Pottery from Tonalá – Jalisco region and the Solis Mexico signed bird

I’m listing my first “Tonalá” style pottery from Mexico.


It is a beautiful little bird — I believe it’s a quail.

Tonalá is actually a city in the state of Jalisco, Mexico, and a municipality within the Guadalajara Metropolitan area.

It is known as a major handicrafts center, specializing in pottery.

I’ve seen listings for Tonala style pottery signed with the initial KE for Ken Edwards.  I’ve also seen Etsy and EBay sellers referencing a Ken Edward or Jorge Wilmot piece.

Tonala with KE Ken Edwards stamp
Example of a listing with the KE / Ken Edwards initial – photo via the Etsy store “Vintnik”


So, who were Jorge Wilmot and Ken Edwards?

Although Mexico has a long history of making ceramics — well before the arrival of Spaniards — more modern techniques and methods of production were introduced by the Spanish during colonial times.

And in the 1950’s and  1960’s, high-fire production were introduced by Jorge Wilmot and Ken Edwards, which is why you will see their names associated with pottery from the Tonala region of Mexico.

It was easier to find information on Jorge Wilmot, as he was a well-known Mexican artist.  He was born in Monterrey, Nuevo Leon, Mexico in 1928 and died in January, 2012 at the age of 83.

Jorge Wilmot studied i n Paris, then worked in Sweden and Switzerland before returning to Monterrey, Mexico.

A little about him,  excerpted from a Wikipedia article:

Wilmot’s two main contributions to Mexican ceramics were the introduction of high fire ceramics such as stoneware and blending of traditional Mexican designs and motifs with international and modern influences.

He is quoted as saying “La cerámica de las artes es una de las más antiguas y a su vez de las más modernas” (Ceramics is one of the oldest and most modern art forms.) referring to the need to preserve tradition and modify it.

Wilmot combined pre-Hispanic designs and motifs with modern elements as well as international influences, especially those from Asia.

CONACULTA credits Wilmot with revolutionizing ceramics production in Mexico and establishing the production of high-fire wares, principally in Tonalá.

He has been one of the forces behind Tonalá’s current dominance in pottery and ceramics.

Note: CONACULTA is the National Council for Culture and Arts, a Mexican Government Agency

I will add more to this blog post when I have information about Ken Edwards (I am unsure if he is still living and continuing to make pottery in Mexico or elsewhere — please comment and/or send a link if you know).

The particular Tonala bird pottery piece I am listing is signed “Solis Mexico” at the bottom.


I’ve read on a few listings that Solis is the family name of well known (and well regarded) potters from the area, but not much more than that…

I did find that there is a Solis / Tonala tile piece at the Mexican Museum in San Francisco, California — Tile with Two Birds and Flowers.

Tile with Two Birds and Flowers at Mexican Museum
Photo via The Mexican Museaum (Click on the photo to see original source)

Here is the text for the above piece, from The Mexican Museum website:

Text for Tonala tile image at Mexican Museum

And here is back angle photo of the bird pottery on my Etsy store:


You can click on the bird photo above to see the Etsy listing.

I think the colors and artwork style of the bird look very similar to the museum’s tile ceramic… what do you think?


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The Lonborg Denmark cast iron / blue enamel item — a “Brutalist” bowl?

When I purchased these beautiful Dansk 1960’s era casseroles in the Fluted Flamestone line, it came with  bonus piece.

Dansk1960’s fluted flamestone 3 quart casserole (click on photo to see the listing on Etsy)
Dansk1960’s fluted flamestone 2 quart casserole with a tagine-like dome top (click on photo to see the listing on Etsy)

The bonus piece was a cast iron “bowl”.

The prior owner thought the bowl was a Dansk piece and part of the set.

It was not.P1250659In fact, it wasn’t  a Dansk item at all but it could have possibly been purchased with the casseroles in mind.

The bottom of this lovely cast iron piece had  nice clear stamp — so it was easy enough to get preliminary information.

P1250657Within Etsy’s search box, I found  a listing for the item from  an Etsy seller in the United Kingdom:

UK ListingI do my best to research the objects that I list on my store, so it was interesting to see this listing and the title.

The listing title included the words “Brutalist” and Space Age.

A quick search yielded this Wikipedia article about the term Brutalist — a term not yet familiar to me.

Brutalist architecture is a movement in architecture that flourished from the 1950s to the mid-1970s, descending from the modernist architectural movement of the early 20th century.

The term originates from the French word for “raw” in the term used by Le Corbusier to describe his choice of material béton brut (raw concrete).

British architectural critic Reyner Banham adapted the term into “brutalism” (originally “New Brutalism”) to identify the emerging style.

I have seen sculptures described as Brutalist — like this steel and brass piece from the Etsy Store Luola.

Brutalist Sculpture
Vintage mid century free standing brass and Steel Sculpture from the Etsy Store LUOLA (click on image to visit store and listing) PHOTO BY LUOLA and description: A lovely modern / Brutalist interpretation of birds in flight. Carefully crafted from steel and brass. In great vintage condition.


So I suppose the term can also be used to describe objects, like the Lonborg Denmark cast enamel item?

A search on EBay yielded this Lonborg listing and an answer to this item’s original use:

Lonborg piece EBay Listing

Ah… so it’s a piece that was part of a warming trivet pack to keep food warm.  Clever, right?

Before I listed the item on my shop, another Etsy “Lonborg” search yielded this listing:

Buffet Warmer

Wow — it seems like my item would be a great match for this buffet warmer (and Lauride Lonborg) listing .

I’ve added the link to my listing page in case someone needs both in their mid-century modern dining collection.

How awesome would it be to have this vintage set to keep food contained in oven to table casseroles nice and warm for a buffet style party…

Here is my listing (you can click on the image to see the item on my Etsy store):

Lonborg Piece as Listed on Etsy

I’m posting this information so that if someone runs into this particular object in the future, they will at least have this blog post to learn what it was used for / or sold as.

And too… I suppose it is to avoid misnaming items.

Let me know if you have seen or are familiar with this piece.  Have you used one?

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Related: Another item listing with a link to an Etsy Seller – The Meaning of Handgemalt

Artesania Rinconada’s handcrafted ceramic animal figurines

I’m listing Artesania Rinconada ceramic animals on my Etsy store and learning more about these handcrafted figurines, made in Uruguay.

From the website The Corner Collection (link at bottom of post):

Artesania Rinconada

They are tiny — usually between 3 to 4 inches by 2 or 3 ” but with so much personality!


All the animals I listed on the store are retired.

And even though there are a few of the same animals listed on EBay and Etsy stores, because they are all handmade (and hand-painted), they are enough variations that make them fun to collect.

For example, the moose figurines I’ve seen had black eyes, and my particular moose had blue eyes.

The Blue-Eyed Moose (sold a few days after listing on my Etsy store)

Here are some links to help you with your research:

  • From the blog Thinks Happen  — work to catalog the figurines (http://jabberclarks.blogspot.com/2013/07/artesiana-rinconada.html)
  • The Corner Collection — great information / sales of collectible Artesania Rinconada items

So far, I’ve listed a cat, a cow, moose and antelope.

I’ll add to the list and resources once I post all  of them.

In the meantime, they are listed in a new section of the store I’ve recently added called Unique and Collectible.

They are adorable!  Cute, cute, cute.


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Updated 8/24/2015 with addition of:

Racoon with baby


Adorable Dachshund with sweater

P1280230Mother Bear and Cub