A Quick Update

In 2010, we moved back to the small town in Colorado that I never stopped missing while we lived in Mexico. Now I sometimes miss Mexico, but I wouldn't travel as freely as we did when we were there, camping out in remote areas and so forth.

Mexico today is in a period of change, and in many ways it is more dangerous now. That said, I have plenty of American friends who still live there very happily, just taking a few more precautions than they did in the past.

Just to say!


Visit Expedia…

Expedia is my favorite place to book airfare, and they handle hotels, car rentals, cruises, etc. I like the organization of the site for figuring out what flights I want. Click on the suitcase to take a look.

I was very pleased to win an award for this blog! Even better for you: click through for lists of all sorts of award-winning travel blogs.

Tripbase Blog Awards 2009

Tripbase Blog Awards 2009

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.


  • 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?

  • 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.

  • 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.


  • 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


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


  • 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.

27 Responses to “The Ken Edwards Pottery of Tonala”

  • Rosana says:

    Readers, please read all the comments if you have a question you want answered. Ken Edwards does not answer questions here and I am not an expert on his pottery. Some readers have posted helpful answers.

  • Betty Negus says:

    I became aware of the Ken Edwards Collection about 10 years ago while in Xtapa, Mexaco. I have since bought many pieces and have more than a full set of dishes so when we redid our kitchen we tiled it with tiles from the Collection. I love all the pieces and want to thank all the artists for their efforts. They do beautiful work.

  • Betty Negus says:

    I became aware of the Ken Edwards Collection about 10 years ago while in Xtapa, Mexaco. I have since bought many pieces and have more than a full set of dishes so when we redid our kitchen we tiled it with tiles from the Collection. The dishes look wonderful in the glass front cabinets. I love all the pieces and want to thank all the artists for their efforts. They do beautiful work.


    I first fell in love with Ken Edwards Pottery in the mid 1970’s when I was engaged the 1st time. That marriage never happened; but I never lost my lust for K.E. I became a Flight Attendant and flew Mexico trips all the time. That’s where I really came to know Ken Edwards work. I went to the factory in Tonala, and totally fell in love with his work. When I met my husband we made trips to the factory and brought boxes back of our beloved “Tonala” pattern. This was 1982. We still use it every day!!!

  • Hello, Greg. The Emporium in Tijuana carries both series, Collection and Traditional, and they ship worldwide. They're new to the Internet, might be offering some pieces on Bonanzle. We ran a piece on them; you can get e-mail to them through out blog.

  • Kathleen. Catanho says:

    I received 12 place settings of Tonala for my wedding in 1969. I stopped using them a few years later when I read that this pottery contains lead and is unsafe for food. I got rid of the plates and cups but kept the figurines and napkins holders. Has anyone else heard this? It seemed common knowledge in the 1970s. Maybe the newer Tonala is made with different clay.

  • Rosana says:

    Ken's pottery is high fired and always has been, and I do not believe it was ever unsafe from lead, though I could be wrong. Lead was widely used in LOW-fired glazes in Mexico in the old days but is pretty much not used now. Lead is a component of glazes rather than of clay.

    If someone reads this who knows more, please add your comments.

  • Ian012 says:

    I have a Ken Edwards Bottle jug with the mark of a kran on the bottom does any body know how much its worth

  • Rosana says:

    Sorry, this kind of question doesn't seem to get answers on my site.

  • Mgtobey says:

    I purchased 2 of your vases at a yard sale and want to know about them

    One is a square base with afish on opposite sides of base, gray &blue, with a tall

    ;ike tower,8-10 inches, the other vase is squaty , like a liquer bottle,sunken in on

    two sides and brown,blue, flower on gray background, the other two sides are a

    floral design. Anything you can tell me is appreciated, I love them. Price and when

    made. mgtobey@roadrunner.com

    Thank You

  • Rosana says:

    They are not “my vases.” I know nothing of the kind of information you seek. See above for some possible resources for information. — Rosana

  • daniel J. brito martinez says:

    I find KE MEXICO in merida, yucatan…www.artesanaria.com

  • Rosana says:

    Yes, it’s widely sold in Mexico. I’ve seen a lot of it on ebay in the US.

  • Mmglobokar says:

    I have a set of 12 with lots of pieces  to it….in a pattern with 3 flowers in brown with brown trim…some say Mexico some say Vera Cruz…any one interested vintage 1970

  • Ree says:

    Bought several Ken Edwards vases that had fish, and many other sea creatures mixed with kelp, all raised, making the vase rough feeling.  I hope you know this collection and can tell me the collection name and approximate years it was made.  I really enjoy these pieces and keep looking for more to buy.

  • Rosana Hart says:

    Ree I have no idea. I love my KE pieces too!

  • Rob J says:

    All of the stoneware from Ken Edwards and El Palomar in Tonala has always been lead free. Oven and microwave safe. I’ve had mine since the early 70’s they are as beautiful now as they were when I bought them.

  • Geri Bassett says:

    Available ? ken Edwards tonala ware…birds and butterflies

  • SJC2Dominguillo says:

    Let’s see, it’s been 10 years or so since I last saw Ken. I really don’t know, Geri. Try ebay or amazon, and I recall that there is a place in the US that sometimes carries his stuff. Try google for ken edwards pottery and look through several pages.

  • camo says:

    Is the Ken Edwards store in Tonala still open?

  • Debra says:

    Hi I love the blue bird and qual dinner ware, where can I buy sets of dishes
    Thank you

  • SJC2Dominguillo says:

    I don’t know but I would guess it could be as that was also the factory. But I went back to the US.

  • SJC2Dominguillo says:

    I don’t know where you can get dishes. I’m back in the US. Try google or bing, and keep looking through a lot of listings! Or try ebay.

  • Eugenia says:

    How old is Mr. Edwards’s
    Based on how long his dishes have been around I’m guessing he must be in his mid 80’s.

  • SJC2Dominguillo says:

    I think he was in his mid 80s when my husband and I met him — when we lived in Mexico from 2005 to 2010. That would put him into his 90s now. Last I knew, he was living near Lake Atitlan in the Guatemalan highlands and teaching his pottery methods there.

  • Ken Edwards says:

    Hi Rosana. Long time no see. Aug. 30 2019

    I am Ken Edwards and – guess what! I am still alive! I am 94 years old going on 95 and I still live here in San Antonio Palopo under the big Stoneware shop upstairs and also in Tonala. I am going to Tonala next month. I tire easily and I don’t get much work done anymore but I can still clump around the 20 Mayan stoneware shop upstairs and I manage to visit the other three ceramic shops scattered around town from time to time.

    We hire about seventy stoneware artists among the four shops.

    We keep designing new shapes and we keep expanding. This is one of the most creative periods of my life. Actually the Mayan Artists do almost all of the creating but, what the hell! I taught ’em all and I can still take the credit!

    I gave everything away to my Mayan buddies several years ago but they take very good care of me and I am enjoying one of the happiest periods of my life.

    The industrial revolution has finally hit Mexico and has driven most Mexican artisans out of business. Our shop up in Tonala is still going but with is down to only about ten artists. We are still the best in Mexico but we mostly we stay alive with prize money.

    There is something really weird here about this Mayan culture I live in. They are very creative and inventive, much more so than the Ladinas. They are very, very smart, Brilliant! That can be a problem some times because a few of them are smarter than I am! (I speak here of their natural IQ that they were born with.) But they are not aggressive like Europeans and American. They are passive like Buddhists. Strange.

    So how can you cope with people who are smarter than you are? Easy, I am an ex-world war 2 soldier and I can still yell louder than they can.

    Much love Ken

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