Monday, January 28, 2008

Mexican Pottery

I know we have visited my breakfast room before, but this is where most of my old Mexican pottery lives. I collect some contemporary pottery, but most of what I have is old tourist pottery bought at estate and garage sales in the United States(mainly Texas and New Mexico) over the years.

Actually, when I have hunted for pottery in Mexico, I have found that the old pottery, made in places like Puebla and Tlaquepaque, is not there anymore. Please don't misunderstand, there is still a ton of great looking pottery being made there, just not the tourist pottery that people used to bring home from vacationing south of the border during the 30s, 40s, and even into the 1960s.

The first "new" pottery I began to collect I found on a quick trip to Nuevo Laredo in the early 70s. I bought three square bowls with lions on them and they hang on the wall above the window of my breakfast room along with an assortment of other plates and platters from the same potter.They were designed and crafted by the well known potter Gorky Gonzales. Gorky is an educated craftsman who has chosen to work in an authentic majolica technique. While he was in a small studio in the colonial town of Guanajuato , Mexico when I first visited him in the mid 70s, he had moved to a much larger facility when I was fortunate enough to visit again in the 90s. He has more help now and my impression is that his son may have taken over his business at this point. I have collected many of his pieces over the years and have them scattered around my house - some decorative and some useful! If you are interested in learning more you can go to www.gorkypottery for a lovely and informative presentation.

The pieces in the front with the sort of drip glaze, are old and come from Oaxaca. I have a Mexican teapot collection, and a few of them are also included in this grouping. There is one Talavera vase tucked back there, but the rest is Gorky , along with a few on the right made by another contemporary potter named Capello. He is in the same region as Gorky and while his style is similar, he actually does some more formal looking pieces.

There are several good books on the subject of Mexican pottery. I especially love one of the first I ever read entitled "A Potter's Mexico"by Irwin and Emily Whitaker, published in 1978 by the University of New Mexico Press.

For more current study of Mexican pottery, try "Popular Arts of Mexico 1850-1950", by Donna McMenamin, published by Schiffer Publishing in 1996. Another one published by Schiffer is called "Ceramica, Mexican Pottery of the 20th Century", by Amanda Thompson in cooperation with the California Heritage Museum, Santa Monica, published in 2001.

I have now lost this post twice -once due to my mistakes and once I think due to blogger's outage - so, I will continue in another post but want to go ahead and publish this one before I lose it! (the post and my mind!!)


  1. So interesting - I never realized that there were certain schools of pottery in Mexico. You know, Shannon collect mexican platters and trays with flowers on them!!! You need to see her collection. one day.

    Great post - waiting for the second one.

  2. Thank you for showing your wonderful collection, and for all the interesting facts! I'm glad you managed to post it in the end! :-)

  3. M & Co - Thank you, but I went to bed last night just disgusted with the whole process! I had written what I thought to be a much better, more informative, narration and then when I lost it all, I think I just got in a rush to post something!I am going to try again in a day or so. I appreciate your support, though!

  4. I am trying to find info (other pieces) about a dinnerware set I purchased at a yard sale. On the back, I see the word FOSTER and Mexico, and in Spanish it indicates that it is hand painted. I have tried to research the name, but I have had no luck. I own 6 5-piece place settings plus sugar, creamer lidded pieces and an additional coffee/tea pot with lid. I don't know how old it is or if Foster still exists. Any info would be appreciated.



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