Clay, Color and Creativity: Artisan Pottery in San Miguel


These two pots are precisely what I envision when I think of Mexican pottery. They’re bright, colorful, and make a perfect accent. And while they may not work with all decors, there’s no denying their visual impact.

Mexico has a tradition of pottery and ceramics stretching back thousands of years. Even before Pre-Columbian times (and before Mexico was Mexico), pottery was a part of their culture. And if what I saw in the Mercado de Artesanías (Artist’s Market) in San Miguel de Allende is typical, Mexican potters have learned a thing or two in that time.


I haven’t seen so much vibrant pottery in one place since our trip to Peru. I particularly enjoyed the huge variety of items and color combinations at the Mercado.


Hands down, my favorite piece was the Day of The Dead Wedding Couple. This is one of the most hilarious and delightful pieces of art that I’ve seen in forever. I liked it so much that I can see this pair sitting atop my tombstone. That would wake up the neighbors.

Happy Trails and RIP,



We're Terri and James Vance - high school sweethearts who went on to international careers and became world nomads. Today, 65 countries later, we're still traveling ... and still in love. Check out Our Story for more of the backstory at

64 thoughts

    1. Believe me Sue, the thought crossed my mind. I’ve always loved pottery, and took pottery classes for a few years. It’s sometimes hard to resist, but heavy, fragile stuff doesn’t fit the Gallivance lifestyle anymore. But I’m going to stuff my nursing home room with it. ~ James

      1. I love that idea. Dave and I often say “When we are sitting in the nursing home won’t we have stories to tell” . The thought of your ‘friends’ sitting there with you makes me smile.

  1. Such pretty pictures! Love the pottery. I’m partial to the blue and white pieces. I have a pot from our trip to San Miguel – it made its way back to Texas and now sits in the hot sun of Dubai.

    1. Thanks Lynda. I’ve always loved pottery and it’s hard to resist. We’ve carted pottery home from all over the world, but we’ve had to make a vow of “No Mas”. Heavy, fragile ceramics just don’t fit our lifestyle anymore. But it’s certainly fun to look at and lust over. ~ James

    1. I’m with you Alison, I really could take a suitcase-load home with me. But our motto is: “If you buy it, you carry it.” That stops all but the smallest of purchases. Re: Peru, I remember that we were wandering around the old town and stumbled on a wonderful shop chocked full. ~ James

      1. Now that you’ve alerted me I’m going to look out for it at the Otavalo market – headed there this Saturday. i know it’s mostly textiles, but maybe we’ll find some pottery there.

      2. It’s in Ecuador, a little north of Quito where we are at the moment. It is apparently one of the biggest artisan markets in South America. After a week in Quito we go to Galapagos! Yay!

  2. Gorgeous vibrant colors! I’ve always loved Mexican pottery but never had a place for it– but I never thought about putting them on my tombstone lol. You gave me a good laugh this morning. : )

  3. Sounds like you are soaking up all the sights and sounds of Mexico. There was a wonderful art festival near where we lived in Mexico and there was always a life-size Day of the Dead Wedding Couple amongst the treasures…lovely! 🙂

    1. Some of these Day of the Dead couples look a little creepy, like Tim Burton characters. But this couple was fabulous. So incredibly colorful, creative, and with a great sense of humor. I’d love to see a life-size version. BTW, where did you live in Mexico? ~ James

      1. We lived in the Lake Chapala area in San Antonio Tlayacapan, a lovely little Mexican village. It was great to shop in the local little tiendas, supporting the community.

    1. Thanks for the comment and for dropping by the blog. As you can tell from this post, I’m a big fan of Mexican pottery and ceramics. I think it would be great fun to do a kitchen in Talavera. Where will your house be? ~James

  4. Stunning colour. Great photos.
    Just love that little balcony and doorway. Wish mine looked like that.

    1. Steve, soak up that grey, because you certainly won’t be seeing any in SMA. It’s color all the way here. We spent a couple of weeks in Paris in the dead of winter, and it loses some of that romantic appeal that everyone talks about. ~ James

  5. Beautiful! I love the bright colors and patterns. Someday, when Steve and I have a home base, I’d love to have some of these pots in our garden! Sounds like you guys are having a blast. 🙂

  6. I always love the Day of the Dead statues and paintings in Mexico, James. And they always make me laugh. Interesting how a sense of humor is incorporated into something that could go the other direction. –Curt

    1. Curt, we’re in Morelia now and have seen some really fun clay sculptures for the DOD. Apparently, it’s a really big celebration here and in the state. I’m sure some of the photos will show up. Watch this space. ~ James

  7. Awesome! Makes me want to go shopping! … ok, I always like to go shopping, but those dishes are beautiful.
    Love your sense of humour. Those 2 statues on your tombstone would guarantee visitors for a very long time 🙂

  8. Whenever I travel, I have a tendency to want to re-decorate my house with what I find in other locales. This pottery would make me want to paint the kitchen and fill the walls with pottery! Such fun colors!

    1. Rusha, I’d love to have a shell of a house, and do the whole thing in Mexican tile, ceramics, and pottery. It would fit right in here in San Miguel, but not sure how it would work in GA. ~ James

  9. I have slowly been collecting small pieces of that glorious Talavera here in Mexico for five months. I WILL carry them home, I’ll just leave my clothes behind….

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