Around 1500, the Spanish began making beautiful, hand-painted Talavera pottery. The Spanish monks liked the pottery so much that they introduced it to their new colony in Mexico. The people of Puebla, Mexico perfected the technique and today they are famous for their Talavera pottery.
A Mexican or Spanish artisan begins by kneading together two different types of clay. The clay air-dries until it can be molded into shapes. The artisan then shapes the clay with his hands, on a pottery wheel, or in a mold. The pottery air-dries some more and then is fired in a kiln. Next, the artisan glazes the pottery and then hand-paints it using six specific colors (red, green, black, brown, blue, and yellow). Finally, the pottery is fired again.
This is a long and complex process, as you can see. People love Talavera pottery and are willing to pay a lot of money for it. Because of this, some people in Mexico began making fake Talavera pottery. Real Mexican Talavera artisans have to pass tests twice a year. They also have to follow certain rules and sign every piece of pottery they make.
Click here for some examples of Talavera pottery.
Tomorrow I’ll show you how to make your own coasters inspired by Talavera pottery.
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