Tonala is a suburb town of Guadalajara, the capital city of Jalisco, Mexico. While most visitors to Tonala are based out of larger cities such as Guadalajara or Tlaquepaque, Tonala offers its own unique attractions. Tonala Jalisco draws many visitors not just because of its proximity to Mexico’s second largest city, but also because of its rich history in Mexican pottery and handcrafted art.
Tonala Jalisco Pottery
Tonala Jalisco Pottery Image: AanikaP (flickr)
Due to the type of clay soil found in the region, Tonala and nearby Tlaquepaque have a 3,000 year long history of being two of Mexico’s biggest producers of pottery. For this reason, a significant number of Mexico’s most skilled ceramics artists can be found operating in Tonala Jalisco, including Sergio Bustamante. Most art found for sale and on display in the larger cities of Tlaquepaque and Guadalajara is created in Tonala. While eleven different types of pottery styles are practiced in Tonala, the most well-known and popular is known as bruñido, meaning burnished, referring to the color of the clay.
Tonala Shopping Image: toxickore (flickr)
Twice a week, several of Tonala’s main streets convert into one large street market, enticing visitors and locals alike. The popularity of art throughout the town of Tonala has made this market one of the most popular in Jalisco and provides some of the best shopping for authentic handcrafts. Handcrafted pottery and ceramics are not the only pieces of art for sale. Crafts such as silver pieces, blown glass, and paper mache are also available. Visitors barter for one-of-a-kind furniture, toys, and stoneware. Vendors sell handmade jewelry, hats, and shoes. Delicious snacks, candies, and homemade Mexican food are also for sale. The Tonala street market is one of the best places to find unique, handmade crafts and clothing.
Do understand that Tonala Jalisco is sometimes mistaken for another town called Tonala in the state of Chiapas, known for its beautiful beaches along the Pacific Ocean.
Top image: Marco Valentini (flickr)