Laura Bugarini

Mata Ortiz

Juan Quezada and Laura Bugarini
Laura Bugarini with Juan Quezada

Laura Bugarini Cota has been working with clay since she was fourteen. She learned to make pots early in life, from her mother, Lupe Cota. It was her cousin, Gerardo Cota Guillen, who honed her painting skills. She sprang onto the market when she was just 16 and is now one of the most successful of the second generation of Mata Ortiz potters.

She first got interested in making pottery when she was working as a housekeeper in Juan Quezada's home. She still identifies Juan as her inspiration but her styles are completely different from any Quezada product. A problem with that is her designs are completely hers and are very easy to recognize. That makes it easy to follow the steps of her designs across her neighborhood as other potters start to copy and incorporate them into their own work. It might not have happened if Laura weren't so successful, but she was... Before she gave up (because the copycats were destroying her market) and went to Denver to do housekeeping, she and her sister Elvira did teach their younger half-sisters, Luz Angelica and Karla Lopez Cota how to make pottery. She didn't stay long in Denver, the call of Mata Ortiz was too much for her and she returned and started making pottery again after only a few months.

Laura tends to fill virtually all the space on a pot with tiny strokes and dots. Some of her designs are contained in a series of closely spaced rings that encircle the pot much like the meridian lines on a world globe while other of her designs fill a larger series of various geometric shapes that cover the pot. She was also the first in Mata Ortiz to paint her accompanying aros (ceramic ring/stand). She's been earning awards nearly every year since 2006 at the Concurso Ceramica de Mata Ortiz juried competition and in 2013 she earned the Premio Nacional de la Ceramica (Best in Show) award at the national competition in Tlaquepaque.

Laura is married to potter Hector Gallegos Jr. and their daughter Paula is well on her way to becoming a leading potter of the third generation of Mata Ortiz potters.

Miniature geometric designs on a thin neck polychrome jar
Thin neck polychrome jar decorated with miniature geometric designs
5 in H by 3.75 in Dia
Measurement includes stand
Bands of geometric design on a lidded polychrome jar with a matching stand
Polychrome lidded jar decorated with bands of geometric design plus a matching stand
7.75 in H by 5 in Dia
Signed: Laura Bugarini Cota & Hector Gallegos Jr.
Matching stand and lid for a polychrome jar with sgraffito and painted geometric design
Matching stand and lid on a polychrome jar decorated with a sgraffito and painted geometric design
11.5 in H by 7.75 in Dia
Signed: Laura Bugarini Cota & Hector Gallegos Jr.
A lidded polychrome jar with a custom stand covered with a fine line geometric design
A polychrome jar and a custom stand all decorated completely with a fine line geometric design
7.75 in Dia by 12 in H
Measurement includes stand
Photo of Laura Bugarini with Juan Quezada courtesy of

Mata Ortiz/Casas Grandes Potters