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Making Beautiful History: The Talavera Story

by pam abrahamsson

Making Beautiful History: The Talavera Story

Making Beautiful History:  The Talavera Story

"GreenPueblaBowlMAPDF" by AlejandroLinaresGarcia - Own work. Licensed under GFDL via Commons - https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:GreenPueblaBowlMAPDF.JPG#/media/File:GreenPueblaBowlMAPDF.JPG

16th to 17th Century Puebla Talavera, photo courtesy of:  Alejandro Linares Garcia

Centuries of Beauty, Almost Lost

The beauty of today's Talavera, found in museum's and discerning homes around the world, has had a centuries-long, globe-trotting pedigree that would be the envy of any traveler.

The stunningly beautiful artwork known to us today as the Talavera pottery of Mexico comes from a tradition spanning centuries and continents.  

Yet, the history and handcraft  we know as today's Mexican Talavera pottery was almost lost to us forever. 

In the 1980's, the craft had almost disappeared, falling victim to both economics, modern society and sheer length of time it takes to create such ceramic artistry.

The painstaking process of harvesting the indigenous clay, hand-forming the local minerals into paints and the beautiful hand-painting characteristic of this pottery was simply too time-consuming for the artisans, and the rarity of the craft made the market too small.

At the same time, to hold one of these hand-crafted pieces of art, made from only the finest indigenous clays and hand-ground mineral paints, is to understand you are the steward of something truly noteworthy.  

Master Craftsmanship, Global Heritage

The pottery traces its heritage to the 12th century Moors, although influences have been documented from destinations as far-flung as Italy, China and Spain over the years.  However, it was the monks of La Reyna de la Talavera, Spain, who created the distinctive pottery style which most strongly influenced the Mexican artisans, and the work we know today as Mexican Talavera. 

talavera pottery glazes paints

Talavera in Mexico

The monks brought Talavera tiles with them from Spain as they travelled across Mexico building their monasteries.  The craftsmen of Colonial Mexico absorbed these influences, and soon far exceeded their work, creating the noteworthy patterns and rich, striking colors associated with today’s Talavera. By the 16th Century, the pottery artisans of Mexico’s colonial region were creating these unparalleled pieces of their own.

Today, the best of this work still comes from this region, and it is only these studios we represent in our online gallery. You'll also find original Talavera and Mayolica pottery displayed in museums and in leading Latin American private art collections the world over.

 

Authentic Talavera

True Talavera and Mayolica pieces only use clay indigenous to the region, and are always hand-thrown on a potter's wheel, then painted and glazed by master craftsmen.  The studio of La Corona, represented by us, hand-packs their clay, and even walks over it to ensure the dense, even, compacted texture that meets their exacting standards. 

Talavera clay being hand packed and prepared

 

Authentic Talavera pottery pieces will also have a solidly satisfying ringing sound when pinged with your fingers, and are hand signed by the studio artisans. While there are many imitators, once a person has experienced the beautiful colors, rich glaze and pleasingly durable weight of an authentic piece of this handcrafted art object, tableware or dining set, nothing else will do. 

hand painting the talavera and mayolica potteries

 

There are only a handful of studios in Mexico which truly operate to the highest standards of original Talavera production, using local clays, indigenous glazes and time-tested hand-created products.  Only nine studios in the world have earned the prestigious Denominación de Origen de la Talavera designation, of which our La Corona Talavera Studio is one.

These items can take months to create, and will never be mass-produced and available in your local mega- emporium. To own a piece of Talavera and Mayolica pottery is to own history, hand-crafted artisanship and a beautiful statement of your support for the world's finest pottery artisans. 

We Are Proud

We are proud to play a small role in supporting the continuing evolution of this beautiful handcraft.  We hope you love the history and craftsmanship as much as we do.

 





pam abrahamsson
pam abrahamsson

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