The art of Talavera


* With original techniques from the 16th century, Casa Uriarte brought the Baroque New Spain building that now occupies the Interactive Museum of Economics to life. Now, in partnership, both present the "Order of Bethlehem" collection

By Juan Carlos Castellanos C.

Mexico, December 5 (Notimex) .— Uriarte Talavera is the oldest active craft workshop of its kind in Mexico. Founded in 1824 by Dimas Uriarte in the Historic Center of the city of Puebla on a 16th-century workshop, for almost 200 years he has been the main custodian of Talavera crafts in the country. Raúl Alfaro Segovia, spokesman for Uriarte Talavera, – founding member of the Talavera Regulatory Council – told Notimex that this craft workshop has an alliance with the Interactive Museum of Economics (MIDE), an institution that occupies a building in the Historic Center of Mexico City. The particularity of the theme is that this building, owned by the Bank of Mexico, was built by the famous Novo-Hispanic architect Lorenzo Rodríguez in the purest Baroque style: “it was owned by the Betlemites, the first Catholic order founded in America, in charge of caring for the sick". The interviewee stressed that this building was originally a convent and hospital. "The property contains magnificent details in Talavera, which refer to the religious iconography of the Betlemites, some related to the Christmas season, such as the three crowns of the Kings of the East and the Star of Bethlehem," he explained. Another alliance is with the Puebla Women's Social Readaptation Center, where a group of 20 women make pieces for the Uriarte collection. "They receive a payment for being Talaveran artisans and, at the same time, have the opportunity to reintegrate into society with the domain of a trade that allows them income," he added. In that sense, Alfaro Segovia said that in his projects that are underway, the promotion and dissemination of Mexican art, the opportunity to give a new future to a score of women and the educational vocation of MIDE are combined, for the real benefit of the Mexican society as a whole.

Uriarte-MIDE altruistic collection

Regarding the alliance with the museum, Patricia Lechuga, coordinator of one of the strategic areas of the MIDE, informed Notimex in a separate interview that she began with the priority of recovering the artistic, cultural and historical heritage of the property acquired by the Bank of Mexico in 1995 and that currently shelters that financial education institution. "At the beginning it was thought that they would be offices, but upon noticing its cultural, historical and aesthetic richness, it was decided that it would be a museum, opening its doors in 2006." Before pointing out that MIDE is the first economy museum that exists in the world, Patricia Lechuga highlighted that “for the Betlemites it was very important the production of ceramics, which is noticed in its patios, stairs and bathtubs made in tile and all that recovered. ” Another of the main attractions of Lorenzo Rodríguez's architecture are the majestic arcades, like the one that MIDE has. Raúl Alfaro Segovia took up the word to point out that "Now, the idea is to return to time when we perform the restoration of the ex-convent – which was later a winery, neighborhood and hotel – to create, from these findings, a new collection." The alliance has its focal point in the sale of a series of Talavera pieces that were inspired by the designs, colors and textures found in the restoration process, which includes a huge piece of antique tiles and bathtubs made of the same, whose motifs have been recovered in a new collection, named "Order of Bethlehem", which can be known and acquired at the Uriarte museum and stores in Mexico City, Puebla, San Miguel de Allende and Alabama, United States. Raúl Alfaro Segovia added: “The public, by buying these pieces, will help the museum to support its educational projects and work; it is the first alliance in Mexico that is built between a museum and a craft workshop to raise funds ”; while Lechuga stressed that “in the MIDE there is a permanent collection, anyone can attend to know both the spaces intervened with Talavera and the sales center, at no cost. Now we have a collection of Christmas spheres with museum motifs, in addition to tea sets, trays, planters and tibores, ”said Lechuga. The collection is called "Order of Bethlehem" in honor of the Order of the Brothers of Bethlehem (or Betlem), "the first Catholic order founded in America (Guatemala, 1656) … which since its inception is dedicated to the works of mercy" . The interviewees concluded by highlighting that “the designs of the collection retake the shield of the order with the three stars of the Magi, architectural elements of the former convent and hospital, and especially the reasons that illustrate the finishes of Talavera novohispana that decorate its walls currently".

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