Felipe Ortega

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.