What is Authentic Talavera?

                                                    "...workshops throughout Mexico began to take
                                                         advantage of the term's association with a refined
                                                        product and painted the word Talavera on the base
                                                         of almost any decorated and glazed ceramic vessel."
                                                                                                       Talavera Poblana
                                                                   Four Centuries of A Mexican Ceramic Tradition

   Authentic Talavera  pottery is the ceramic ware produced  by certified workshops in the state of Puebla  Mexico following the traditional process introduced by the Spaniards in the 16th Century.

In 1997 the State of Puebla obtained the Denomination of Origin stating that only the pottery produced in the geographical region of the State of Puebla or Zona de Talavera (Talavera Zone)  and that follows the standards set by the Consejo Regulador de la Talavera (Regulating Council of Talavera)  can be called Talavera.    In order to be certified these workshops have to pass an inspection and verification process every six months. So, just as Champagne is only produced in Champagne,  France, Talavera can only be produced in Puebla, Mexico.

Following are some of the most important guidelines that the Official Mexican Norm for Talavera established:

  • Talavera : A type of original ceramic exclusive to the denominated "Talavera Zone" (Atlixco, Cholula, Puebla and Tecali, all in the geographical region of the State of Puebla), whose characteristics are derived from the geographical region and that have their origins in the Spanish majolica. 

  • The black and white clays used to create Talavera pottery must be obtained from natural deposits in the Talavera Zone. 

  • The pottery must be hand-formed, hand thrown using clay from the designated region. The clay must be of a consistency that does not allow pouring into molds. Molds can be used only by pressing the clay into them.

  • Talavera must contain a tin and lead glaze base  following the formula used in Colonial times.

  • This glaze must craze and should be slightly porous.

  • The glaze base must not be pure white. Its coloring should have undertones that go from Pantone 482C, 467C to 1C light gray.

  • The pottery must be hand painted using only the six traditional mineral pigments: blue, green, yellow, red,  brown and black. By combining these colors different tones of blue are achieved as well as an orange and purple color.   The pigments must be made at the workshop following long-established formulas.

  •  The painting must fuse into the glazing having a subtle, sort of blurred appearance. The blue and/or yellow details can have a bas-relief look.

  •  Authentic Talavera has a handmade appearance, meaning it doesn't look "machine made  perfect".  Irregularities are characteristic and desirable (such as the crazing of the glaze).

    Good books about Talavera and Mexican Pottery:

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