Talavara’s House: A Fountain of Inspiration



When you need a dose of inspiration, a visit to a museum, gallery, or shop can be just what you need. One day last week, I set off to Talavara’s House in search of door knobs. There were no door knobs to be found, but I had a wonderful time soaking up the colors, designs and inspiration.

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Talavara’s House, on the carratera between Chapala and Ajijic

Talavara’s House is one of the local shops featuring all manner of fabulous Mexican pottery in every shape and form you can think of. It’s on the main road from Chapala to Ajijic, just a few doors down from Panino’s, one of the restaurants I go to frequently.


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Lorena, sister of owner Alfonso Velazquez Olaes

I had a lovely conversation with Lorena. Her brother Alfonso is the owner of the shop. Lorena speaks very good English and was able to tell me a bit about where the pottery is made. She also cleared up a misconception I had about the term Mexican Maijolica.


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Examples of Mexican Maijolica pottery

Maijolica is a more specific type of pottery than I understood from my initial reading. She pointed out a number of different pieces in the shop – including the two large urns in this photo. They are clearly different than the Talavara-style designs and color found on most of the inventory.

I quickly figured out that I have a lot to learn about the different styles of pottery in Mexico. If I am going to use these designs as inspiration for my art, I need to know what I’m working with!


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Pots and planters in every shape and size!

As you can see, the entire shop is packed full of colorful pots in every shape and size imaginable.


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Platters, lamp bases and serving dishes

And it’s not just pots. Platters, lamp bases and serving dishes? They’ve got you covered!


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Talavara critters!

Last but not least, there is an entire wall full of colorful frogs, lizards and critters ready to hang on the garden walls. Live “critters” may be annoying, but these little fellas are always welcome.


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A few tiles for inspiration

I was proud of myself for escaping from Talavara’s House with my wallet intact, but I couldn’t resist picking up a few tiles for my InspirAction “files.” They won’t fit in a folder, but they will find a home in the new studio, and give me a starting point for my personal exploration of Talavara designs.

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Your Turn

Where do you go to soak up inspiration? Leave a comment below. I’d love to hear about your favorite places!


  1. Lou Ann on March 30, 2017 at 12:13 pm

    Shelly, being in Talavara is so much like being in a favorite quilt shop. Just soaking in the colors, patterns, designs brings a lift to the spirits and can certainly make a “not-so-good-day” become much better! It is so much fun to read the stories of your new “excellent adventure”. Best to you.

    • ShellyStokes on April 2, 2017 at 12:41 pm

      You’re right, Lou Ann. Visiting a shop like Talavara’s House is simply good for the soul. 😉

  2. Elizabeth A. Franck on March 30, 2017 at 12:19 pm

    Shelly: WOW! so many design inspirations in one place! I love traditional “folk art”. I have already seen some designs that I will use as an inspiration. I especially loved the critters on the wall! In addition to all plants, flowers and architecture, you will have an endless source of inspirations as you immerse yourself in your new habitat and all that it offers! Enjoy…

    Learning Spanish is not difficult – with an online course, you could become proficient in no time. The key is having someone to talk with every day. It is a lovely, musical language. It is very regular – not like English which has so many exceptions to every rule! Once you can conjugate the verbs and understand the use of pronouns, it is very easy to become comfortable with speaking it. I loved teaching art in a bi-lingual program. My Spanish came back to me after many years. Then I taught Spanish for over a year in middle school. I only wish I had been able to continue using it….. but I will retrieve it again… if given the opportunity.

    My research was all about traditional Native American arts and ritual. I also studied non-western traditional arts of Pacific rim peoples. Non-western traditional arts have been of interest to me for as long as I can remember.

    I find many of my inspirations in nature. Starting taking photographs since I was a child. This is my second year of monitoring Bluebirds and Butterflies….. I take photos in Deer Run Forest Preserve which is predominantly Illinois prairie – with a trail of Bluebird nest boxes. It is more difficult to get closeups of bluebirds but somewhat easier to get butterflies and dragonflies. Every week during May through September, the prairie looks different as a wonderful variety of flowering plants and grasses – burst with color!

    My home garden has been a wonderful source of butterflies – thanks to my large area of purple Coneflowers – which started from one volunteer coneflower plants, years ago. As I have added more native plants for butterflies and other pollinators, I am seeing more and more butterflies.

    When I am on a beach, I love photographing the seascape as well as whatever flora and fauna available – love seashells, plants and animals of reefs. Every place I go in the warmer weather, I usually bring my camera to take photos!

    Books and Internet sites are also an unlimited source of inspirations. The Internet has been a wonderful source of images of the big cats as well as giraffes and zebras….. as well as Art Nouveau, Art Deco, etc. With the Internet, a plethora of images are at our fingertips!

    • ShellyStokes on April 2, 2017 at 12:44 pm

      Folk art, no matter where it comes from, is great for inspiration, Elizabeth. I expect to spend a lot of time immersed in Mexican pottery and the wonderful designs. As always, the key is to allow the inspiration to inform your personal art rather than adopting the images wholesale.

  3. Marilyn Fromherz on March 30, 2017 at 2:47 pm

    Those were all so wonderfully beautiful and, yes, a trove of inspiration. Have you moved to Chapala permanently or is this a vacation home? Many years ago I visited Baja and took a jaunt to Lake Chapala – found it beautiful and understand it is home to a lot of American citizens.

    • ShellyStokes on April 2, 2017 at 12:46 pm

      Ummm… we don’t know just yet, Marilyn! This visit was a test run to see if my husband was able to adjust to higher altitude. Now that we know he does well here, we have to decide whether to make this a permanent home – and when to do that.

      • Marilyn Fromherz on April 6, 2017 at 3:41 pm

        I wish you well, whatever your choice. Looks like a wonderful place to be and so many new inspirations for your work.

        • ShellyStokes on April 6, 2017 at 5:21 pm

          Thanks, Marilyn. It’s turning into a marvelous adventure. 🙂

  4. Jane Armstrong on April 1, 2017 at 3:14 pm

    My friend, Marlene Clausen. Sent your site to me because she knows that I am in Ajijic this week. I was looking for Tala Vera. Now I know where to go!! Thank you.

    • ShellyStokes on April 2, 2017 at 12:49 pm

      You’re so welcome, Jane! There is a second shop just a short distance closer to Ajijic. If you are in front of the SuperLake grocery store, one will be a block to the left and one a block to the right. Have fun!