Ken Edwards, a renowned pottery designer and ceramicist, was born in Kansas City. Initially he studied at the K.C Fine Arts Institute and earned his graduate degree. Next, he moved to the Far East and learnt various pottery techniques. He became proficient with the use of special clay and high-fired glaze. Later, in the 1950s he shifted base to Guadalajara, where he worked with other famous ceramicists. It was here that he began to work with different types of pottery. Along with his other collaborators, he has been called the ‘National Treasure of Mexico’.
Along with Mr Fred Meiers, Ken Edwards succeeded in creating and designing a line of pottery named ‘El Palomar’. Fred Meiers is the current owner of the brand name. Ken Edwards also worked in collaboration with his friend Jorge Wilmot to form the foundation for the pottery we now call ‘Ceramica Ken Edwards’. Ken’s collection ‘Ceramica Ken Edwards’ has shot to popularity in the city of Tonalá in Mexico, which is well-known for its superior pottery and for the legacy of artists it has produced.
The most important and distinguishing feature of Ken Edwards’ ceramics range is the freedom of expression displayed by its painters and throwers. The pottery produced is of the finest quality and artistic worth. The designs painted on the pottery are inspired by the 400-year old paintings of the Nahua people who lived around Tonalá, Jalisco. Ken has created a guide-book for his artists, using the animistic images of the Nahuas as a baseline while retaining their individual elements. The artists use this book as their guide, but are in no way restrained from using their imagination. They proudly mark each artefact with the ‘KE’ symbol along with their personal signature or ‘chop mark’, which is a Chinese tradition introduced at the pottery by Ken Edwards.
Currently the Ken Edwards range of pottery is made up of three motifs – ‘Tradicional’, ‘Coleccion’, and ‘Monarca’. The collection is painted in shades of blue, green and gold and has a wide assortment of tableware such as cups, plates, bowls and serving-pieces. The collection also contains a number of complementary home decoration artefacts like vases, flower pots, trays, canisters, tiles, door-pulls, lamps and a variety of animal statuettes. The fourth collection – ‘Bohemian’ is a riot of colours with 3-dimensional imagery of animals and plants. The superior quality coupled with the enchanting designs and decoration has made Ken Edwards pottery an international name.
Ken Edwards also produces a range of stoneware pieces, which is made by firing special clay at very high temperature. The range is free from lead and is certified. It is also dishwasher and microwave-friendly. While Ken now lives in the mountains of North Guatemala, San Antonio Palopó, his factory at Tonalá is operational and is managed by Ken’s family. Ken now teaches Guatemala locals to make stoneware embellished with traditional and adapted Mayan designs.