By: Jessie Chrobocinksi Photos By: Aaron Garcia
Hand-painted ceramics that provide a timeless beauty, Mexican Talavera tiles will liven up any home through traditional design and color. Talavera is crafted with 16th century Spanish and Mexican ceramic techniques, uses all-natural materials, and follows a specific process from preparing the clay to the final glazing and firing stages. Corpus Christi’s La Casita de Barro specializes in authentic Talavera and Mexican pottery, offering a large selection of planters, dishes, ceramic animals, and more.
Born and raised in Monterrey, Mexico, owner Neyla Barajas grew up with the culture of maceta, classical Mexican pots made from clay. Barajas moved to Corpus Christi 22 years ago. Along with a successful sales career, Barajas turned her dream into a reality, opening Casita de Barro in 2018 and transforming her gardening hobbies and Talavera collection into a business.
"One of the ideas, and why I opened the store, is because I saw the need for something like this," Barajas says eagerly. "Most people, even myself, will drive to the border towns or Mexico to buy Talavera at an affordable price, made with good quality, and from a diversity of different things."
La Casita de Barro's extensive inventory is sourced directly from artisans in Mexico, rather than third-party vendors. Barajas says she feels proud of the support her business gives to the people in Mexico, who work many hours hand-crafting Talavera.
"They draw every single line and paint every single piece by hand. So when you're buying a piece of Talavera, you're buying a piece of art," Barajas says.
Previously utilized as a tire warehouse, La Casita de Barro maintains the feeling, hosting an atmosphere similar to retail warehouses in Mexico.
"When you're buying, basically you go to warehouses full of this stuff," Barajas says. "I wanted to bring something to Corpus where, when people come into the store, they feel almost like they're in Mexico. I want people to experience what I experienced when I used to go. This kind of feeling, like a kid in a candy store where you're like, 'Oh my God, I want this, I want that.’"
La Casita de Barro offers more than Talaveras: The store's inventory covers a wide array of products from purses, jewelry, and embroidered face masks to metal decor, birdbaths, and planters. Barajas says it's important to her that customers feel happy to buy from her store.
"I want people to enjoy a quality product still, and not think they're going to break the bank. When people come here, I want them to have a good experience, and when they leave, they always feel like coming back, even if they don't buy anything. To me, it's all about making people feel comfortable."
Whether your home incorporates a Southwestern bohemian theme or not, La Casita de Barro offers a retail atmosphere suspended in rich Spanish and Mexican culture. From the bright, cheery colors to the lush, naturalistic themes of birds, leaves, flowers, and more, the authenticity and uniqueness of every item you'll discover at La Casita de Barro will leave you feeling the cultural experience and proud past that live in these artistic creations.