Many have asked me and how Polish Pottery came to the US, and why more people aren't familiar with it. While the history of Polish Pottery stoneware in the US may seem young, overall performance a rather long and eventful history! Americans first began to collect this beautiful, elaborate, and high quality stoneware shortly after the Berlin Wall fell. It was not long after this that American military wives, stationed in Germany, began to more easily cross the Polish border to visit the small town of Boleslawiec, where the history of Polish Pottery has its roots. It quickly became popular for the military wives to take overnight bus excursions to Boleslawiec, where they would disembark in the small, and at-first, unsuspecting town in the wee day time. With numerous ceramic shops lining the streets, these women would trek through the streets of Boleslawiec for almost twelve hours, returning on the bus with boxes packed with their new dinnerware to surprise their husbands by having! These bus trips were not for that casual shopper. The tours guaranteed at least two seats per passenger (one for the shopper, a single for their new valuables!), and required shoppers to sleep almost two full nights in regards to the bus (one on the way there, and one on the way back). When these military families were transferred back across the US border, they brought home cabinets full of this colorful pottery, and thus the Polish Pottery craze began!
The local Boleslawiec stoneware shop owners have quickly learned that Americans are hungry for their beautiful patterns and premium quality stoneware, and there has been a large increase in shapes and patterns available today. And what's not to enjoy? Besides being an item of art, the Polish Stoneware is microwave, oven, and even dishwasher safe!
But where if did the craft of Polish Pottery stoneware begin? Historians suggest that the Polish Pottery art began as early as the 7th century, where it was a craft belonging to the Silesian region. A skinny layer of white clay was first discovered along the Bobr River, in town of Bunzlauer (later called Boleslawiec). In the 14th century, the towns' farmers, who were generally out perform during the winter months, began crafting storage jars from this clay. Their unique painting methods (using potatoes as 'stamps') set them apart, as well as their finishing with a chocolate colored glaze. These pieces were for typically form of hosting use, but were also sold in the local markets.
In the 19th century the focus shifted, and artists started craft the local clay into functional dinnerware pieces used to treat dining and presentation. In 1898, the local government established 'Keramische Fachschule' (Ceramic Technical Training School), to assistance with developing the beautiful art. The 'Peacock's Eye' became the recognized trademark of Polish Pottery-a pattern that is harking back to the eye of a peacock feather-and 's still the most common and traditional pattern available.
During World War II pottery production was halted, and also the town of Bunzlau was annexed to Poland, and the Germans expelled. Length of time . until the 1940's that the talent was strongly revived, and artisans started decorate the wares with new patterns, colors, and improved techniques.
Presently, Polish Pottery stoneware is still handcrafted exclusively in this particular region of Poland, where over ten different factories are producing the well known Polish dinnerware. Some companies are large and well established, pertaining to example the Zaklady Ceramiczne factory, which may be producing quality wares since 1947. Other people small operations with only 3 or 4 family members painting equally impressive and beautiful areas. Polish Pottery is now painted free hand and hand stamped with sea sponges, instead of the earlier technique for potatoes. These sponges hold the bright colors and support very intricate and elaborate patterns.
Like all crafts, there are beginning artists as well as highly trained and experienced artists. Only the most experienced artists paint 'Unikat' ('unique' in Polish) or 'Signature' pieces, may signed pieces that boast the elaborately detailed patterns that Polish Pottery becomes famous for.
So, whether an individual might be an experienced collector with military roots, or one of this many now-converted (and potentially obsessed) collectors residing in regions around the world, you can pride yourself in understand you own an area of history. Within age where dinnerware companies come and go (invariably producing their wares a good automated Chinese factory), it is a superior feeling to are aware your investment in beautiful and functional Polish dinnerware is assisting to preserve an excellent cultural art that lives on on the inside Southwest region of Poland.