Porfirio Mora Villalba, better known as Pilo Mora, is considered one of the finest Mata Ortiz Potters as well as being among the pioneers of this artistic movement.
Pilo was born September 15th, 1961 in Juan Mata Ortiz. His parents, who have lived and worked in Mata Ortiz as farmers, are Consuelo Villalba and Victoriano Mora. By the age of 19, he married Delia Valdez, with whom he has three daughters.
Pilo is currently living in Juan Mata Ortiz and he is completely dedicated to the creation of fine and beautiful pottery.
His interest for Mata Ortiz pottery started back when he was 12 years old. However, it wasn’t until the early 80’s that he started with this art. Back then, there were only about 20 people making Mata Ortiz Pottery. Because it was becoming harder to make a living out of farming due to the drought, Pilo decided to start making pots whenever he had a break from farm work. It was then when Emeterio “Telo” Ortiz, one of the early potters, started to teach Pilo the basics of the art of pottery. Telo taught Pilo how to prepare the clay and the pigments among other basic techniques.
In his own words, Pilo says that his inspiration comes from the love he has for his work. As he builds a pot, he is getting ideas about what this pot is going to be once it is completed. Pilo is a talented artist who demonstrates his creativity in each and every one of his pieces. Each of his pots is unique and a product of his own essence and love to the art.
Even thought Pilo’s work is as close to perfection as it can be, he is always looking for ways to improve it. He is always experimenting in every step of the process to finds ways to improve. He is continuously looking for new clays and new pigments in the oddest possible places; mixing and matching to create new combinations and new techniques to supplement his work with a touch of originality. Pilo has a small room in his house where every time he starts creating a pot, an impressive process of precision takes place. From the moment he puts his hands on the clay to the moment the pot is burned and finished, every step is carefully completed to create a high quality piece of art.
Pilo’s pottery has been exhibited in numerous prestigious galleries and museums. These include the Art Museum in the University of New Mexico; San Diego Museum of Man; Luna Mimbres in Deming; The Riverside Museum; among others. Pilo’s pottery has also been featured in publications such as “The Many Faces of Mata Ortiz” and “Artes de Mexico.”
Pilo also has participated in multiple competitions. He won 1st place during three consecutive years at the Concurso de Ceramica de Mata Ortiz (1995-1997). He also won 1st place at a National Competition that took place in Puebla in 1994.
Not only has Pilo been successful at creating beautiful and impressive pottery but he has also taught many people the art; thus providing many people with the tools and the opportunity to make a living and support their families.