Monday, February 25, 2008

Oh no

You probably know my fondness for Talavera pottery from Mexico. This dish sits on our kitchen counter and usually holds fruit. Ray went to move it yesterday, to clean the counter, and it fell into pieces in his hand. Probably had developed a crack that finally went. Oh man. Bummer.

It didn't cost much and you can see that the painting of the design is pretty crude, but it was a nice shape and very colorful. But most of all, when I look at this bowl I remember the day that I bought it 14 years ago.
We had traveled to Guanajuato, Mexico with the Ashland City Band, where the band played a concert and marched in the festival parade. Guanajuato is Ashland's sister city. We were treated like honored guests in beautiful Guanajuato. On one of our free days we got a bus and driver to take the group to nearby Dolores Hidalgo, the birthplace of the Mexican revolution. It is a small village out among the scrub and cactus in the high dessert, with a beautiful church at one side of the town square, where in 1810, Father Hidalgo delivered his famous "cry for freedom" and set the revolution in motion.
On our way to Dolores Hidalgo, the bus driver stopped at a small inn and a couple of charming fellows boarded the bus and passed around little sample cups of their membrillo and tequila with many jokes and songs. Then they mentioned they had a few bottles for sale at "a very good price." The group bought quite a few of their bottles and we continued on, in excellent spirits, singing all the Spanish songs we could think of. The bus driver seemed to be quite entertained.

Besides its historical significance, Dolores Hidalgo is famous for two other things—Talavera pottery and ice cream. Our first stop was the plaza and it's many, many ice cream stands. Choosing among all the flavors was not easy, but I still remember how creamy and delicious my coconut ice cream cone was. Next was our visit to the Talavera pottery factory. We wandered through the showroom and into the back where the pottery was made. On one wall was a small shrine to the Virgin of Guadalupe.

On the opposite wall was the most amazing collection of naughty pinup photos I have ever seen.

On the floor, stacks of hand-painted Talavera tiles. I wonder if the tiles I am putting in my new kitchen came from this factory.

Before we left I looked through the showroom at every piece and picked out the one that spoke to me.

It has been a reminder of an outstanding day. After a wonderful meal at a restaurant across from the beautiful church, we boarded our bus and watched the sunset across the Mexican dessert.

Today I used some epoxy to glue the big pieces back together. I circled some spots where pieces are missing. They simply crumbled into dust when it broke. Maybe I can fill them with something. Maybe it can't be saved and I'll just have to remember it.

Or maybe I'll have to go back to Mexico and get another one. We could pick up another bottle of membrillo while we're there. And have ice cream. Hey, now we're talkin'! I think I feel better already.


  1. Terry, the plate might be damaged but those memories are just as fresh as ever...what an interesting post. I'm glad the repair has been made and the plate lives on with another small story attached to it as a result.

    I'd resist the temptation to go back, for it's never the same...go make a new memory instead!

  2. Good save on the dish. I think the missing parts just add to the story -- that even after 14 years this piece still brings back wonderful, clear memories!

  3. Loved the story behind your bowl, but sorry that it broke. I'm sure Ray felt terrible, even though he just happened to be the unlucky person with it in his hands at the time. Quite an exquisite piece!


  4. My husband did a terrific glue job a few years ago on a favorite blue & white lamp base. We filled in some of those little gaps with plaster of paris or some such thing and seems to me I ended up touching up that stark white with some acrylic pain to match the anqiquing on it. Only we knew it had been in piefes. Didn't have to wash a lamp, but we used it for some years after that. Sadly, he knocked it off again and the second time was the end.

  5. I know what you mean; when a favorite item gets broken it's hard to decide what to do with it! I have two pieces from my china that have been broken, and I've finally decided to try breaking them up in to usable pieces to make a little mosaic tray. I'm crossing my fingers that the pieces will work, because I have been holding onto this set since I was 12!

  6. Oh, dang! At first I thought it was the little lamp above your new sink. I'm glad it was mend-able, so it'll still be part of your life, albeit somewhat less utilitarian. I hope Ray doesn't feel too bad; I had a similar experience several months ago, picking up a wide, shallow blue glass bowl by the edge. A large chunk just broke off in my hand. I keep telling myself "it's just stuff," but it hurts when "stuff" with such rich associations gets gebroken.

    Hey, pick up some membrillo for me, wouldja?

  7. At least the memory is still intact.

  8. Oh, I would be so sorry to lose MY bowl like that! I'm glad you got it glued together again, so stick the fruit back in- no one will ever know! Then, go back and get a replacement- and a few things that you 'need' to go with it!

  9. Anonymous4:52 AM

    Ah, we are all clay vessels. This was a beautiful tale, well told. Your words brought me along on the trip! Thank you.

    The Virgin's shrine across from the pinup photos was an amusing aside. It seems to imply "Let us pray" or "Let us play". I guess it depends on day of the week.