Polish Pottery is a craft that began in the Medieval Ages, but began to flourish in the 18th century in Bolesławiec after the introduction of brown glazes with white patterns. The popularity of this Bolesławiec Pottery increased during latter part of the 19th century when local craftsman began to craft the local white clay into functional dinnerware pieces. In 1898 the local government established “Keramische Faushule” (Ceramic Technical Training School), which assisted in increasing production and the Pottery’s popularity.
After World Ward II, Bolslawiec (previously known as Bunzlau) was annexed to Poland, and the craft became inextricably known as a Polish craft.
In 1947, the Zaklady Ceramiczne Workshop was established, producing beautiful and functional wares. In 1950, the State Committee of Economic Planning in Wroclaw took over a closed plant in Boleslawiec and began the Ceramika Artystyczna Workshop. In cooperation with the University of Wroclaw, its meager beginnings boasted a minimal staff, and by the end of the year the workshop was in full swing. The first wares (vases) hit the market in 1951, and they opened a paint shop that employed young University students who worked and lived in the building. By the end of 1959, the staff had more than doubled from 24 to 59 employees, and had finally reached profitability. Production was growing, and the monthly capacity of 15,000-20,000 products monthly was achieved with eight furnaces.
In 1963, due to bad technical conditions of their workshop, they had capped the production of their current facility. They began construction of a new and more modern workshop. Bronisław Wolanin became the artistic supervisor of the new plant, and brought the company increased fame and notoriety.
In just ten years, their workshop had again capped production, this time at 150 tons of dishes per year. They began plans to construct a new facility that could handle up to 600 tons, and would require a crew nearly double its size.
By 1979, Ceramika Artystyczna had celebrated its 25th Anniversary, and was exporting its beautiful Polish Pottery to Denmark, West Germany, the US, Sweden, Belgium, France, Spain, the Soviet Union, and Austria. They had a staff of 74 employees, and a separate paint shop of 14 employees.
Finally, in 1989, the new Workshop was complete, the Berlin Wall had fallen, and production was stronger than ever before. In 1993 the town of Bolelawiec paid tribute to Ceramika Artystyczna Factory by transferring its flag to its grounds. This was to honor the fact that Ceramika Artystyczna had helped to make Polish Pottery famous throughout Poland and the world, and also because Ceramika Artystyczna had celebrated its 40th Anniversary. Staff had increased to 170 people, with only 40 of those being Men. In this year, their production had increased 200% and Ceramika Artystyczna had established itself as one of the premier exporters of Polish Stoneware Ceramics.
Their reputation as producing the highest quality Polish Pottery had increased, and they received countless international awards for their hand painted Polish Dinnerware, Bakeware, Serving Pieces, and Accessories.
Since 1993, Ceramika Artystyczna has received over 40 major awards for its craftsmanship. It now exports its Polish Stoneware to 25 countries worldwide, and 50% of their wares hit the American market. They currently produce 600 forms and 2500 different patterns with an eco-friendly glaze, and ingredients that are lead and cadmium free. Today’s most dominant colors are kobalt blue, brown, green, and yellow. While the traditional patterns of dots, circles, scales and the peacock’s eye are still popular, you will find many modern designs produced by the Ceramika Artystyczna workshop as well.
One thing is certain, when you own a piece of Polish Stoneware from Ceramika Artystyczna, you own a piece of history and culture that has survived several World Wars, and has withstood the test of time!
About the Author:
Alisa Lybbert has been a retailer and obsessed collector of Polish Pottery for eight years, and sells a large selection of Polish Stoneware on her website, http://Northstar-Treasures.com. She can be reached at 801-210-1510, or by the email contact form on her website.
Polish Pottery by Ceramika Artystyczna