Spain has a rich tradition of ceramic arts. The most famous example is probably the beautiful tile used on walls all over the country:
But nearly every region of Spain produces its own style of ceramic plates and bowls (both for tableware and hanging on the wall), along with trays, vases, jars, and scores of other things.
Whenever we're in Madrid in May, we go to the Feria de la Chacharrería where vendors sell ceramics from different regions, often at bargain prices.
When traveling to other cities and towns in the country, we make sure to stop by the local ceramic shops. There is nearly always something interesting to see. We found this plate for instance in Córdoba:
Here in the U.S., La Tienda has a good selection of Spanish ceramics and Spanish earthenware cazuelas. See my post on Spanish earthenware (cerámica de barro) for more information about cazuelas.
Some of most beautiful (and expensive) Spanish plates come from Talavera:
The ceramics from Granada typically have a blue and green coloring.
Not all Spanish ceramics are traditional. One of our favorite contemporary ceramics artists is Eusebio, who works in a modern style:
And then there is the cerámica popular, pan-Spanish styles that can be found just about anywhere in the country, often with echoes of a particular region. This plate, for instance, is cerámica popular with a strong Galician influence:
The uses for Spanish ceramics in the kitchen and at the table are nearly endless.
There are ceramic sponge holders for beside the sink:
There are ceramic garlic jars:
This piece is designed especially for pizcos, the bits of chopped pepper, onion, boiled egg and croutons typically sprinkled on top of gazpacho:
Shellfish are extremely popular in Spain, so there are ceramic jars to put the shells in as you eat:
We use Spanish ceramics almost in a Japanese way. Rather than going for matching sets, we choose individual pieces that will complement certain dishes or meals. So during any given meal we will use an array of Spanish ceramics.