Ceramic City

BBC + Rosewood Hotels & Resorts · April 1, 2017

How Puebla became synonymous with beautiful tiles.

Puebla City is as well known in the pottery world as tequila from Tequila and champagne from Champagne. Finding an abundance of quality clay around Puebla City, the Spanish brought in European pottery techniques to build a ceramics industry that flourished in Puebla. With the imaginative influence of the local potters, the pottery products began to infuse with the colorful artisan designs, and the combination of the native culture with modern European methods created a unique pottery style that is known today as Talavera.

Internationally, interest in collecting Talavera began in as early as 1904 when an American visiting Mexico, Emily Johnston de Forrest, discovered Talavera and began one of the most famous collections of Mexican pottery, believing it an important North American artistic achievement. In 1911, de Forest, daughter of the first president of the Museum of Modern Art (MoMA) in New York City, gifted her 100-piece collection to the MoMA where it became the foundation of a growing and permanent collection. De Forest died in 1943 but the collection she started over a century ago continues to exhibit the importance of Latin arts and the prestige and beauty of Mexican Talavera.

Quality pottery is judged by the care and sensitivity taken by the artists through the process of throwing, coiling and firing; and of gently shaping and hand-painting the finished designs to allow each piece to be individually personalized. It is with such care that Talavera potteries are still being made.

To see the process and watch master potters at work, visit Talavera Santa Catarina, a ceramics center known for its excellence in preserving traditional methods and designs originally introduced by the Spanish, as well as creating innovative, modern ceramics inspired by contemporary trends. Today the family artists at Talavera Santa Catarina have incorporated contemporary designs into their work. Tiles painted in traditional patterns are broken up to create a mosaic of photographs and bespoke orders of ceramic figurines portraying a special occasion make unique collectable items.

Talavera de la Luz is an equally impressive center for the famed pottery in Puebla City. Dedicated to traditional Talavera production process, the workshop is one of the few that have obtained International Denomination of Origin certificate, recognising the workshop’s association with this important Puebla heritage. One of the specialties of Talavera de la Luz is ceramics for architecture, the making of bespoke, elaborately designed murals and wall plaques that have decorated houses of lovers of exotic designs and unique ceramics collections.

Photos courtesy of Talavera de la Luz.


Talavera Santa Catarina: Calle Primera 14 Oriente, 1462, Residencial Real de Cholula, 72810 Puebla; +52 222 247 6614
Talavera de la Luz: Av. Don Juan de Palafox y Mendoza 1413, De Analco, 72500 Puebla



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Written By: BBC + Rosewood Hotels & Resorts


Locations: Puebla

See more: Art & Culture

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