While every piece of Polish pottery is lovingly handmade and hand-painted, the price varies greatly depending on the level of artistry, determined by the intricacy and difficulty involved in producing each particular piece. Each manufacturer has their own individual pricing structure, with some companies having as few as two or as many as ten different levels. Manufaktura, our most prolific manufacturer, has three levels of artistry: Traditional, Unikat, and Signature.
Traditional patterns are the most common and recognizable patterns in the world of Polish pottery. Using the “punching” technique of hand stamping, highly skilled artists create an array of designs and colors largely inspired by nature.
Considered the “simpler” patterns, there is no limit in production for these patterns, and the largest pool of artists combine to satisfy the demand. You may see variations of these patterns from any of the different manufacturers we carry. Because so many different artists take on these designs, the amount of variance from piece to piece is quite high. You may encounter two pieces in the same pattern with different spacing or location of stamps because they were created at different times by different artists. Their prices represent the base price for our selection of Polish pottery. Considering the value, Traditional patterns are a great place to start or enhance a collection.
Unikat patterns take artistry to the next level, not only for the consumer, but for the artist as well. As an artist’s skills progress, they are encouraged to progress to a higher level with the challenge of creating Unikat patterns. These designs display more intricate detail and incorporate a greater number of elements and colors.
Identified by the “UNIKAT” stamp on the bottom, sometimes above the artist’s initials or name, these patterns are more time and labor intensive, involving greater stamping skills and, in many cases, hand painting. "Unikat" means "unique" in Polish, and a Unikat stamp acts as a sort of copyright symbol, indicating that a pattern belongs to that specific manufacturer. Since they require more work and are painted by a smaller pool of artists, Unikat patterns are a bit more expensive than the Traditional ones.
Artists achieving the highest level of artistic accomplishment, the true “masters” of their art, earn the privilege of creating their own designs from beginning to end. These designing artists are responsible for overseeing every piece produced in these patterns, thus limiting the supply and making them treasured collector's items.
Signature Products bear the UNIKAT stamp on the bottom along with the signature of the artist.
The painstaking attention to detail and design is evident in the beauty of each Signature piece. Each piece is truly a work of art and shows the finest designs currently coming from the Bolesławiec ceramics community, and their price reflects that.
The following video from Manufaktura follows the journey every piece of Polish pottery makes before finding its way to our shelves.
The extremely high quality of today’s Bolesławiec pottery can be attributed to the materials, the highly skilled local artists, and processes developed and refined over hundreds of years. The fine grain white clay, Kaolin, is of such high quality it is used to make fine porcelain dishes as well. Once processed to the right consistency it begins its metamorphosis from earth to heirloom quality stoneware. Either molded or formed on a potter’s wheel, the piece is air dried, trimmed, and cleaned, then pre-burnt in preparation for the application of the final design. Originally stamped or “punched” using vegetables (primarily the potato), the artists’ tools evolved over time into longer lasting materials like sea sponges or rubber stamps, and most are now made from the inside of recycled car seats! This time consuming process may require from one to ten different sized or shaped stencils to fill the ceramic’s surface design. Moreover, the number of punches may reach into the thousands on a particular piece. Many of the patterns require hand painted, brushed on detail as well. The paints used are completely non-toxic, and are free of lead and cadmium.
Once entirely painted with a non-toxic paint, the piece is submerged in a vat of glaze and fired in coal and gas kilns at temperatures ranging between 2300°F - 3000°F for twelve to twenty hours before cooling on racks. Once cooled, it’s off to be inspected and graded so that each piece meets the highest standard before it ships to us.
When a piece arrives at our store in the suburbs of Denver, we know it will be not only gorgeously well-crafted, but chip and crack resistant, and ready for heavy use! There's a reason we lovingly refer to everything we carry as "functional art."
Since every piece of Polish pottery is made by hand, variations from piece to piece in the same pattern are quite common and do not constitute defects.
Here we have a few examples of how the same pattern can turn out differently when painted by different artists in different batches.
Sometimes we'll even receive pieces painted differently in the same shipment. These variations really showcase the joy of purchasing a handmade, hand-painted product.
The bakers below came in with three separate variations!
Because of the nature of Polish pottery, all product photos on our website are for representational purposes only and may or may not look exactly like the piece you'll receive. If you are trying to match a piece you purchased in the past, or have a strong preference on how you want a specific piece to look, please contact us at email@example.com or by phone at (303)789-0100 and we'll be happy to send pictures of individual items for your approval before purchase.
Guidelines to keep your pottery in excellent condition:
You may safely use Polish pottery in the microwave and in a conventional oven at temperatures up to 425°F. We recommend you heat your stoneware up to temperature with the oven. Make sure to always cover the entire bottom of the dish when baking. For example, you don't want to put a single chicken breast in the center of a baker and leave the rest of the surface area uncovered, as the empty spots will heat at a different rate than those with food on them. Polish pottery does not like quick changes in temperature or uneven heat sources, and thermal shock WILL result in a broken dish.
Never place your pottery directly on a hot stovetop burner!
While Polish pottery is extremely durable, it should not be taken directly from the freezer and placed into a hot oven. In addition, cold water or frozen food should not be placed in a hot piece of pottery. Always allow cooling or warming to room temperatures before heating in an oven or placing in a freezer. If taken care of properly, your Polish pottery can last for generations!
The Polish Pottery Outlet
1800 W. Oxford Avenue, Suite A
Englewood, Colorado 80110
Monday - Saturday 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Sundays - Closed