Laura Bugarini and Hector Gallegos Jr – Mata Ortiz, Mexico
Master Potters Laura Bugarini Cota and Hector Gallegos Martinez are a husband and wife team, and two of the best second generation of potters from Mata Ortiz, Mexico. Both potters learned the art of Mata Ortiz Pottery from their incredibly talented parents, and are keeping up the tradition by teaching their young daughter Paula Gallegos as well. Laura Bugarini was born on March 4, 1979 in Mata Ortiz to Guadalupe Cota and Pablo Bugarini, learning pottery from her mother at the age of 14. Her first inspirations were the ancient Paquime designs, and her initial pots sold for $5 to the tourists who visited Mata Ortiz. Laura noticed that most of the potters were using similar designs, so she began experimenting with something totally different. After a year of practice she was able to create her own finely detailed band work design, a design that would come to be known as the Bugarini Style. Today Laura is one of the most sought after artists in Mata Ortiz, and her work is considered to be some of the finest art work in the village. Laura Bugarini has exhibited her art work at more than 50 international art shows. Hector Gallegos Jr. was born on November 5, 1981 to Hector Gallegos and Graciela Martinez, both Master Potters famous for the amazing quality and artistry of their work. Hector learned from both of his parents in his later teenage years. Early on Hector quickly moved away from his parents’ precise geometric style in favor of etched sgraffito work incorporating finely detailed animal designs. Hector has participated in numerous international art exhibitions. Outside of his ceramic artwork, Hector Gallegos Jr. is also a body builder who has even competed on an international level. Hector has been the state champion in his category for three years, and was also Mister Cuidad Juarez in 2016. Laura Bugarini won the Outstanding Woman in the Arts for the State of Chihuahua in 2016.
Laura is the 1st woman in Mata Ortiz to win this prize, the highest award in their state across all art forms. In 2016 Laura was inducted into the Hall of Fame of Northeastern Chihuahua, again being the 1st woman artist from Mata Ortiz to be admitted. 2016 also saw Laura and Hector take home the top two prizes in the Mata Ortiz Concurso (annual Mexican Government sponsored juried art show), where Laura won Best in Show and Hector won the Excellence Award for the best piece amongst all previous Best in Show winners. In 2015 Laura won the Gran Premio Nacional del Arte Popular Mexicano, one of the most important national level recognitions for folk artists, and also took home 1st prize in her category at the Mata Ortiz pottery competition. In 2014, Hector Gallegos Jr took 2nd place at the Foro Nacional de Grandes Maestros y Maestras del Arte Popular, as well as winning 1st place in his category at the Mata Ortiz pottery competition. In 2013 Laura won the Premio Nacional de la Ceramica (Mexican National Ceramics Awards), which is one of the highest recognitions possible for a ceramic artist in Mexico. Hector and Laura also took home the top two prizes at the 2013 Mata Ortiz pottery competition, this time with Hector winning the Best in Show Award and Laura winning the Excellence Award. Previous years include numerous top prizes in various categories during the annual pottery competitions in Mata Ortiz!