years old. She also comes from a family of potters. Her father Amado Hernandez and her mother Gloria Estela Lucero de Hernandez are also a potters. She specializes in miniature pots and helps Jerardo with design and painting.

Jerardo's most recent work can be viewed on this Facebook album.

Pottery, by Jerardo Tena Pottery, by Jerardo Tena

See also: Gualala Arts Workshop Registration, Payment & Cancellation Policy.

The Gualala Arts Center, located at 46501 Old State Highway in Gualala, CA,
is open weekdays 9:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m., and weekends from noon to 4:00 p.m.
Please call (707) 884-1138 for more information, or email

Serving the coastal communities of northern Sonoma & southern Mendocino Counties.