Polish pottery is known for its unique patterns and durability. It is made in Bolesławiec, Poland, which is famous for its distinctive kind and quality of clay. Ceramics has been a part of Bolesławiec and the entire region’s history for an extremely long time. Potters and ceramic artists are on record from as early as the 14th century.
The geography lends itself to ceramic work as the area is rich in natural clay deposits; the clay is still excavated today. It has a high feldspar and silicon content, and is classified as stoneware after firing. It is fired at extremely high temperatures, around 2000-2400 degrees Fahrenheit. The clay varies from brown to grey in color, and has rough texture in comparison to finer clay bodies such as porcelain. Stoneware is sturdy and vitreous to semi-vitreous and porous when fired. Glaze can be applied and the piece can be re-fired to create a watertight surface.
All authentic Bolesławiec pottery will always have “Hand made in Poland” stamped on the bottom and more intricate pieces, which are called UNIKAT will also have artist's name or signature. The Bolesławiec pottery that is most recognizable today is the white or cream colored ceramic with dark blue, green, yellow, brown, and sometimes red or purple designs. The most recognizable patterns of Bolesławiec ceramics include peacock eyes, dots, blueberries, colorful floral rosettes and beautiful wildflowers.
It is collected by private collectors all across the world, and is also part of many museum collections in Europe, the largest collection being in the Museum of Ceramics in Bolesławiec, Poland. However, with the commercialization of the industry, Polish Pottery ceramics are now sold throughout the world - it isn't only for collectors but most importantly for everyday use in our kitchens.
Over past decades, pottery in Bolesławiec has changed and has gained more popularity - both in Poland and in the world. It has also collected prestigious awards and has been constantly improving its products. The dishes currently created are a perfect example of combining centuries-old traditions with modern forms and a traditional way of design. The old pottery traditions of Bolesławiec are also still alive. The dishes have been manufactured for years according to the same proven techniques. Before decorating, they are fired at extremely high temperature. Then, after they are decorated and covered with glaze, they are put into the oven again. The re-firing process takes 15 hours. The stamp method used for decades is experiencing a renaissance. It allows to create a virtually unlimited number of patterns and also makes each dish one of a kind! This technique allows to create unique results. Each piece is a wonderful hand-decorated work of art!