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About Polish Pottery

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All About Polish Pottery!

Polish Pottery dates back to the region to the 7th century.  The border of Poland changed frequently in the area. It originated in what was the small German town of Bunzlau. Farmers would use the clay from the river to hand-shape pottery, and would use potatoes to stamp the design. 

Today, the pottery is made in the Polish city of Boleslawiec (prononuced "Bol-les-slavi-etz").  Boleslawiec is located in the Southwest region of Poland, about 2.5 hours from Krakow.  The pottery has changed over the years.  The pottery as we know it today was developed in the 19th century. The region was bombed in WWII, and the factories were rebuilt in the 1940's.

The white clay, from the banks of the Bobr and Kwisa Rivers is still used today to create the pottery.  It is either molded or hand-spun on a potter's wheel. After creating the dish, it is fired at 800 degrees Celsius to prepare for decorating.  Each piece is then hand-painted using a brush or by using a hand stamping technique. The white clay color provides a blank slate for the artists to use richly colored paints that are not muted by a red or brown clay.  The artists themselves hand cut the pattern in the sponge to apply paint to each piece.  Because sponges hold the paint longer, the artist has time to slowly go around each piece and create a unique design. 

The pottery is then dipped into a lead free and cadmium free glaze except for one small spot on the bottom of the piece to allow moisture to escape. 

It is then fired again, in an oven at temperatures exceeding 1200 degrees Celsius for about 15 hours.  This firing process makes the pottery extremely durable. 

The bottom of each piece of pottery will have a stamp with the factory symbol and "Hand Made in Poland". Some pieces are stamped with "UNIKAT", which means "unique" in English.  These patterns with this stamp are more complex than a traditional piece and are painted by more skilled artisans.  Collectors often seek out pottery with this "UNIKAT" stamp. 

The most accomplished artists earn the privilege of creating their own work from start to finish. These UNIKAT pieces are signed by the artist. Because of this uniqueness and rarity, they command higher prices and are much more sought after by collectors.  Everyone in the factory can produce a traditional pattern painting, but only the very best create the Signature UNIKAT pieces. 

These beautiful pieces of pottery are safe for the oven, microwave, freezer and dishwasher.  The pottery is non-stick and chip resistant.  It is durable to use every day!