Gerardo and Norma Tena

Mata Ortiz

Gerardo Tena Sandoval and Norma Hernandez de Tena are a husband-and-wife team who make pottery in the village of Mata Ortiz. They seem to specialize in figures and effigies, although I've seen a couple of regular jars made by Norma and some small black-on-black jars with carved figures of birds and sgraffito-and-painted geometric designs.

Gerardo learned to make pots from his mother, Sofia Sandoval de Tena, a couple decades ago. He makes the pots and does most of the painting while his wife helps by sanding and polishing. He's become known for his long-necked white miniature ollas and for his fine red and black painting. As they got older they got more and more into making figures.

With most couples who make pottery in Mata Ortiz, both do just as much work in making the pieces but the wife signs the smaller ones and the husband signs the larger ones. Only a few couples sign every pot together.

Black and red geometric design on a resting llama figure
Resting llama figure decorated with a red and black geometric design
5.75 in H by 4.5 in Dia
Bird design inside with a band of geometric design around the folded rim of a polychrome jar
Folded neck on a polychrome jar with a band of geometric design around the opening and a bird design inside
6.25 in H by 6.25 in Dia
Geometric designs on a polychrome badger effigy
Polychrome badger effigy with geometric designs
3.5 in H by 5.25 in Dia
Polychrome jar with a geometric design
Geometric design on a polychrome jar
4.5 in H by 4.25 in Dia
Measurement includes stand
Cuadrillos and geometric designs on a polychrome roadrunner figure
Polychrome figure of a roadrunner, decorated with cuadrillos and other geometric designs
9 in L by 2.5 in W by 3.75 in H

Mata Ortiz/Casas Grandes Potters