October 5, 2006 — Last Saturday, Kelly and I and some friends drove from our home near Lake Chapala into the greater Guadalajara area, to the city of Tonala (population about half a million) on the southeastern edge of the urban area.

We were on a mission: dishes. Tonala is famous throughout Mexico and beyond for the fine ceramics and many other crafts that come from this creative city. Many of the items made are sold in nearby Tlaquepaque, at considerably higher prices.

Kelly and I had been there a couple of times before, but the last time had been over twenty years ago. We remembered a rather rural town. No more! It’s very much a city now.

I remembered going to the pottery factory and workshop of an American, Ken Edwards, who lived and worked in the area. Edwards is now living and doing pottery in Guatemala, but the workshop continues in Tonala:
We spent the morning looking in other stores. There’s a wonderful store with all sorts of Mexican crafts right on the plaza in Tonala, La Mexicania, and we lingered in there a good while. Both the other woman and I emerged with lovely nativity sets.

We had delicious chicken fajitas or enchiladas for lunch at Restaurant El Rincon del Sol, a couple of blocks south of the plaza. Here’s the entryway to the restaurant. Unfortunately you can’t see the empty tequila bottle in the dummy’s hand!

After lunch it was time for the main course of the day: those dishes we’d come for. The Ken Edwards workshop is north of the plaza and a little east, at Morelos 184.

The dishes we selected were much like these. Ours were seconds, but it was easy to find ones with very minor flaws. We walked out of there with a huge, well-packed box of dishes for which we had spent barely over a hundred dollars. We’re having so much fun with them that Kelly is going to get some more when he goes into Guadalajara soon for a dental appointment!

Comments from the old blog are below… please note that my answer to practically every question is “I don’t know.” This is not a place to ask Ken Edwards questions! He stopped in once but he has never been back.

  • Longo saidquestion : HOW CAN YOU DATE HIS WORKS FROM OLDER TO NEWER PIECES? iS THERE A DIFFERENCE IN THE MARKS OR SIGNATURE? THANKS

  • I saidSorry, Longo, I don’t know. You could contact the store and ask them, or do a google search on “ken edwards pottery” with the quotes.

  • Ken Edwards said…Hi Rosana, There is no real way to date my stuff. The Palomer Stoneware is much older. The stoneware we are doing in Guatemala since 1997 is whiter and is signed KE Guatemala.

    There are subtle, stylistic changes though and the newest line has reds and yellows and much finer workmanship.

    Ken Edwards

  • I said…Thanks, Ken! Now we know!

  • Italia said…question: I am staying in Taos, NM and the place where I am staying has a lot of your pieces. My mother and I have been admiring them for days. Is there a way to order direct?
    -Italia

  • millieandjake said…If you are looking for a good deal and a good selection of Ken Edwards stoneware go to “delsolstores.com” or visit their stores in El Paso, Tx, Mesilla, NM, Tularosa, NM, or Tucson, Az. They have the regular style and the collection series which is quite a bit more expensive. These stores are the only places I’ve seen KE outside of Mexico.

  • PK Gromm said…I’d like to get in touch with Ken Edwards: Hey Ken, I’m looking to do and article/biography foucs on your wares/career and wish to speak with you. Please write. Thanks, PK

  • Anonymous said…We just got back from that wonderful shop in Tonala. We spent the day walking through the market and checking out shops and i have to Say that Ken Edwards stuff was by far the most beautiful.
    Keep up the great work!

  • I said…Anonymous (most recent) or anyone else — look at my blog posts for November 2007, and there are 3 more about meeting Ken and becoming friends. UPDATE: EASIEST WAY TO FIND THESE ON THE NEW SITE IS TO CLICK ON TAGS AT THE TOP OF ANY PAGE, AND THEN CLICK ON KEN EDWARDS.

  • Susan said…Hi-
    Was there ever a Tucan statue made by Mr Edwards in only brown tones?

  • I said…Sorry, I am not an expert and have no idea. Google “Ken Edwards stoneware” and you should find some ways to reach him. I know he did answer once on this blog but he doesn’t normally check it.

  • Zora said…Ken Edwards’ pottery is also available at a shop in Albuquerque called Que Chula, on Central in the Nob Hill district. I just picked up a beautiful piece there.

  • Anonymous said…Ken Edwards pottary is available in San Diego at Paseo del Sol in the Plaza del Pasado, in Old Town on Juan Street. Prices are extremely reasonable and special pieces can be ordered.

  • Natalie  said…I’m a long time fan of Ken Edwards pottery, and enjoy the different styles. My favorite ; some plates I just happened on in EBay, signed Turqueza, Ken Edwards, Mexico. Interesting that he is now working in Guatemala. I learned about him when I fell for some coffee cups signed, maybe, Xochiquetzal – hard to read. That potter has ceased production, but I think that is the style Ken taught to potters in Tonalá as he’s doing now in Guatemala.

  • Zinniasoup  said…Hello,
    This is a question for Ken.
    My daughter lives in Guatemala; I visit her occasionally. I was wondering where your studio was located and whether or not you allow guests to visit. Also – do you have a website? I would like to see pictures of your current pottery. Thanks so much.

  • Natalie said…Here is a mention of Ken Edwards in Guatemala, found by googling Ken Edwards Guatemala! Not what you’d like, or me too, but a clue.

    http://www.potters.org/subject47264.htm/

  • I  said…Zinniasoup, sorry, I don’t know. Ken stopped by once but he doesn’t hang out here. Do google him and the word guatemala and you should find him. I think he’s near Lake Atitlan.

  • Virginia  said…I bought a 12 ” ceramic bird and flower vase about 30 years ago, marked KE with a bird marking. It is triangular in shape and is painted differently on both sides. Any ideas on values.
    Virginia in Canada

  • I said…Virginia, sorry, I don’t know. You might look on eBay, for one idea.

    Rosana

  • Robin said…This is really a question for Ken. Hi Ken I have some piece from the 70′s with artists pictographs. When was this practice stopped? Thanks

  • I said…KEN DOES NOT MONITOR THIS WEBSITE.

    Read my posts above for comments on how you could try to reach him.

    Rosana

  • I said…My wife and I were married in 1972 and received eight full place settings of Ken Edwards dinnerware as a wedding gift (from my uncle who was living in Guadalajara at the time with his family). We have recently moved and several pieces were broken. Can anyone share the best way/process to replace them. We LOVE them and have collected several other pieces over the years.

    Greg Butler

  • I  said…There are several ideas in the comments to this post, Greg.