Micaceous earth from Northern New Mexico, sanded with local sandstone, burnished with a river stone, pit fired with red cedar and cured with Stone Barns’ beef tallow and beeswax
Johnny Ortiz (b. 1991, Taos, NM, USA) digs deep in his work — literally. His primary ceramic material is micaceous “wild clay,” found in his home state of New Mexico. When he first discovered this resource, his first instinct was to leave it in the ground: it seemed, he says, “too stunning to do anything with.” But he gradually came to grips with it, seeing in the clay a means of connecting to his own ancestral past, as well as to present-day aesthetic possibilities. He makes the material his own through an elaborate series of procedures, first burnishing the pots with rough sandstone and then smoother river stone, pit firing them with red mountain cedar, and finally, “curing” them with grass-fed beef tallow from Stone Barns Center and beeswax. For this presentation at Stone Barns Center (concurrent with his time as Chef in Residence at Stone Barns), he is extending his series of “field studies” working with clay from New Mexico, fired at Stone Barns during the late March Worm Moon.
Each work is handmade by the artist. All works will ship following the close of the exhibition during the week of May 10, 2021.
Photo by Maida Branch and Johnny Ortiz