Nelly Ortiz was born and raised in a small, special town just outside of the city of Oaxaca, known for its masterful black pottery, otherwise know as “Barro Negro”. Long ago, the inhabitants of this town discovered in the surrounding mountains a unique clay, that when fired turned completely black. The color is due to the unique natural properties of the clay itself and not to colorants. Over the years the people of this town developed extensive knowledge and technique around the use of this beautiful and unique black clay. Thus, eventually learned that if polished with river stones before firing, the clay would come out with a shiny, silvery finish.
Nelly’s entire family works in the family business run by her parents. While each and every one has learned the intricacies of this craft, each family member masters a specific part of the creation process and has his or her own role. Today, Nelly has a young daughter named Milagrito, ‘Little Miracle’ in English, who has just begun to learn the secrets of black pottery which have been passed on through the generations. Always at her mother’s side, Milagrito looks up to her mother with great admiration, and enjoys their time together as she helps her mother pack the orders. Nelly manages the studio production process and client orders, while her husband Jose, is responsible for the firing process. Together, they have built a happy home filled with creativity and love, and a beautiful business dedicated to the preservation of ancient Oaxacan culture.