Mexican Talavera tiles exude history, craftsmanship and beauty. Brightly-colored and beautifully textured, they beg to be touched. They warm up in the sun and cool off when the sun sets, which makes them perfect for use underfoot, poolside, and almost everywhere as practical and decorative accents.
The use of tiles on the columns in this restaurant coordinated with a lovely painting in the background displays the creative possibilities one can have with the Talavera tiles. Image viaYelp.com
Mexican artisans are renowned for their mastery of pottery, and the most sought after among their pottery work are their Talavera tiles. Named after the Spanish city of Talavera de la Reina, this uniquely Mexican ceramic is acclaimed for its quality and lovely practicality. Melded of indigenous European artistry, the Talavera’s story is as colorful as its many patterns originating in Spain and Morocco.
The one place where Talvera tiles might look especially gorgeous, and practical, is the bathroom. Seemingly unlimited combinations of patterns and colorways can make your head spin with the exciting possibilities. Combining the Talaveras with glass tiles or another type of Mexican tile called Saltillo could expand the design potential even more.
via ClayImports (top left), Alohariskmgmt.com (top right), ClayImports.com (bottom left and right)
At the beginning of the 16th century, while the Spanish colonization of Mexico was underway, so too was the beginning of what would be known as Mexican Talavera. After founding the city of Puebla, Spanish monks and artisans from Talavera de la Reina began sharing new techniques with natives to help improve their pottery and ceramic skills. The potter’s wheel, tin-glazing, new colors and patterns along with fine-tuned European, Asian and Arab pottery styles helped blend centuries of indigenous craftsmanship. As a result, the unmistakable beauty and quality of Mexican Talavera was born.
Another important room in the home where Talavera tiles offer unlimited design potential is the kitchen. Designers of Southwestern-style kitchens can either choose tiles in limited amounts as accents to brighten up the walls and cabinets, or go all-out and use elaborate scenes or trims. A simple backsplash in a non-ethnic kitchen can be an effective and a beautiful design tool.
via Gritton Architects.com
In order to protect and preserve their product, potters’ guilds were created and the fame of their craftsmanship began to spread. Churches and monasteries were decorated with vibrant Talavera tiles, jars and religious figures. Vintage designs include brightly-colored suns, flowers, faces, seascapes and birds. Soon the high demand for these ceramics grew well beyond Mexico, as Talavera began to be exported back to Europe as well as other regions of the world. The American Southwest especially embraced this art form.
Tiles artfully installed on stairways inside and out always lend beauty. Brand-new or ancient and crumbling, it speaks volumes of history and gives great character to any building’s architecture.
Do you have a room in your home begging for some zing? Talavera tiles may be the perfect solution. Or, another wonderful and creative alternative is to choose one or several coordinating stencils from the Royal Design Studio website, including the Talavera Tile Stencil, that will help give a similar look. Whether to keep it simple or make it more ornate is up to your design style and taste.
And remember, you can get inspired while planning your projects by reading Royal Design Studio’s Paint + Pattern Design Magazine too. We regularly feature several How-To and DIY stencil projects, many of which reflect the theme of the month.