Talavera: The Ceramic as an Expression of Art

Verónica Santamaría


Art is created through hands that try and capture the sensibility of elaborated designs in all kinds of daily objects such as decorative plates, dinnerware, ashtrays, flowerpots, glazed tiles and a number of decorative objects. Talavera is a form of traditional pottery from Puebla and one of the most outstanding handicrafts elaborated in Mexico . Its origin dates back to the Dominicans monks who made this kind of pottery in their monastery in the city of Talavera de la Reina in Toledo , Spain . When they settled in Mexico during the Colonial period, they brought these ceramic objects and taught the craft to the people who live in the region. They passed on their skills as a cultural heritage which has been preserved during many years.

jarron Unique designs and unequalled shapes, Talavera's basic colors are blue, yellow, green, terracotta, black and orange and they are used in drawings such as flowers, animals and all kind of figures. Authentic Talavera ceramic has a distinctive pink, terracota or a bit of paint, where you can find the logo of the workshop that made the piece.

elaboracion The process of elaboration of a piece of Talavera consists of the combination of black and white clay in the same proportion. The mix of clay needs to be processed to make it more malleable and then kneaded with the feet to eliminate air bubbles. After that, the pieces of clay are shaped, dried for 5 or 10 weeks and then baked in an oven nine times. To prepare the enamel, lead, tin and fine sand are melted until they produce a cream color, after which all the pieces are glazed and hand painted with diverse minerals to be baked once again during 8 hours at a temperature of 1895º Fahrenheit.

plato In the zone of the Valley of Puebla , in the regions of Atlixco, Cholula, Puebla and Tecali, it is easy to find the necessary elements to make Talavera. It has been used not only in the production of decorative pieces but also in the manufacture of crockery and tiles used to decorate facades of houses and churches, mainly in the cities of Puebla and Tlaxcala during Colonial times.

azulejo The quality of such detailed work and the enormous creativity in the making of Talavera has come to be a renowned and valued worldwide. These pieces can be seen in houses, palaces, convents, museums, bazaars and as personal collections, always admired for its beauty, usefulness, color and mainly as a true work of art in which the sense of a culture can be appreciated. A piece of Talavera is synonymous to the quality and wealth of the handicrafts proudly crafted by artisans from Puebla .