Talavera Santa Catarina (Santa Catarina Cholula, Puebla) #WeVisitMexico

Talavera Santa Catarina (Cholula, Puebla)Since I was a child, I remember my mother loved Talavera pottery and ceramic. So when I was told that part of our Puebla Tweetup #WeVisitMexico press trip would involve a visit to a Talavera factory I could not contain my excitement. It is quite a unique experience to explore a small-scale industrial facility like a Talavera pottery factory, in a guided tour by the actual owner.

Talavera Santa Catarina (Cholula, Puebla)Moreover, because of my own personal connection both with chemical engineering (the basic principle of pottery making) and with Puebla (as I noted in my preliminary post). Our first stop on the Talavera tour was Talavera Santa Catarina, located in Santa Catarina Cholula, where the University of the Americas Puebla (UDLAP) is located. Fernanda, the owner, guided us throughout.

As a chemical engineer (yes, before I did my PhD I was originally a chemical engineer), I knew a little bit about the process, and the uniqueness of Talavera. You can’t say that you produce Talavera pottery if the raw materials (clay) aren’t from the Cholula region (thus requiring a Denomination of Origin). According to our guide, there are only 9 Talavera workshops in the city of Puebla that make real, legitimate Talavera pottery. Each piece is hand-crafted, and requires an extensive and delicate, labour-intensive process at each and every single step.

Talavera Santa Catarina (Cholula, Puebla)

Once the clay is prepared (washed, matured and decanted), it can be stored as bricks, or can be processed right then. Each piece is prepared by hand and designs painted on to them are unique, and non-repeatable. The process can take up to 7 weeks.

Talavera Santa Catarina (Cholula, Puebla)

Talavera Santa Catarina (Cholula, Puebla)

The part that really touched me profoundly was the hand-painting. Paint colours are prepared in-situ, as this is a requirement for the Talavera pottery to be able to have the denomination of origin. You can literally see each artisan swelling with pride as they studiously paint each element of their Talavera pottery.

Talavera Santa Catarina (Cholula, Puebla)

Pieces can be either designed in-house or commissioned by a client, who is naturally reassured that each piece is unique (and you can see the intense labour that goes into each piece!).

Talavera Santa Catarina (Cholula, Puebla)

The final pieces are then either sent to clients or showcased in the factory showroom.

Talavera Santa Catarina (Cholula, Puebla)

Talavera Santa Catarina (Cholula, Puebla)

Talavera Santa Catarina (Cholula, Puebla)

Talavera Santa Catarina (Cholula, Puebla)

Talavera Santa Catarina (Cholula, Puebla)

Overall, the experience was phenomenal, and I thoroughly recommend you to check out Talavera Santa Catarina if you are ever in Puebla. It was a memorable experience to go through the process of Talavera pottery-making from the inside. And yes, Talavera pottery can be very expensive, but once you witness the actual production process, you realize how much work has been put into it and it becomes very clear that it needs to be rewarded.


Disclosure: My trip to Puebla, sponsored by the Mexico Tourism Board, includes transportation, activities and meals. However, my posts are written in my own words and everything I write is entirely my own opinions. Any out-of-pocket expenses are paid out of my own dime. As always, anything that I post on my site is entirely my responsibility and I retain full editorial control.

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Comments (2)

george froehlichJuly 1st, 2012 at 1:12 pm

boy that was awesome and sure brings back memories when were there

VinceOctober 5th, 2012 at 7:59 am

When I browsed through Google, I noticed that there were a lot of websites that features Talavera potteries. I hope I will find authentic Talavera products and do not be scammed by people selling fake products.

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