April 25, 2018

Wednesday, April 25th marked 60 days after Felipe’s passing. Felipe requested to have his remains placed in their final resting place 60 days after he passed away. This, according to old Apache tradition. His remains will be placed in an undisclosed location, another one of his requests.

You all may be wondering how Felipe’s legacy will live on?

His legacy remains in each one of us in one way or another. Jimmy Ortega Jr. will become the heir of Felipe’s estate which includes the pottery studio and his bed & breakfast at Owl Peak Pottery. The estate’s personal representative is doing his best to ensure all of Felipe’s personal debts are paid in full. He incurred many debts while he was unable to produce pottery in the last 3 ½ years of his journey. The leftover funds received from the donations will go to the two institutions he held close to his heart, Nuestra Señora de Guadalupe Church in La Madera and Nuestro Señor de Esquipulas Morada in Ancones. Once, the estate clears probate, Jimmy Jr. will own and manage the estate.

Here are Jimmy’s intentions to keep “part” of Felipe’s legacy alive. Felipe’s shoes will never be filled - we all know how impossible that would be. Jimmy will begin the process for making the pottery studio a non-profit foundation (501c3). This will allow the studio to operate on donations and be self-sufficient. Donations will be welcome. Clay will be sold from the studio for the upkeep and future renovations of the place.

The studio will be made available to artists in residence. Hopefully, the studio would like to attract artists that are willing to contribute to the community by hosting events, teaching art and producing art. The studio will be available for pottery workshops with a focus on micaceous clay cookware, bean pots, that is! If the idea for the pottery studio is successful, grants can be offered to artists to host workshops and for community members and others to attend.

Note: Logistics for processing clay are still being worked out. Clay will soon be ready.

The bed and breakfast is in need some renovations and will soon be available as a rental for a minimum of 2 nights. Similar to a vacation home rental by owner (VRBO) or AIRBNB type house. Meals may also be provided on a case-by-case basis. The place will available to past lodgers of various groups as a mini-lodging/conference center. There are other issues that still need some working out such as Sweat Lodges and pottery classes. Stay tuned. In closing, Jimmy Jr. would like to thank you on behalf of the Ortega family. In Felipe’s eyes, you would all be considered family and we honor that. You are family. Keep an eye out for updates on Felipe’s Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/felipe.ortega.5851 and here at felipeortega.com.

Clay orders: Please submit your clay orders to info@felipeortega.com or call Jimmy Jr. at 505-927-1715.

Download this letter from Jimmy Ortega Jr.

About Felipe

Felipe Ortega, Micaceous clay potter at work
Felipe Ortega, Micaceous clay potter, creating a Wedding Vase

Felipe Ortega is an Apache medicine man and talented micaceous clay potter, credited by many with reviving the art of the Apache Bean pot. He claims that he is the ‘fastest coiler in the west’, referring to the coil & scrape method he uses to build his beautiful micaceous clay pottery.

At Owl Peak Pottery studio in La Madera, New Mexico, Felipe creates micaceous clay pots that are sought after by collectors and shown in museums including the Smithsonian. His Micaceous Clay pottery is available for sale directly from Felipe at Owl Peak Studio and from a limited number of galleries.

Of Jicarilla Apache descent, Felipe honors the ancient tradition of micaceous pottery making. His ancestors began working the mica rich clay indigenous to this region of New Mexico over 400 years ago.

With a lesson from Felipe in making hand-built micaceous clay pots, you are also immersed in Jicarilla Apache philosophy, culture, & artistic understandings, creating a rich experience that goes far beyond a pottery lesson. Felipe has taught in Mazatlán, Mexico, at SMU Cultural Institute, Taos, at Santa Fe Community College and in Switzerland. For information on his current classes, please visit his Pottery classes pages.

 Micaceous Pottery being fired
Micaceous Pottery being fired

Light weight and durable, micaceous clay vessels have been used to hold water, cook and store food. It is said that water stored in micaceous clay pots becomes purified and sweet tasting and food cooked in them takes on a rich flavor that is unlike anything cooked in a metal or cast iron pot. The mineral rich clay also takes on a sheen that makes micaceous clay pots immediately identifiable. They are sought after decorative items as well as utilitarian vessels, adding a warm glow and distinctive Southwestern ambiance to any décor.