Let us have a moment of silence for the styles that have died throughout the years: terrazzo, floral wallpaper, sheet vinyl, and let us not forget, shag carpet. Talavera, however, is not one of them. Known as the oldest tin-glazed ceramic in America, talavera has been around longer than most styles currently on the market, and it is here to stay. Rich in history, expertly crafted, and versatile in use, talavera tile is a vibrant, artistic, and meaningful way to add beauty to any home. Thus, right before we call the time of death on talavera, let us explore why it has withstood the test of time.
Talavera is a type of pottery that falls within the majolica earthenware category. Majolica earthenware is a handmade ceramic that is characterized by a white base and tin-glaze. The pottery was first developed by the ancient Egyptians and Mesopotamians and then adopted by the Chinese. The Spanish were introduced to the practice in the 13th century through the Moorish invasion, but it was not until the 16th Century that Talavera, as we know it today, was introduced.
The talavera name originates from the city of Talavera de la Reina in Spain. Spanish monks presented the method to the local people, in what is present day Mexico, as they wanted to produce the pottery for their churches and monasteries. Despite this, the local people were not new to making pottery. The Aztecs had used clays to create pottery for their day-to-day use and for religious figures, and the Mayans had created pottery by strengthening clays with sand and rocks to use for rituals and games.
Spanish Monks taught the local people new techniques to create talavera. Potter’s wheels and tin glazing were adopted by the native people. Although the name of talavera originated from Talavera de la Reina, the city most known for talavera is the city of Puebla in Mexico. This is due to the city adopting the craft immediately after it was established in 1531, and to the abundance of clay in the region.
The success of talavera lead to the creation of potter’s guilds in order to ensure its craftsmanship. To keep patterns and styles consistent, these guilds enforced ordinances that furthered the artistry of talavera. Each talavera potter was instructed to sign their products to avoid replication. As a result, certain styles were more renowned than others. Blue talaveras were considered to be the finest ceramic as blue pigments were expensive to create. These blue talaveras, known as azulejas, signaled the status of families. It was common in their culture to state, “someone will not amount to anything in life, if they do not have a house of azulejas.”
Today, talavera tile is loved for its lively colors and numerous styles. It is commonly used in Spanish style kitchens and bathrooms. However, with a little creativity, talavera can add flair to any area in your home including counters, backsplashes, accents, and outdoors.
Known to be the center of entertainment, the more inviting and lively a kitchen is, the better. Talavera countertops insert a burst of cheerfulness to any kitchen counter offering a wide range of styles, customization, and authentic appearance. At the same time, it is vital to keep functionality in a kitchen a priority. Due to their grout lines and ceramic bodies, talavera countertops do not offer the same durability as stone countertops do. In spite of this, if used in light traffic areas, in the kitchen, or maintained properly they will supply a colorful accent for you and your guests.
If sterile-looking bathrooms are not your style, incorporating talavera counters and sinks can add excitement. With over a 200 styles to choose from including animals, floral designs, solid colors, and fruits and vegetables there is a talavera for almost everyone. Whether you want a collage, pattern, or want to accent an already tiled counter, talavera can contribute warmth to your bathroom.
Backsplashes are a designer favorite as it adds a pop of color, especially in kitchens and bathrooms. We die for a talavera mosaic behind the stove as it livens up an all subway backsplash. Whether the design is a collage or border feature, talavera is sure to uniquely brand your kitchen and provide a unique cooking atmosphere.
With their waterproof quality, bathrooms are also an ideal space to accentuate shower walls, niches, and trims with talavera. Ensure your grout lines are properly sealed and you will have your very own shower of azulejas.
A splash of color is known to be the perfect way to accent any space and a splash of talavera can too. Overlooked areas such as sun-room floors, living room fireplaces, stair risers, doorway casings, shower niches, or indoor/outdoor pillars can be creatively accented with talavera to create discrete focal points in your home. Talavera can present an aesthetic relief from solid or neutral tones, and transform what was once unnoticed to your favorite areas in your home.
Here in Corpus Christi, we are fortunate to have good weather almost all year round (that is if you consider 90˚ temperatures good weather). This means talavera accents can venture outside onto fireplaces, and because of their waterproof qualities, they can also be installed in pools and fountains for a more rustic and fine appearance. Lastly, to add a more dynamic look to your exterior displayed house numbers, consider choosing from the wide variety of talavera tiles designed with numbers.
There is no need for a talavera obituary as the style of tile remains alive and well. Centuries later, the fascinating and rich history continues to compliment styles in this ever-evolving industry. Tukasa Creations is delighted to continuously honor its Hispanic heritage by being distributors of Reeso’s talavera tiles. You can find an abundance of talavera showcased throughout our showroom to remind us of our rich roots, the beauty of the craft, and provide inspiration to your personal space.