Talavera is quite versatile, and artists make a variety of items, not just bowls and vases, from this type of earthenware. Many come in the traditional designs and make for great decorative and utilitarian pieces in the home.
One thing anyone who wants to buy Talavera should know is how to spot authentic pieces and distinguish them from regular types of pottery. The Mexican Government, through the Mexican Talavera Regulatory Council, has actually laid down some rules to limit the production of this type of pottery to within four districts. Any workshop looking to produce authentic Talavera must apply for certification from the council, and must pass a verification process each month.
Real Talavera must pass other standards as well. The workshop making the Talavera pottery must only use the two types of clay that come from the area. Next, the artist must only hand-form the clay. For example, he or she must never mix the clay into a liquid consistency and pour it into molds. The clay should have a tin and lead glaze base, which should be slightly porous and not pure white. Finally, artists must paint the pieces by hand, using only the prescribed colors: blue, green, yellow, red, brown, and black, although mixing these colors with blue to form orange and purple is acceptable.