The story of majolica pottery is one of international and intercultural conquest, exchange, and adaptation. Perhaps influenced by the opaque white underglazes of Chinese ceramics, the methods of majolica emerged near present-day Baghdad in the ninth century. Islamic immigrants brought their tin-glazing techniques and geometric decorations to the Iberian Peninsula in the Middle Ages, and from there majolica spread across Europe. The town of Talavera de la Reina, Spain, became a center for the craft and its future namesake. Majolica/Talavera pottery was (and still is) used to create everyday utilitarian items like tableware and tiles, so when the Spanish colonized the Americas, they brought the craft with them. Indigenous peoples melded Talavera glazing techniques with their own artistic practices, and a new tradition of pottery was born. Today, under the direction of innovative artists like Angélica Moreno, it continues to evolve.
Dedicated to combining the beauty and creative potential of Talavera with chic, clean contemporary design, Angélica founded the successful Talavera de la Reyna workshop in San Andres Cholula near Puebla in 1990. She is an unofficial ambassador for the craft and has been internationally lauded for her designs. Her workshop produces elegant plates, bowls, vessels, and tiles that reference the extended heritage of Talavera through a modern lens, featuring colorful glazes and complex designs of organic and geometric origin. Collaborating with contemporary artists and designers, her brand has brought new attention to Talavera pottery in exhibitions in New York, Paris, Barcelona, Beijing, and Mexico City.