Ceramica: Mexican Pottery of the 20th Century

By Zamek, Jeff | Ceramics Art & Perception, June 2015 | Go to article overview

Ceramica: Mexican Pottery of the 20th Century


Zamek, Jeff, Ceramics Art & Perception


Ceromica: Mexican Pottery of the 20th Century

Written by Amanda Thompson

Published by

Schiffer Publishing Ltd

ISBN: 0-7643-1248-0

Hard cover

$49.95 USD | www.schifferbooks.com

[ILLUSTRATION OMITTED]

THE BOOK'S HORIZONTAL RECTANGULAR FORMAT WITH distinctive Mexican pottery displayed on the cover is a perfect presentation for the images within. The content comes from more than 1200 pieces on display at the California Heritage Museum in Santa Monica, California, US. On almost all of the 206 glossy pages, clear images of pottery are accompanied by easily readable descriptions of the ware. Pottery from each of the eight Mexican states is sorted by village, town, style, family and finally by individual potters, which enables a defined arrangement of the material. Pottery is one of the oldest practiced crafts in Mexico; however, the pottery represented is from the 20th century. While this could be a limiting factor it is not, as the pottery is so diverse in form, glaze colour and technique.

I found the description of Talavera ware (which is produced in the capital city of Puebla) interesting for several reasons. Pottery was used throughout the town by all levels of society. Functional pottery and decorative tiles were made using a traditional apprenticeship system, which regulated production and trained future generations of potters. Pottery was made on the wheel and from moulds that were used for making tiles. The ware used black and white clay which was unique in being fired twice, once at 302[degrees]F and again at 1832[degrees]F. The multiple firings made for greater brilliance in glaze colours and more durable pottery. Mineral-based pigments were used with lead glazes, a combination that would not meet safety standards today. Lead, however, was the norm in that it melted at the relatively low temperatures that the kilns were able to achieve. Several kinds of Talavera pottery were modelled after Chinese ginger jar forms which were first influenced by European missionaries' pottery. …

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