Photo: "The Grandparents House"
A traditional Mexican style kitchen at the hand painted Talavera-Tile factory store in Puerto Vallarta, Mexico!
Copyright © Ute Hagen 2013 All Rights Reserved
Talavera pottery (and tiles) of Puebla, Mexico is a type of majolica 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. Majolica pottery was brought to Mexico by the Spanish in the first century of the colonial period.
The tradition has struggled since the Mexican War of Independence in the early 19th century, during which the number of workshops were 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.
Today, only pieces made by designated areas and from workshops that have been certified are permitted to call their work "Talavera."  Certification is issued by the Consejo Regulador de la Talavera, a special regulatory body. Only nine workshops have so far been certified: Uriarte Talavera, Talavera La Reyna, Talavera Armando, Talavera Celia, Talavera Santa Catarina, Talavera de la Nueva Espana, Talavera de la Luz, Talavera de las Americas, and Talavera Virglio Perez. Each of these needs to pass a twice-yearly inspection of the manufacturing processes. Pieces are subject to sixteen laboratory tests with internationally certified labs. In addition, there is a test done by the Faculty of Sciences of the University of Puebla to ensure that the glaze does not have lead content of more than 2.5 parts per million or cadmium content of more than 0.25 parts per million, as many of the pieces are used to serve food. Only pieces from workshops that meet the standards are authorized to have the signature of the potter, the logo of the workshop and the special hologram that certifies the piece's authenticity.