Mexican Talavera Tile, what’s the buzz all about? Well, that’s what I thought. Yes, the tiles are beautiful, but why all the fuss and why are they only made in one place, Mexico? My curiosity had me do little research to go back in time and see where it all started.
I started with, why Mexico? Why is this Mexican tile different than any other tile? It is the quality of the clay in this particular region of Puebla, Mexico that can’t be replicated anywhere else in the world. However, it is not the clay alone that makes a tile a Talavera tile. The same ancient processes and techniques are still in place today as they were centuries ago. This means the process is completely handmade from extremely deft artisans: from the hand painting and glazing, the colors used, to the firing of the clay that makes the tile authentic Talavera. All the colors are made from natural pigments and consist of six colors: yellow, blue, black, orange, green, and mauve. This artistry and quality of craftsmanship were so highly valued that they were especially sought after by many Churches and Monasteries.
So now I knew why this Mexico Tile was ascetically beautiful and rich in artistry and tradition, but I didn’t know how Talavera found its way to Mexico. It is believed that the art form can be traced back to the middle ages! It said that this form of art found its way to China and then to Europe in the 8th Century where Spanish artists brought this method to Mexico in the 16th Century. That’s a pretty ancient technique that has traveled a long way across the globe. The same original 16th Century methods are still in place today. I love the long rich tradition Talavera has and I like to think about all the artists along the way that have touched and contributed to what we see today. The distinctive look of Talavera tiles and its rich history truly create a unique tile that is beautiful and rich in tradition.