Talavera Poblana is an exquisite type of pottery

Mexico has a rich and long history with producing ceramics, predating the arrival of the Spanish by several centuries. Stunning pre-Columbian artifacts from its many civilizations attest to this fact. The indigenous peoples of Mexico, long acquainted with making items from clay, had their own distinct method of producing earthenware, one which did not involve glazing or the use of the potter’s wheel.

Talavera Poblana is an exquisite type of pottery whose history goes back hundreds of years. The lovely and beautiful colonial city of Puebla, located just 70 miles from Mexico City, is home to this world-renowned art form. In addition to purchasing authentic Talavera pottery in Puebla, there are many reasons to visit the city, including sampling its fabulous regional cuisine. Some of Puebla’s delectable dishes include their famous mole poblana sauce as well as the seasonal delicious dish of chiles en nogada. Additionally, the historic center of Puebla has been named a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Undoubtedly, one of the reasons for this honor is due to the absolutely stunning tile work that decorates the town’s historic colonial buildings.

Shortly after Puebla was founded in 1531, the Spanish feverishly began building churches, monasteries and convents. To decorate these buildings, craftsman from the city of Talavera de la Reina, located in Spain, were commissioned to come to the New World to produce fine tiles as well as other ceramic ware. In addition, these same craftsman were to teach the indigenous artisans their technique of Majolica pottery, in order to increase production levels.

The tradition that the Spanish craftsmen brought from Talavera de la Reina to the New World has a fascinating history. During the 8th century, the Moors from Northern Africa conquered Spain and with their arrival, the customary blending of cultures occurred. One such consequence was the introduction of Majolica pottery, an art form known for its beautiful glazes and intricate design work. A major component of Majolica is its glazing technique which contains tin as an ingredient. This particular type of glaze provides a creamy white background that is ideal for applying design.

Spanish craftsman from Talavera de la Reina embraced the techniques of Majolica and also added to the art form. Chinese and Italian influences were incorporated and guilds of craftsmanship, where strict adherence to technique were required, were formed. This dedication was brought from Spain to Mexico. Guilds were summarily established in Mexico with appropriate standards and regulations. The indigenous craftsmen incorporated their artistic heritage with the techniques of Majolica pottery. A beautiful marriage was formed between the old world and the new, and Puebla became the birthplace of an exquisite art form known as Talavera Poblana.

Talavera Pottery is an Art

Authentic Talavera Servings Platters and BowlsTalavera pottery is an art, historically linked to certain spaces like the kitchen, churches, convents, facades, and interiors of houses. This art that is essential as sculpture, has also an internal space; that of imaginary, represented over its surface; this spaces conform a world where reality and fantasy communicate, where the hands that create, buy and sell ,combine with the hands that paint the forms of their dreams into an object. This is the world of Talavera Poblana, another world in our world.

Talavera ceramic is made in several parts of Mexico, but official Talavera is only produced in Puebla. The Talavera produced in certain workshops in Puebla is now officially designated, recognized and protected by the Government of Mexico. These Talavera manufacturers must follow a complex and strict technical fabrication process dating from the 16th Century and use only clay from a few approved clay sites in the Puebla area.

Since the mineral pigments needed to produce the color blue were very expensive, this color was reserved for the finest ceramic. Talavera buyers could easily differentiate the quality of fine ceramic from the one of lesser quality. During the 18th Century the Talavera artisans started to broaden the designs of their ceramic by using more colors, like green, mauve and yellow, in addition to the blue tones that were very popular in the 16th and 17th Centuries.

Thanks to the artistic skills and the high quality of the clays, the Talavera form Puebla has achieved high quality and beauty. In the centuries XIX and early XX it became common for wealthy families in Mexico to have extensive collection of talavera dinner sets and decorations. Since then, it has been treasured and appreciated by collectors and admirers all over Mexico and in many other parts of the world.

Hand-Painted Talavera Pottery

ThMexican Talavera Potterye world of interior design knows Talavera pottery as an ornate style of ceramics produced solely in Mexico by proud local artisans. These vibrantly colored, handcrafted works of art have been fashioned in the same way for centuries and appreciated for their quality and aesthetics for just as long. So what is it about Mexican Talavera that makes it so special?

 The world of interior design knows Talavera pottery as an ornate style of ceramics produced solely in Mexico by proud local artisans.

As you can imagine, Mexican Talavera has a long and rich history. Named after the Spanish village of Talavera de la Reina, this renowned ceramic art boasts a melting pot of multiculturalism. The Spanish contribution dates back to the invasion of the Moors, who brought their knowledge of ceramics from ancient Egypt and Mesopotamia, and which was later refined by a combination of the Italian Renaissance and artisans from the Orient. Later, Spanish colonists brought their highly refined ceramic skills to Mexico, where they were once again blended with the unique pottery styles of Aztec, Mayan and other indigenous cultures.

It’s not just the history of Mexican Talavera that makes it so desirable. Excellent craftsmanship is a common trademark of Talavera pottery. The process begins by blending together two different clays, then soaking them thoroughly in water to improve pliability. When it’s determined that the clay is ready, having been removed of impurities, it’s then formed into the desired shape by hand, molds or a potter’s wheel. Next, the newly constructed form is left to dry for up to three months. Once the artist has inspected and approved the dried clay, the piece then undergoes the first of two firings. The initial firing turns the clay into a reddish-orange color that is then brightly painted with intricate patterns – a trademark of Talavera ceramics. Afterwards, the pottery is submerged in a special tin-glaze, then fired once more. The final product – what was once an ordinary mound of clay – is now a beautiful work of Talavera art.

Talavera pottery is known for brilliant colors set against a pristine white background. Typically, the vivid patterns are slightly raised, and the entire piece is smoothed over by a glossy sheen. Yellow, green and mauve were traditionally the most prolific colors used to decorate Talavera, although cobalt blue was the most desired. Due to the expensive mineral pigments required for its use, this regal color became a way to identify the finest quality of Talavera ceramics.

Today, Talavera patterns can be simple and bold or elaborate and highly detailed. Floral patterns are perhaps the most common, but when it comes to Mexican Talavera, creativity is limitless. Although some patterns might appear similar, hand-painted Talavera is never identical. This should be no cause for concern, however, as color and pattern themes almost always exist, and the individual character of each piece will only enhance your Talavera collection or home décor. This is especially true if you consider decorating your home with Talavera tile.

One of the most predominant characteristics of colonial Mexican cities, in particular the city of Puebla located in central Mexico, is the beautiful Talavera tiles. In the 17th and 18th centuries, as the production of Talavera pottery continued to grow, striking tile and tile murals began to adorn Mexican churches, buildings, stairways, gardens and homes. These architectural examples splashed color in an otherwise dull stretch of concrete and brought kitchens and bathrooms to life in a way that only Talavera tile could deliver. Now, more than ever, this style continues to be embraced as authentically Mexican.

When it comes to Mexican and southwestern home décor, Talavera pottery and Talavera tile can be an essential part of capturing an authentic design motif. At La Fuente Imports we strive to offer the most outstanding and diverse selection of handcrafted Talavera tiles found anywhere on the web. Also, be sure to browse our exceptional Talavera plates and platters, plus everything else for decorating your home including Talavera vases, canisters, planters and more!

Mexican Pottery Production in Puebla

Talavera Snack Tray by Studio Tomas HuertaPuebla was the most prominent of the Mexican centers of pottery production to employ the technique of tin-enameled earthenware, known in Europe as maiolica, or faience. This technique produced a hard opaque white glaze, which served as a background for colorful, enamel-painted designs.

The name Talavera, as applied to this ware, alludes to the city of Talavera de la Reina, the major producer of colorful maiolica in Spain from the sixteenth to the mid-eighteenth century. One tradition holds that the technique was introduced to Puebla by immigrants from the Spanish pottery center before 1653, the year in which the Pueblan potters’ guild was founded. However, the majority of surviving eighteenth-century maiolica from Puebla, with its blue-and-white palette, reflects the position of this city on the Spanish trade route from the Far East via the Philippines and across Mexico. A vast quantity of  Chinese export porcelain carried by galleons from Manila remained in New Spain and served as models for the potters in Puebla (who were undoubtedly also conscious of the vogue for blue-and-white pottery in seventeenth- and eighteenth-century Europe).

This collection of tin-enameled earthenware from Mexico was the gift of Emily Johnston de Forest, one of the Metropolitan Museum’s early patrons and a founder of The American Wing. Her pioneering interest in this material inspired the acquisition of similar collections by other American museums in the early twentieth century. In a letter to the Metropolitan at the time of her donation in 1911, Mrs. de Forest remarked:

The collection is important, in my opinion, not only as representing an artistic ceramic development, but, more particularly, as representing such a development in America. It seems to me to form a part of a collection representing the arts of Mexico which I hope will some time be fully represented in the Museum, as an American Museum.

Johanna Hecht
Department of European Sculpture and Decorative Arts, The Metropolitan Museum of Art

16th Century Mexican Talavera Pottery

Talavera PoblanaSince the 16th century, Mexican craftsmen have been producing Talavera pottery.  This art form has evolved from ancient cultures and influenced the production of pottery in Mexico resulting in the exquisite Talavera pottery that is available today.  True, certified Talavera pottery is produced in the city of Puebla, in the state of Puebla, Mexico however, high-quality, modern Talavera pottery is also available from factories in other Mexican districts such as Dolores Hidalgo and Guanajuato.

Age-old techniques have been passed down from generation to generation by master craftsmen.  These techniques produce unique pieces that are truly works of art.  Vibrant colors and delicate details are trademarks of Talavera pottery that give it the characteristic color and brilliance known only to Talavera ware.

Talavera is a type of majolica earthenware that is fired at extremely high temperatures producing a very durable product.  Artisans are not limited to the production of tiles and vases.  You will find beautiful pieces to suit your taste in plates, jars, pots, religious figures, animals and more!

To appreciate your Talavera, you should know something of its origins.  We hope that this short history of this beautiful pottery lends a hand to creating this understanding.

From the time of the Olmecs, between 1200 BC and 600 AD, pottery has been a central part of Mexican life.  Their use of clay, knowledge of primitive firing and coloring techniques, as well as designs was passed down to other cultures that followed.  The Olmecs are considered by many as the mother culture of Mesoamerican civilizations.

Talavera de la Reina, a Spanish village, has long been influential in the world’s knowledge of fine ceramics.  When the Muslims conquered North Africa and moved into Europe, their tin-glazed ceramics, known as Majolica, came to Spain.  Majolica was developed in the Middle East but gained cultural diversity through influences from the Chinese, Italians, Moors and Spanish cultures.  Spanish craftsmen learned and further developed this craft and, in the 16th century, introduced it to Mexico.  The term Talavera is used to describe faithful reproductions of the pottery that is made in Talavera de la Reina, Spain.

When the Spanish introduced their stylized pottery to their recently established colony in Mexico, the local artisans blended these new techniques with their established practices to creat the famous Talavera pottery of Mexico.  It is believed that the first workshop was established in the city of Puebla around 1600 AD.  Puebla became the home of authentic Mexican Talavera and is where the first potter’s guilds were formed to establish standards and regulations for the production of Talavera.

Talavera of Puebla Mexico

Authentic Talavera Plate - MH469aThe culture of Mexico reflects the country’s complex history and is the result of the gradual blending of native culture (particularly Mesoamerican) with Spanish culture and other immigrant cultures.

First inhabited more than 10,000 years ago, the cultures that developed in Mexico became one of the cradles of civilization. During the 300 year rule by the Spanish, Mexico became a crossroad for the people and cultures of Europe, Africa and Asia. The government of independent Mexico actively promoted shared cultural traits in order to create a national identity.

The culture of an individual Mexican is influenced by their familial ties, gender, religion, location and social class, among other factors. In many ways, contemporary life in the cities of Mexico has become similar to that in neighboring United States and Europe, with provincial people conserving traditions more so than the city dwellers.

Mexico is known for its folk art traditions, mostly derived from the indigenous and Spanish crafts. Pre-Columbian art thrived over a wide timescale, from 1800 BC to AD 1500. Certain artistic characteristics were repeated throughout the region, namely a preference for angular, linear patterns, and three-dimensional ceramics.

Notable handicrafts include the Talavera of Puebla, the majolica of Guanajuato, the various wares of the Guadalajara area, and barro negro of Oaxaca.

In the early 20th century, interest developed in collecting Talavera Pottery. In 1904, an American by the name of Emily Johnston de Forrest discovered Talavera on a trip to Mexico. She became interested in collecting the works, so she consulted scholars, local collectors and dealers. Eventually, her collection became the base of what is currently exhibited in the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York. Her enthusiasm was passed onto Edwin Atlee Barber, the curator of the Pennsylvania Museum of Art. He, too, spent time in Mexico and introduced Talavera into the Pennsylvania museum’s collection. He studied the major stylistic periods and how to distinguish the best examples, publishing a guide in 1908 which is still considered authoritative.

During this time period, important museum collections were being assembled in Mexico as well. One of the earliest and most important was the collection of Francisco Perez Salazer in Mexico City.  More recently, the Museo de la Talavera (Talavera Museum) has been established in the city of Puebla, with an initial collection of 400 pieces. The museum is dedicated to recounting the origins, history, expansions and variations in the craft. Pieces include some of the simplest and most complex, as well as those representing different eras.

Mexican Talavera Pottery Can Not be Imitated

talavera pottery from mexicoTraditional glazed pottery from Puebla (Mexico) known as “Talavera” inspired by the Spanish origin of Talavera de la Reyna, is in no danger to the invasion of imitations from China, said an expert in this field.

Businesswoman Angelica Moreno, owner of the Mexican workshop Talavera de la Reyna said at a news conference that copies of Talavera crafts have a lower quality than Mexican so he is not worried trying to compete with them.

Comments were made at the Franz Mayer Museum in Mexico City concerning the presentation of the exhibition “Alarca. Talavera Contemporary. Glazed pottery”, which will be open until September 30.

Moreno criticized the Chinese ceramics, which he considered “horrific” and said anyone who knows poblana wouldn’t buy a Chinese ceramic product.

The specialist says it takes more than three months to make a good Mexican talaverana piece and a technique that has more than four centuries old is employed.

The name “Talavera” in Mexico is used to designate any object with white glazed ceramic tin and metal oxides, following the techniques introduced in Mexico by the Spanish potters during colonial times (1521-1821).

He added that another thing they have going for 16 Talavera workshops based in Puebla is the denomination of origin, obtained in 1997 and a hologram that distinguishes each piece, which gives security to the buyer that they are purchasing an original piece.

Article Source: El Siglo de Torreon

On the exhibition that will open he said includes more than 70 pieces of pottery made in his workshop and based on designs of 55 Mexican artists.

Among them are Juan Soriano, Francisco Toledo, Vicente Rojo, Javier Marin Paloma Torres, Besabeé Romero and Germán Montalvo.

He praised the contributions of these artists for their uniqueness and because they have enriched the work of Mexican artisans making their way to renew their pieces.

Among those on display will be a car, lenses, dolls, vases, plates, cups, sculptures and pieces of crockery.

The expert noted that the pieces were made in the last fifteen years and are part of a valuable collection of workshop Reyna has been exhibited in Puebla and in Beijing.

The Accomplished Potters of Puebla

Talavera Plate by Studio Tomas HuertaThe indigenous people of Mexico were very accomplished potters and already had a very long tradition producing earthenware.  But they did not know how to use the potters wheel or tin-glaze their pottery, which is one of the main characteristics of the majolica ceramic known as Talavera.

Other versions state that the Dominican friars were the ones that knew how to produce this type of ceramic and that they were the ones that taught the Indians how to do it.

The truth is there are documents that record the presence of several craftsmen from Talavera de la Reina in Puebla during the 16th Century, which established their workshops to produce tiles and ceramic wares. It was a very profitable business since there were so many churches and monasteries being built.

In time, a potter’s gild was formed and Ordinances were laid down, that all of the potters that wished to produce Talavera had to follow. This was done so that the quality of the ceramics called Talavera was uniform and that this earthenware had a distinctive style and excellence.

Some of the rules established by the Ordinances were:

  • The color blue was to be used on the finest ceramic. This was so because the mineral pigments needed to produce this color were very expensive.  The customer could then easily distinguish the quality of fine ceramic from one of lesser quality.

  • To avoid falsifications each master potter had to sign or mark his products.

  • Three types of earthenware were to be produced depending on the quality of the pieces: Fine, Semi fine, and for Daily use.

  • Yearly there were to be examinations that the craftsmen had to pass in order to be considered master potters

The majority of Talavera pottery offered by La Fuente Imports, including all plates, platters, and place settings, is made by hand in traditional fashion and is 100% lead-free as well as microwave, oven, and dishwasher safe for years of enjoyment in your home.

Talavera Poblana is an Exquisite Type of Pottery

Authentic Talavera Pottery from Puebla, MexicoTalavera Poblana is an exquisite type of pottery whose history goes back hundreds of years. The lovely and beautiful colonial city of Puebla, located just 70 miles from Mexico City, is home to this world-renowned art form. In addition to purchasing authentic Talavera pottery in Puebla, there are many reasons to visit the city, including sampling its fabulous regional cuisine. Some of Puebla’s delectable dishes include their famous mole poblana sauce as well as the seasonal delicious dish of chiles en nogada. Additionally, the historic center of Puebla has been named a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Undoubtedly, one of the reasons for this honor is due to the absolutely stunning tile work that decorates the town’s historic colonial buildings.

Mexico has a rich and long history with producing ceramics, predating the arrival of the Spanish by several centuries. Stunning pre-Columbian artifacts from its many civilizations attest to this fact. The indigenous peoples of Mexico, long acquainted with making items from clay, had their own distinct method of producing earthenware, one which did not involve glazing or the use of the potter’s wheel.

Shortly after Puebla was founded in 1531, the Spanish feverishly began building churches, monasteries and convents. To decorate these buildings, craftsman from the city of Talavera de la Reina, located in Spain, were commissioned to come to the New World to produce fine tiles as well as other ceramic ware. In addition, these same craftsman were to teach the indigenous artisans their technique of Majolica pottery, in order to increase production levels.

The tradition that the Spanish craftsmen brought from Talavera de la Reina to the New World has a fascinating history. During the 8th century, the Moors from Northern Africa conquered Spain and with their arrival, the customary blending of cultures occurred. One such consequence was the introduction of Majolica pottery, an art form known for its beautiful glazes and intricate design work. A major component of Majolica is its glazing technique which contains tin as an ingredient. This particular type of glaze provides a creamy white background that is ideal for applying design.

One characteristic of authentic Talavera pottery is the quality of detail in the painting, expertly applied. There is a raised appearance to the painted line, accompanied by a glossy sheen. Only natural earth pigments are used for the colors found in true Talavera. In its early days, the finest pottery was painted with a deep blue mineral, the most expensive pigment. This color motif, placed on the creamy white of the fired clay, was much sought after. It also provided a quality measure, reassuring the buyer that the piece they were purchasing was of the highest caliber. Other colors were introduced in 18th century, including yellow, green and mauve.

Today, when visiting the city of Puebla, you will be able to purchase authentic Talavera tiles, vases and dishes, along with many other fine Talavera objects. As well, you can see first-hand how Talavera tiles were used extensively in the decoration of the city’s historic churches, monasteries and ex-convents.

Talavera Pottery for Everyday Use

1340651185-tts038aThe tradition of Talavera Pottery has struggled since the Mexican War of Independence in the early 19th century, when the number of workshops were reduced to less than eight in the state of Puebla. Later efforts by artists and collectors revived the craft somewhat in the early 20th century and there are now significant collections of Talavera pottery in Puebla, Mexico City and New York City. Further efforts to preserve and promote the craft have occurred in the late 20th century, with the introduction of new, decorative designs and the passage of the Denominación de Origen de la Talavera law to protect authentic, Talavera pieces made with the original, 16th-century methods.

If you are searching for an elegant Talavera coffee set to use not only for special occasions, but also for everyday use, then try our handmade Talavera tea and coffee sets. With every set having its own unique design, you are sure to find a coffee set that you will love. These Talavera coffee/tea sets are 100% lead free, microwave safe, and won’t easily chip or crack. Each coffee set is available in a 4, 6, or 8 person setting.

Use the colorful Talavera snack trays to highlight your dining table or any serving area with authentic Mexican style! Each Talavera snack tray is handmade and hand-painted by the artisans of the Tomas Huerta studio. They are great for serving your favorite snacks and hors d’oeuvres or tea sandwiches. Be sure to view the Tomas Huerta studio plates as well to complete a table set! Each authentic snack tray includes an eyelet for wall hanging and is 100% lead free; chip resistant; and microwave, oven, and dishwasher safe and easy to store.

Authentic Talavera pottery only comes from the city of Puebla and the communities of Atlixco, Cholula and Tecali, as the clays needed and the history of this craft are both centered there. All pieces are hand-thrown on a potter’s wheel and the glazes contain tin and lead, as they have since colonial times. This glaze must craze, be slightly porous and milky-white, but not pure white. There are only six permitted colors: blue, yellow, black, green, orange and mauve, and these colors must be made from natural pigments.

Other items from the Talavera Pottery category, including our Talavera sinks, canisters, planters, and fruit bowls, come from the historic city of Dolores Hidalgo. Every design is painted by hand, and all plates and platters are made with an eyelet on the back for hanging on walls. So whether for home decoration or for day-to-day use in the dining room, our extensive selection of authentic Talavera pottery is sure to make a wonderful addition to your home décor.