There is the Andres Garcia Pottery Shop, a women's co-op (in old train station), and Juan Quezada's house where you can browse gorgeous pottery that is for sale. In additon, there will be children all over the place offering to sell you pottery. If you walk around, people will invite you into their homes to see their pottery. The attached photos were taken at the Andres Garcia Potttery Shop and show the process of how pots are fired and what the finished product looks like. This store will ship pottery and takes credit cards. I think this is the only place in town that ships and takes credit cards. The pottery in the Andres Garcia Shop, the women's co-op and Juan Quezada's house was of VERY high quality.
There is a train that is called the "Chicken Train" that takes people into the mountains every other day. We used it to get to the other side of town since there was a wash that our bus was unable to cross. We were on our way to Debbie's house where we were going to be served lunch by the community. Debbie is an American who moved to Juan Mata Ortiz, married and is raising a family. Debbie's husband is a local and staged a "hold up" of the train. He was on horse, with a rifle in his hand and paint smeared across his face. He hit the side of the train pretty hard and scared the daylights out of us. Once we realized the train hadn't derailed or hit something, we found it very funny.
Very slow and jerky but fun. A couple town musicians got on and played music for us as well.
This shop has dozens of gorgeous pieces of Mata Ortiz pottery. It does not ship or take credit cards but will provide some bubble wrap for any pottery you buy there. Prices are very reasonable and they will bargain just a little (about 5% or so).
Juan Quezada is a world-famous artist and is very respected for the help he has provided to his home town and for the workshops he puts on. He has displayed around the world and the Japanese, who are very into pottery, highly respect his artistry.
What to buy: Mata Ortiz Pottery
What to pay: Reasonable for this gorgeous stuff $50 and up. Be aware that pottery by Juan himself usually goes for prices in the tousands.
Maria is an institution in Juan Mata Ortiz. She has no family left and the town as a whole takes care of her. She is a one person tourist office, welcoming committee and chamber of commerce. She joins up with you when you come to the town, walks around with you, hops on the "Chicken Train" and even joins you for lunch. Everyone falls in love with her and gives her a dollar or so and the local joke is that Maria makes more money than anyone else. She may be all of 4 feet tall (if that) and walks around with a walking stick. She was tapping her walking stick to the beat of the music on the "Chicken Train" and started dancing. Of course, people joined in and started dancing with this delightful town icon.
The people at the Andres Garcia Pottery Shop let me try my hand at making a pot (under their supervision) - as you can see my results would not even count as art for a five year old - this is harder to do that it looks.