The Pottery District of Puebla

Handpainted Talavera PotteryFor three centuries a maiolica pottery industry flourished in the Spanish colonial city of Puebla, Mexico. Throughout that time it enjoyed a virtual monopoly in supplying tableware for provincial users of New Spain. It also successfully competed with peninsular Spanish and other European products in more outlying areas in the Caribbean basin. Its colorful tile became a distinguishing hallmark of Puebla architecture. Yet, much of the suggested dating for the various decorative styles that evolved during the course of those centuries has come from finds outside of central Mexico, principally ones scattered from Florida to California along the northern borderlands of the former vice royalty.

A more secure and refined chronology derived from stratified materials at or near the original source of the pottery is essential for future research in all sites, whatever side of the international border, where those ceramics are present. With that objective in mind, in the summer of 1981 a search was undertaken within Puebla for undisturbed ceramic deposits suitable for seriation. Preliminary to that search was the determination of the probable locations of the old work yards. That proved to be a relatively easy task, with results of potentially more importance than simply dating of artifacts.

Once the pottery workshop locations were graphically plotted on a map, it was obvious for the first time that a well defined potters’ quarter had existed in Puebla from shadowy beginnings in the late 16th century into the 20th century. Quite likely both unglazed or lead glazed utility vessels and tin glazed tablewares and tiles were made there, though not in the same household factories nor by the same artisans. At a time estimated to be about, the middle of the 19th century (hence the Mexican rather than Spanish period), a second district toward the eastern suburbs began to house small potteries given over to mass production of utilitarian objects.

Mexican Talavera Pottery

Talavera isn’t just any kind of pottery, though, and not just any artisan can make it. The form, which is known in Spain as majolica, is a tin-enameled earthenware whose hard white glaze provides a backdrop against which the vivid glazes applied to it can visually pop. And those vivid glazes are selected carefully; in fact, for Mexican talavera to be considered authentic, it can only be painted in one or more of six colors– black, blue, green, orange, yellow, or mauve–all of which must be made of natural dyes and all of which must be painted onto the piece of tile or pottery by hand. The clay, a mix of a lighter and darker barro, must also come from Puebla and the forms into which it is shaped are fired twice. The process is hands-on, time-intensive, and elaborate.

In Mexico, the center of authentic talavera production is the state of Puebla, whose artisans have been renowned for the ceramic form since it was introduced to the country. In fact, Puebla has denominación de orígen status as the source of authentic talavera, and though the tradition of this art form originated in Europe, local producer Uriarte claims that Puebla is the largest producer of talavera in the world today. Read full article here:  The Latin Kitchen

Talavera Poblana: Four Centuries of a Mexican Ceramic Tradition

61HB0K548HL._SX362_BO1,204,203,200_Talavera Poblana: Four Centuries of a Mexican Ceramic Tradition was an historical survey presenting the history of Mexican Talavera ceramics tin-glazed earthenware, from its Spanish roots through contemporary manifestations. The exhibition’s historical section included objects borrowed from important New York collections, the latter portion presented contemporary interpretations of this traditional medium by Mexican and foreign artists, selected from the collection of the Museo Amparo in Puebla, Mexico.

The show was curated by Margaret Connors McQuad, Assistant Curator of Ceramics and Furniture, at The Hispanic Society of America, New York and included ceramic basins, vases, bowls, drug jars, as well as sculptures of various shapes and sizes.

The early production of Talavera Poblana was primarily influenced by Old World traditions brought over by immigrant ceramists from various parts of Spain. Talavera initially referred to the city of Talavera de la Reina in the Province of Toledo, Spain. Talavera Poblana refers to the tradition of ceramic production in Puebla, Mexico with its unique style that combines motifs and surface decorations from different cultures and origins.

Certified Talavera Pottery

Talavera Plate by Studio Tomas HuertaTrue, 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.

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.

Majolica ceramics, made in the Talavera style, are produced throughout many different regions of Mexico.  These new influences have produced a variety of modern styles and designs that are growing in popularity.  One such area, Dolores Hidalgo, is the home of Artesanias Amora fabrica.  It is considered the best fabrica in the area and produces some of the finest quality modern Talavera in Mexico today.  Although these products do not meet the exacting standards established by the Consejo Regulador de Talavera, they are fine quality modern Talavera pieces a modest prices.

Works of Art – Talavera

1404246573-TH085_a (1)Works of art good enough to eat off – that’s the essence of Talavera pottery.

The Mexican pottery, which has been around for 400 years and is primarily made in Puebla City, is an artistic and practical achievement. Vases, cups, plates, serving bowls, and tiles, called azulejos, are some of the items I saw being made in Uriate Talavera factory where the highly regarded, expensive pottery is hand made. The factory, which was established in 1824, is one of Puebla city’s most renowned because it is one of the few authentic Talavera workshops left today. Talavera is one of Mexico’s most unique items, making it a worthwhile gift to bring home.

Puebla City is located sixty miles southeast of Mexico City, making it a convenient hop, skip, and a jump away – and a convenient escape – from Mexico City, which is the world’s largest. Puebla City, which is also the capital of the same name state, is the country’s fourth largest urban center. Approximately two million people live there. The residents, who call themselves poblanos, live in the most European of all of Mexico’s colonial cities. The Spanish established and planned the 16th century city from the  ground up, rather than building it within an existing indigenous community. They did this because the location was on the main route between Mexico City and Veracruz, which was at that time the most important port in the country. Puebla City is situated at a height of 7,000 feet above sea level and is  blessed with a temperate, year round climate.

While the Spanish may have first introduced the highly decorative art from their home country when they settled in the heart of Mexico, diverse artistic styles, including Moorish and Oriental cultural nuances transformed the colonizer’s craft to what it is today. The Moorish influence of cobalt blue patterns on white appeared on Mexican pottery around the late 15th century, while the Oriental styles of animals and floral designs were first seen in the mid-16th century. To be authentic, Talavera pottery (named after a town in Spain) must be hand-painted in intricate designs using natural dyes derived from minerals. The colors used include blue, black, yellow, green and reddish pink.   During a ninety-minute tour of the factory, we learned just how long it takes to make these detailed works of art. And while the pottery is expensive to purchase, even at the point of production, our tour helped us understand why. The factory usually offers free tours that are shorter, but our group of writers was interested in learning minute details about how the pottery is made.

Historical Talavera Information

Talavera Plates from MexicoIn the early 20th century, interest developed in collecting Talavera. 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 theMetropolitan 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. A bit later, in the 1920s, Franz Mayer, a German-born stockbroker, started his collection. In Puebla, he was considered a bit crazy for buying all of the “old stuff” from the locals. In 1986, the Franz Mayer Museum opened in Mexico City with the largest collection of Talavera Poblana in the world – 726 pieces from the 17th through the 19th century, and some 20th-century pieces by Enrique Luis Ventosa. In Puebla, José Luis Bello y González and his son José Mariano Bello y Acedo sought the advice of Ventosa in starting their collection. They amassed the largest and most important collection in the city which now is housed in the José Luis Bello y González Museum (Bello Museum).

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.

Several temporary and travelling exhibits of certain themes have been created from these permanent collections. One of these was called “El Aguila en la Historia de Mexico” (The Eagle in the History of Mexico). The forty-two-piece exhibit was sponsored by the Senate of Mexico to show how the eagle symbol has been used in the country throughout its history. This exhibit was sponsored in honor of the Bicentennial of Independence in 2010. These ceramics were chosen because of their combination of art and utility. Eagles depicted include that of Mexico’s coat of arms, as well as those of political figures such as José María Morelos y Pavón and Porfirio Díaz, and those used by institutions such as the Royal and Pontifical University of Mexico and the Mexican Senate itself.

Maiolica Pottery – Pass the Talavera Please

MH460a Talavera, in Puebla, Mexico, is a type of Maiolica pottery, which is distinguished by a milky-white glaze. Authentic Talavera pottery only comes from the city of Puebla and the nearby communities of Atlixco, Cholula, and Tecali, because of the quality of the natural clay found there and the tradition of production which goes back to the 16th century. Much of this pottery was decorated only in blue, but colors such as yellow, black, green, orange and mauve have also been used. Maiolica pottery was brought to Mexico by the Spanish in the first century of the colonial period. Production of this ceramic became highly developed in Puebla because of the availability of fine clays and the demand for tiles from the newly established churches and monasteries in the area. The industry had grown sufficiently that by the mid-17th century, standards and guilds had been established which further improved the quality, leading Puebla into what is called the “golden age” of Talavera pottery (from 1650 to 1750).

Some pieces are from the renowned studio of Maximo Huerta, these pieces represent the finest in authentic Talavera. Hand-thrown from the rich soils of Puebla, then fired and finished in a classic blend of precision and artistry, each design is a beautiful work of art. His ginger jars are just exquisite. MH461a - Talavera Plate

A Talavera Ginger Jar by Maximo Huerta exudes true style and grace. Intimately detailed with delicate hand-painted designs, it is a work of art that will become the centerpiece in any space.

Our Talavera planters feature wonderfully intricate floral patterns that will look great with your plants, indoors or out! The ceramic of these Talavera planters is hand-painted in Dolores Hidalgo, Mexico, and embodies all the classic charm of Mexican Talavera. Available in several shapes and sizes, all Talavera planters also feature a convenient drain hole. Let the bright colors and your plants breathe life back into your home decor!

Whether you keep fresh fruit or wax fruit in your house on display, the Talavera fruit bowl is the perfect dish for display. Many of these Talavera fruit bowls can also double as a punch bowl for when you throw parties. Each is handmade and hand-painted by skilled artists in Mexico. By using modern, high-temperature kilns each Talavera fruit bowl is sure to have a strong and durable finish making them crack and chip resistant.

Designer Dining with Handmade Talavera Plates

Talavera Plate by Studio Maximo HuertaPlace Settings by Tomas Huerta – Complement your current style of dining with a designer touch.

These beautifully handcrafted Talavera plates by the renowned Tomas Huerta ceramic studio will make a vibrant and cultural addition to any space in your home. With over 100 unique designs in this expansive collection, you’re sure to find one that fits your taste. Consider pairing these uniquely styled pieces with other pieces from our catalog of kitchen accessories. Every authentic Talavera plate is handmade in Puebla, Mexico, and is 100% lead free; chip and crack resistant; as well as microwave, oven, and dishwasher safe! There is even an eyelet on the back of each plate for easy wall hanging, making a Talavera plate an excellent gift idea, or piece of wall art

Other items from the kitchen accessoriescategory, including our Talavera canisters, planters, platters and fruit bowls, they all 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.

Due to the handmade nature of Talavera pottery, colors and designs may vary slightly.

Talavera Ceramics in Mexico

Handpainted Talavera PotteryCeramics in Mexico date back thousands of years before the Pre-Columbian period, when ceramic arts and pottery crafts developed with the first advanced civilizations and cultures of Mesoamerica. With one exception, pre-Hispanic wares were not glazed, but ratherburnished and painted with colored fine clay slips. The potter’s wheel was unknown as well; pieces were shaped by molding, coiling and other methods.

After the Spanish Invasion and Conquest, European techniques and designs were introduced, nearly wiping out the native traditions. Indigenous traditions survive in a few pottery items such as comals, and the addition of indigenous design elements into mostly European motifs. Today, ceramics are still produced from traditional items such as dishes, kitchen utensils to new items such as sculptures and folk art. Despite the fame of the prior, the bulk of ceramic items produced in the country are floor and wall tiles along with bathroom fixtures. Mexico has a number of well-known artisan ceramic traditions, most of which are in the center and south of the country. Examples are the Talavera of Puebla, the majolica of Guanajuato, the various wares of the Guadalajara area, and barro negro of Oaxaca. A more recent addition is the production of Mata Ortiz or Pakimé wares in Chihuahua. While the number of artisans has been dropping due to competition from mass-produced items, the production of folk art and fine ware still has an important role in the Mexican economy and the production of pottery in general is still important to Mexican culture.

Since 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!

Talavera for Coffee or Tea!

1340651185-tts038aIt’s a beautiful day on the hacienda and a perfect day to bring out the good china right? Not so fast. No need to make your get together or tea party for the girls stuffy and overdone.

The idea is to enjoy the day with attractive and beautifully designed pieces that are not intimidating yet very elegant indeed.

If you are searching for an elegant coffee or tea 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.

Other items from the Talavera Pottery category, including our Talavera sinks, canisters, planters, andfruit 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.