We would Love YOUR Feedback, This Post Focuses on How to Leave Reviews on Yelp, Trip Advisor, and Google+

At Polmedia Polish Pottery, we Love our Customers

Polmedia Polish Pottery's Retail Store is Located in Seguin, Texas

Polmedia Polish Pottery’s Retail Store is Located in Seguin, Texas

At Polmedia, customer service is our top priority because you matter most to us!  We take our customer feedback to heart.  If you would like to leave us a review, here are three ways that you can send us some feedback:

Yelp Reviews

 

How to Write a Yelp Review:

 

You can type www.yelp.com into your browser.  Yelp will ask you what you would like to find, for this part, type in Polmedia.  It will also ask you what location you would like to search near. For this part, put in Seguin, Texas and hit search.  Once you have reached Polmedia Polish Pottery’s review page, you can click write a review at the top of the page and you will be all set to begin writing your review.  You can begin at the Yelp homepage listed above or you can simply click on this link to go directly to Yelp Reviews of Polmedia Polish Pottery.

Polmedia on Trip Advisor

 

How to Write a Trip Advisor Review:

 

Go to www.tripadvisor.com and search worldwide for Polmedia.  Polmedia Polish Pottery will come up and you can simply click on it to go to our review page.  There will be a green button on the right side of the page that says write a review.  Just click and start writing.  You can also find Polmedia on Trip Advisor by clicking on this link.

Find us on Google+ 

 How to Write a Google+ Review:

 

If you have a Google+ profile, you can click on this link to get to Polmedia Polish Pottery’s Google+ profile.  Once you are on our page you can leave a review by clicking on the first icon below our profile picture, it is a little pencil.  Once you click on it, you can write a review.

Thank you:

From the bottom of our hearts we thank you for your business and continued support.  Leaving a review on any of these sites will allow others to discover the joys of Polish Pottery as well.  Thank you.

How to Leave a Yelp and Trip Advisor Review

 

Recipe for Polish Babka with Optional Cheese Filling

Recipe for Polish Babka with Optional Cheese Filling (but is cheese really ever just an option?)

Polish Babka with Optional Cheese Filling

This looks delicious!! (this recipe and image can be found on food.com)

Ingredients

Polish Recipe

(photo by Rita on Food.com)

 

This Polish Babka Recipe was submitted to food.com by Rita and the original recipe may be found by clicking this link.

Directions:

This recipe can be made with a cheese filling. Which can be made while dough is rising. The rising times are not included. There are 3 rising times be sure to do the rising of the dough in a draft free, warm place. The picture posted is with dried cherries, dried cranberries, and the optional saffron. I must say this is one of my favorite home-made or store babkas bought to date. The filling was so creamy and rich.

  1. Add yeast to lukewarm (hot will kill the yeast)water and let stand until softened or dissolved, about 5 minutes.
  2. Cream butter and sugar in a large mixing bowl.
  3. In a separate bowl, add salt to egg yolks and beat until thick; then add to sugar and butter mixture.
  4. Add yeast and water, lemon rind, cinnamon and cardamom.
  5. Add flour alternately with milk and beat well to make a smooth batter.
  6. Add raisins and knead by hand until batter leaves the fingers.
  7. Let rise in a warm draft free place until double (about 1-1/2 hours). Punch down and let rise again until double.
  8. Generously butter a fluted tube pan. Sprinkle with fine bread crumbs and fill with dough. Brush with mixture of egg yolk beaten with 2 tablespoons water. Sprinkle with almonds and let rise again. Bake in preheated 350 degrees F oven for 45-60 minutes.
  9. Optional:.
  10. Mix cheese filling ingredients together.
  11. Place 1/2 the dough in the prepared pan place the filling mixture on the center of the dough, place the rest of the dough on the mixture. Try to pinch the dough together so filling is encased inside. Or roll out into a log about 20x 10. Then place cheese filling in the center down the long side of the roll, bringing the sides over to encase the filling. Then place into prepared pan and let rise 30 minutes. Brush with eggwash and sprinkle with almonds. Bake 350 for 45-60 minutes.
Recipe for Polish Babka

TADA!!!! (photo found on food.com)

Flooding in Central Texas Memorial Day Weekend 2015

Historic flooding in Central Texas over Memorial Day Weekend 2015

Young woman rescued in San Marcos flood 2015

Firefighter Jay Horton rescues a young woman in San Marcos who had been waiting for hours while first responders struggled to find a way to reach her. (REUTERS/Don Anders/Anders Photography/Handout)

Nearly all of Texas has been affected by the historic flooding that occurred over Memorial Day weekend.  Houston freeways have been turned into rivers, downtown Austin was underwater Monday, some dams sit at the brink of destruction while others have already been breached.  In San Marcos alone, 300 homes have been destroyed and 1000 people have been displaced.  At least one person is confirmed dead.  In Wimberly, an unknown amount of homes have been completely removed from their foundations and destroyed.  There have been six confirmed deaths and 6 people remain missing, including 3 children.  Martindale has been deeply affected as well.  The devastation is indescribable.  So many of the people affected in the community had very little before the flood.  The small amount of possessions they have been able to accumulate has now been washed away or ruined by the wall of water that rushed through their homes in the early hours of Sunday morning.  The only positives in the communities of San Marcos, Wimberly, and Martindale, are the neighbors that are showing up with boots, gloves, shovels, and rakes to lend a helping hand.  Though our retail store and warehouse are located in Seguin and all of our employees made it through the flooding ok, the communities affected are our direct neighbors.  I live in San Marcos with my family and I felt a great need to go out and help the flood victims this week.  Artur, the owner of Polmedia, encouraged me to take the day off of work on Tuesday and be of service in any way that I could. The United Way and the Red Cross are organizing large numbers of volunteers to go out into the community to try to help.  A large part of the process is simply knocking on doors to assess the needs of flood victims.  There have been incredible amounts of donations pouring into designated drop off points, but there are many people who have lost their vehicles or do not have a vehicle and cannot get to these locations, so without volunteers delivering supplies, they would not be able to receive assistance.

Lending a Helping Hand

Flood Victims

David Barry consoles his 5-year-old daughter, Marley, while she tries to sleep in a flood evacuee room created at the San Marcos Activity Center, Sunday May 24, 2015, in San Marcos, Texas. The Barry family was evacuated from their apartment at 4 a.m. Sunday morning and was waiting to hear if they could return. (Erika Rich/Austin American-Statesman via AP) AUSTIN CHRONICLE OUT, COMMUNITY IMPACT OUT, INTERNET AND TV MUST CREDIT PHOTOGRAPHER AND STATESMAN.COM, MAGS OUT

The threat of more storms and a tornado spotted in town caused the city of San Marcos to ask residents to remain indoors on Monday afternoon while tornado sirens could be heard throughout the town.   It wasn’t until Tuesday that the city asked volunteers to go out into the affected neighborhoods to try to help.  These efforts are planned to continue throughout the weeks to come.  Tuesday morning nearly 400 people showed up with shovels in hand to try to help their neighbors clean up and salvage anything not completely ruined by the flood waters.  Knocking on doors and attempting to assess the needs of individual families is  an overwhelming task.  There is such a great need from the families affected by the flood that it leaves you wondering how they are going to make it?  Some of their homes have been completely ruined with no insurance or financial ability to start over.  There is help pouring in for the short-term, but the long-term effect the flood will have on these extremely low-income families is incalculable.

Flood Victim 2015

John’s house after the flood. Every possession he owns that survived the flood are stacked on this bench.

This is John (name changed to protect his identity), he is a senior citizen that uses a cane to get around. We were pointed in his direction by the police officers who walked tirelessly up and down the streets checking on citizens, escorting volunteers, and passing out food to flood victims (thank you to SMPD). They told us he was elderly and alone. Nothing can really prepare you for the site of inches of mud covering someone’s entire home or seeing the pictures that were taken over a lifetime (in the time before digital cameras and facebook could preserve memories forever) completely swallowed by the destructive force of water and mud. There is such a level of shock and sadness at the site of every possession a person owns lying in complete ruin on the floor. And the smell, the smell of sewage and who knows what else that was gathered and sent down the river during the flooding is extremely powerful to put it mildly. It took hours of shoveling, scraping, hosing, and mopping to clean the mud from just one room. As we worked, the floor tiles began pulling up and breaking apart. At one point, after John nearly slipped and fell down in the mud, it occurred to me that this man, likely in his 70s and walking with a cane, had nowhere to sit. I don’t know how long he had been on his feet by the time we were able to make some room for him to sit down on a small bench.  This bench held his few surviving possessions and kept them out of the reach of the mud.

Flood Victims 2015

John’s living room after we pushed out 3 inches of mud.

 

At the end of the day, we had cleared one room who’s drywall had been missing since the flood of Halloween 2013. The police officers brought John some lunch while we were there, but I don’t know where his next meal was going to come from. He told me he had been staying with his daughter and her family at night and that he had eaten dinner the previous night at the temporary shelter. I let him know that HEB was providing hot meals three times a day and left him sitting on his bench with his washed off, but probably ruined pictures and remaining possessions. The only feeling I could use to describe this moment would be an extremely deep and painful feeling of inadequacy. One room just doesn’t seem like enough. I don’t know what the future holds for John, a church group stopped by and said that they were going to be organizing professionals to volunteer to replace sheet rock and floor tiles.  I really hope they come to help him…I wish I could do more.

Ways YOU Can Help: 

Flood Victims 2015

Ruined mattresses at CM Allen homes on River Road in San Marcos, TX

So many people lost everything.  You can drive down any street on the East side of San Marcos and see piles of people’s entire possessions stacked on the curb waiting to be placed in dumpsters.  The same goes for Martindale and Wimberly.  There just aren’t enough bodies to go around and offer help.  With 400 volunteers on Tuesday, we barely scratched the surface of what is needed.  The need is great and it will take many helping hands to make a real difference.  If you are in Central Texas and would like to volunteer your time to help flood victims, you can find more information by clicking on this link.  If you would like to donate to an  organization that will give the money raised directly to flood victims, you can donate to The United Way of Hays County, here or you can text FLOODS to 41444.

San Marcos Flood 2015

There were no salvageable items left in this house on Pecan Street in San Marcos, TX

Flood Victims 2015

San Marcos Police Officers carrying warm meals to hand out to victims. You could see the care and concern in their eyes as they walked the streets on Tuesday.

Texas Hill Country Wineries Reviews – Blue Lotus Winery

Texas Hill Country Wineries Reviews (part 1)


Blue Lotus Winery

 

Hill Country Wineries Reviews - Blue Lotus Winery

Hill Country Wineries Reviews                                   Blue Lotus Winery, Seguin, Texas 

Nestled in the Hill Country, off the beaten path, rests Blue Lotus Winery.  This gorgeous winery lies just beyond the outskirts of Seguin on FM 20. If you’re looking to escape for a day, walking the beautiful vineyards filled with grape vines, roses, and lavender plants while sipping exquisite wine, is a wonderful way to spend an afternoon.

 

 

 

 

                                                                                    Wine & Mead, A Family Business

Hill Country Wineries Reviews

Blue Lotus Winery offers a great selection of house-brewed wines and meads.

Blue Lotus Winery is owned and operated by Michael and Melissa Poole (and unofficially run by their two little daughters).  Michael began brewing beers when he got out of the Navy which turned into a deep love and passion for wine and mead.  Though the Pooles offer a variety of wines at Blue Lotus Winery, they grow and craft most of the wines offered here themselves onsite.  The tasting room is open Thursday – Sunday from 12 pm – 5 pm (a perfect ending to a morning spent at Polmedia Polish Pottery and Stoneware.  In addition to a wonderful afternoon spent in the Hill Country, Blue Lotus Winery offers a Wine Club and monthly events including dinners and festivals.  Details can be found on their website.

Weddings, Parties, & Special Events

The Gallery at Blue Lotus Winery

Melissa getting the Gallery ready for a 5-course dinner to be hosted that evening.

Blue Lotus Winery offers event hosting in their gorgeous Gallery, Tasting Room, & Vineyard.  Tucked between rows of stunning grape vines is a gazebo that would make a gorgeous place to say I do.  Inside the winery is the Tasting Room, offering seating for 50, this gorgeous room is filled with floor to ceiling windows looking out into the beautiful gardens.  The Gallery is a beautiful surprise, it has elegant seating available for 80 around banquet style tables, but the really fascinating aspect to this room is the artwork adorning the walls.  Michael’s grandfather painted these stunning works of art.  They are absolutely incredible and painted with exceptional skill.  He actually painted with Norman Rockwell (yes you read that right, the Norman Rockwell).  There aren’t any pictures of the paintings in this post, to see those beauties you are going to have to make the trip for yourself.

 

More Images from Blue Lotus Winery

Hill country Wineries

Beautiful Roses at Blue Lotus Winery

Winery

Gorgeous Grapevines

Hill Country Winery Reviews

More Grapevines

Grapevines at Blue Lotus Winery

Wonderful rows of grapevines in the vineyard.

Texas Hill Country Wineries Reviews - Blue Lotus Winery

The beautiful vineyard at Blue Lotus Winery

Blue Lotus Winery

Pergola in the Vineyard

Hill Country wineries

Say I do.

Tasting room at blue lotus winery

The Tasting Room

Hill country Winery

Wines made on site.

Blue Lotus Winery

Housemade Meads

Hill country wineries reviews

Wine and Meads at Blue Lotus Winery

Large Selection

Large Selection

Wine :)

Wine 🙂

Wine, wine, everywhere

Wine, wine, everywhere

IMG_0557

 

 


More information about Hill Country Wineries Reviews and the history of Texas Wines can be found here.

 

Hisotry of Boleslawiec Polish Pottery

The History of Boleslawiec Polish Pottery and Stoneware

Courtesy of http://www.artisanimports.com

Courtesy of http://www.artisanimports.com

If you have ever wondered about how the famed town of Boleslawiec began producing the exquisite Polish Pottery of today, you need to start several thousand ago. The remarkable pottery created by artisans in Boleslawiec has roots dating back to at least 6,000 B.C. The story of Boleslawiec Polish Pottery is both an interesting and triumphant one.  The potters of this town and region have had to overcome immense setbacks, but they have always prevailed and exist as one of the most famous producers of pottery in the world.

 

Stroke-Ornamented Ware Culture 

History of Boleslawiec Polish Pottery

Stroke Ornamented Ware Culture

 

 Archaeologists have found evidence of earlier cultures settled in this area, cultures such as the Linear Band Ware Culture, but we will begin with the Stoke-Ornamented Ware Culture, (also called Stichbandkeramik in German, or STK for short). Pottery found from this culture dates back over 7,000 years. Though they were spread throughout Germany, Poland, Austria, and the Czech Republic, STK culture was centered within the Silesia Region in Poland (just like Boleslawiec!). STK earned its name from the German archaeologists studying their pottery. These vessels were generally pear shaped with a large band around the top of the vessel. The name derives from the strokes used to decorate the pots.  The strokes were used to form a pattern of contiguous A’s around the vessel. Evidence also shows that the pottery from this region was more advanced than nearby cultures of the time. Additionally, the surfaces of these vessels were shiny, indicating that they may have been using some type of glaze on these pots when they were fired.

The structure found at Gosek.

The structure found at Gosek.

A really interesting side note about the STK culture is that there was a structure found at Gosek (located south of Berlin) that could be described as a wooden version of Stonehenge. It was likely used to observe the course of the sun in order to calculate a lunar calendar. Evidence of fire, human and animal remains as well as a decapitated skeleton can be found at this structure suggesting sacrifices (both human and animal) may have taken place here!

 

Corded Ware Culture

The Hisotry of Boleslawiec Polish Pottery

Corded Ware Culture

Following the STK culture was the Corded Ware Culture living from around 3200 BC to around 1800 BC and spanning across parts of Germany and all of what is present-day Poland. The pottery produced by this culture was tan or brown and decorated with bands of dots around the surface. The vessels were either beaker-shaped or large round pots called Amphoras.

 

 

The Pomerelian Face Urn Culture

History of Polish Pottery

Pomerelian Face Urn Culture

 Around 500 BC, during the Iron Age, came the Pomerelian Face Urn Culture.  Their pottery featured male faces around the neck of the vessel and a bulbous base representing the human torso. These burial urns had hat-lids decorated with solar motifs. In many cases, small bronze earrings were placed on the pottery. Each urn had separate facial characteristics and there was often a hunting scene or even a chariot race painted on each vessel.

The Middle Ages

Following the dark ages, pottery from the early middle ages has been found in Boleslawiec dating from around 600 AD when the town was called Boleslawice. Boleslawiec itself was established in 1202, it was then a German town named Bunslau (this is why the pottery is sometimes referred to as Bunslau pottery). Boleslawiec is still known today for its excellent naturally found stoneware. The people of the middle ages were privy to this and historical records from 1380 speak of a Potter from Boleslawiec. Unfortunately, in 1492 the town was nearly decimated by the Hussite Wars. Thankfully, the town was rebuilt and the first pottery Guild was formed in 1511. Pottery dating from this era contains the signatures of the master craftsmen who created them. This may be viewed as a precursor to Unikat pieces.

 

Pottery for Royalty

Boleslawiec was one again nearly destroyed, this time by the Thirty Year War lasting from 1618 to 1648.   The town went from 600 residents to 80. Once again, Boleslawiec was rebuilt by its potters and began making pottery for royalty around 1650, this reputation for excellent pottery spread throughout Europe in the 1700s.

 

The Beginning of the Modern Boleslawiec Tradition

Hisotry of Boleslawiec Polish Pottery

6′ tall pot created by Johann Gottlieb Joppe. A replica still sits in the town square today. Photo may found at http://www.ceramicboleslawiec.com.pl/

 In 1753, potters of the area built a 6 foot tall clay pot which became the symbol for Boleslawiec, a replica of this pot still rests in the town square today. At this time, the pottery produced in Boleslawiec was made of a brown clay body called earthenware and covered with brown glaze. Additionally, all of the pottery was created on the potter’s wheel. This is much different than the pottery produced today. The pottery made in modern Boleslawiec is in large part a result of the efforts of Johann Gottlieb Altman. He introduced reusable molds to the region and began using a different clay body, known as stoneware. Stoneware is white like porcelain and far more durable than earthenware.  Also, he porbably saved lives by introducing glazes made with the element Feldspar rather than continuing to use glazes made with lead.

The Famous Peacock Pattern

Peacock Pattern Polish Pottery

Peacock pattern in Royal Blue

 

Potters wanted to attract the favour of royalty and nobility to ensure they would have continued income, this lead to the famous peacock pattern as well as the royal blue color that Polish Pottery is most widely known for. Male peacocks have historically been a symbol of wealth and royalty in Europe, because of this, ceramic artists began basing their design motifs on the patterning of the male peacock, specifically their beautiful tails. The swirling designs found in this pattern are a direct correlation to the peacock’s tail.

 

The Great War

 

Boleslawiec Polish Pottery

Bunzlauer Braunzeug Pottery

Boleslawiec artists formed the Professional School of Ceramics in 1897. The area was so famous for its pottery that Dr. Wilhelm Pukall left his position as technical director for the Royal Manufacture of Porcelain in Berlin to become the school’s first headmaster. Unfortunately, war once again tore through Boleslawiec during WWI. After the war ended in 1936, a cooperative consisting of six guilds was formed. This, however, was a step farther away from the pottery produced in Boleslawiec today. Bunzlauer Braunzeug, as the cooperative was called, was named for the town of Boleslawiec (the German town of Bunzlauer, the alternative name for Boleslawiec) and the color brown. The pottery emerging at this time was typical of the pottery created before Johann Gottlieb Altman came along and revolutionized the pottery of this region. It was brown with white decorations. This continued until WWII.

 

World War II to Present

 Boleslawiec is only 50 miles from Germany and 80% of the manufacturers were destroyed during WWII. In 1950, however, the State Committee of Economic Planning commissioned the Centre of the Folk and Artistic Industry to rebuild the ceramics industry of Boleslawiec. There was a closed plant that was still standing after the war, called Julius Paul and Son. This is where Ceramika Artystyczna (Artistic Ceramics) started the first post-war factory making Boleslawiec Polish Pottery. At first they only made vases, but by the next year they were stamping and hand-painting dinnerware, and by 1954 they were a full cooperative with 45 employees. In 2000, Ceramika Artystyczna had over 230 employees and offered hundreds of patterns. This paved the way for the numerous other family businesses and cooperatives that exist in Boleslaweic today.

Boleslaweic Pottery

Ceramika Artystyczna’s artists in 2000.

The history of Boleslawiec is truly incredible.  To know what it took for the artists of Boleslawiec to exist today is fascinating. The ceramic artists of this region have proven to be strong-willed, resilient, and guided by what seems to be a desire and a calling to create beauty. Owning a piece of Polish Pottery is like owning a piece of history and perseverance; a piece of triumph over devastation, and of course, a piece of exquisite beauty.

Boleslawiec Pottery & Dinnerware

    The beauty of modern day Boleslawiec Pottery

 

 

You can find Boleslawiec Stoneware & Dinnerware at Polmedia Polish Pottery.

Visiting Starcke Park in Seguin, Texas

I have spent the last few weeks looking for things to do in Seguin.  To be honest, I was a bit skeptical when I began my quest, but Seguin has proven to be a little known treasure.  The best part about finding this diamond of a small town in the middle of nowhere, you guessed it, no tourists!  It seems as though this truly is the best kept secret of the Texas Hill Country.

Starke Park Golf Course

Golf course at Starcke Park

Last week, as I was leaving Polmedia Polish Pottery, I decided to stop by Starcke Park on my way home.  I saw the pictures online and I wasn’t entirely impressed by their description of the park, but I’m really grateful I stopped by for myself. When you pull into the park you are met at the entrance by the stunning golf course.  Aside form being a picturesque course to play on, this golf course is nice because you don’t have to be a member or even a resident to play here, it’s around $20 for a game.  You can go to their website for details.

The Power Plant

The old power plant.

In addition to the gorgeous golf course, there’s a phenomenal view of the old power plant.  It originally powered a cotton gin and then then the entire city until Seguin outgrew the plants capacity.  Now it is a destination restaurant with a gorgeous view.

Guadalupe River

The beautiful Guadalupe River

Parallel to the golf course is the Guadalupe River.  It is the definition of tranquility and serenity.  All along the banks are picnic tables and opportunities to sit and feel at one with the beauty of this place.  The park also offers a boat launch for kayakers.  The Kayaking trail on this river is supposed to be one of the best in the state.  If you look REALLY closely at this picture, you can see some kayakers in the water.

Kayaking the Guadalupe

Hello tiny kayakers! 🙂

Starcke Park really does make a trip to Seguin worth it (of course coming to Seguin just to visit Polmedia Polish Pottery would be worth it too, lol).  Bring the golf clubs and a picnic, Starcke Park is the perfect place to be!

Max Starcke Park located in Seguin, TX

Max Starcke Park located in Seguin, TX

Starcke park golf course

More of the beautiful golf course.

IMG_0442

Even more beautiful golf course

IMG_0441

Even, even more beautiful golf course!

IMG_0444

Palm tree on…you guessed it, the beautiful golf course!

Picnic at Starcke park

Have a lovely little picnic

Guadalupe River

The river looks magical.

Power plant

Henry Troell

Power Plant

Guadalupe RiverThe Beautiful Guadalupe River

Kayak the Guadalupe

Kayak loading

Golf

Thats a lot of golf carts

Kayak

Wonderful kayaking

Starcke Park

Have a party

Starcke Park

Historical marker

Kayaking the Guadalupe

IMG_0435IMG_0430 The river is so peaceful.

Golf Carts

I don’t think they’re going to run out of golf carts.

Golf carts

Even more golf carts

Golf

Don’t want to forget the balls

COLLECTOR’S CORNER: Insider Tips for Collectors of Polish Pottery

polmedialogo

Dorothy Rosa (Durkee) -– Blog Contribution –  June 2013

As much as we’d all love to have vast and varied collections of Polish Pottery, there are practical limits to our collecting –- limits of space to display or store our treasures, of funds with which to purchase them, and of time to manage it all.  So the questions naturally arise, What to buy? When to buy? And where to buy?

This month, we’ll offer some suggestions about What to buy; next month, When to buy; and in July, Where to buy. After that, we’ll cover a variety of topics of interest to Polish Pottery collectors, including Creative Tablescaping, Mixing and Matching Patterns, All You Need to Know about Shopping for Polish Pottery – in Boleslawiec and Beyond, and How I Found The Courage to Take My Polish Pottery out of the Cabinet and Actually USE It.

What To Buy?

Experienced collectors know what they like. Some collect just one pattern, others a primary pattern with accent pieces in another (or two, or ten). There are those who collect by color (blue and white, for example) or theme (butterflies, birds, flashy florals). Still others choose to “mix and match,” meticulously blending diverse colors and themes in elegant tablescapes. I favor an eclectic mix, offering up to my guests combinations of patterns more or less willy-nilly, something the forgiving nature of Polish Pottery designs readily permits.

Cherished for its artistry, utility, and durability, Polish Pottery from Boleslawiec is also valued for its ability to “play well with others.” Shown here: three different patterns from two manufacturers playing very nicely indeed (top to bottom: WR #AW1, Polmedia P1847A ;WR #EZ3, Polmedia #P3936A; and the hard-to-find “Klara” pattern from Vena.All three are Traditional patterns.)

cabinet

Faced with choosing from nearly 5000 patterns, new collectors can simplify the selection process by trying out different patterns and “looks” by buying a small piece -– a luncheon plate, for example — in each of the patterns they like. When beginning collectors ask, I suggest, “Buy the one that moves you, but be open to change.” Properly nourished, our vision expands.

The question of whether to buy “Unikat” (unique, hand-signed and hand-decorated, with brushes and sponges, always by a highly accomplished, individual artist) pieces or non-Unikat (hand-decorated, but by various artists, and unsigned) pieces may be answered by your budget or personal preference. Unikat pieces will always cost more than non-Unikat pieces, so it’s up to you to decide whether you want: one exceptional piece, for example, or two or three (or more) lovely but less exceptional pieces. I have both: Unikat for display and for very special occasions, non-Unikat for everyday use. I do keep a 12-ounce bubble mug in a favorite (and admittedly pricey) high-end Unikat pattern (U1123 Ceramika Artystyczna, Polmedia P1990A) for my morning coffee.

Polish Pottery was made to be used. And that means – for the brave ones among us — Unikat on the deck for morning coffee.

What to buy or not buy is obviously a matter of personal preference. Choices abound, especially when it comes to novelty or special-interest patterns.

There are cat patterns…

Ceramika Artystyczna  1771X, Polmedia P6131A

BUTTER_DISH

Ceramika Artystyczna 1771 , Polmedia  P6226A

PLATE

…camel patterns…

Zaklady 842AK, Polmedia P5055A


BOWL

…horse patterns…

Ceramika Artystyczna 1143X, Polmedia P3994A

MUG

…and, of course a long, long list of animal and character figurines.

 

As time passes we’ll cover these topics in greater detail. But for now, I’ll offer three suggestions for building a successful collection:

 

1. Learn all you can. As always, an informed consumer is a happy one. Browse the internet thoroughly, bookmarking sites to which you’ll want to return when you’re ready to buy. Keep notes. I maintain two separate digital files, one for tracking details of purchases (with copies to our insurance company) and the other for recording what I want to remember about artists, factories, vendors, and the business/hobby in general.)

 

2. If you love it, buy it. Don’t worry about whether or not a piece will “match” the rest of your collection. Chances are it will: Polish Pottery was made for “mix and match.” It plays well with others. If a piece doesn’t seem to fit, no matter: Display it solo or tuck it away to enjoy some rainy afternoon when it’s just you and your odd little item and a warm pot of tea.

 

3. Find a friend (or friends) to share the fun. On line or off, everything’s better with friends.

 

Next month: When To Buy

Dorothy Rosa Durkee is an independent writer, retired magazine editor, and former military wife with a passion for collecting Polish Pottery. When not dusting or rearranging her collection, she spends her time volunteering in local schools and working in animal rescue.

Handmade from Poland: The Technique Behind Beautiful Polish Stoneware

The process of creating one piece of Polish pottery involves several artisans and many hours of skilled work.  In fact, the manufacture of this stoneware is held in such high regard, there is a school in Boleslawiec, Poland dedicated to passing on the tradition and unique quality of this trade through apprenticeships and training.  Purveyors of high quality Polish pottery appreciate the effort, skill, and creativity put to use in every piece.

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Polish pottery begins with a master form-maker designing a shape (platter, mug, for example) out of wax, then filling a box around it with a hardening compound.  After several hours, when the compound has set, the form-maker will be able to cut the form case into two pieces, drilling a hole so that he may fill it with liquid clay in the future.  The wax form is removed and any deformities in the form are smoothed and corrected.  The form-maker may take several turns at this, as samples are made from the form and the shape is perfected.

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Next, a clay-worker fills the form with liquid clay, waits several hours for it to set, carefully removes the form, and skillfully cuts away any excess clay from the formed piece.  This artisan is trained to also smooth the surface with a damp sponge so that no imperfections or bumps exist and the piece sits correctly or is flush with a table top or wall, for instance.  The clay is then left to dry to room temperature before firing.  After the piece is baked once at a constant 850 degrees in a firing kiln, it hardens to stone and previously dull clay brightens to a white “bisque.”

Plain white bisque is then filled with color by classically trained artists who, with extreme precision and flair, transfer their original designs to this medium.  Each piece sits upon a turntable in front of the artist, while the artist stamps or paints a design in repeating fashion, slowly spinning the piece in a circular motion.  This method helps the artist maintain uniformity from one piece to the next, but the artist’s own hand is ultimately responsible for the beauty of each piece as he or she follows and replicates an original pattern.  This process can take several hours, depending on the size of the piece.  Whether hand-stamping or painting, the painter uses unbelievable skill in keeping the design clean — using multiple colors, sponges, and brushes — and avoiding smudges and pattern imperfections.

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Next, painted pieces of Polish pottery are hand-dipped in a clear glaze and placed on a rack for firing a second time in higher temperature of 1250 degrees.  After the piece is fired, the paint colors become vibrant and the design is more prominent.  When the pieces have cooled after some time, they are quality checked to single out those pieces with glaze irregularities or that need to be corrected and sent back through the last two steps.

Quality checking, the final step, is actually something that the artisans do throughout the entire process as they’re working, and again a couple times at the end.  Because each piece is handmade, small variations will occur making each piece unique; however, every step of the process is geared toward creating a quality, standardized product and replicating the same beautiful nature of each piece is the artisans highest priority.  Each final product is given a specific quality label, and most retail stores will only sell Quality 1, the highest quality.  Quality 2 and below stoneware can be found in several manufacturer’s retail outlets.

Did you have any idea so many hands were involved in making your one piece of Polish pottery?  Have you ever compared Quality 1 to Quality 2 Polish stoneware, and could you tell the difference?

What is Unikat Polish Pottery?

In Polish, the word for unique is Unikat

Polish Pottery Stoneware PLATE

Often, our customers will navigate through the website and then find a piece that is marked as Unikat, which is located on the bottom of the Polish pottery piece. This is where the manufacturer will normally stamp their logo. The manufacturer logo stamp will indicate that the pottery piece is hand made in Poland. The Unikat pattern may or may not have the artist signature on the bottom, but a Unikat piece will always be stamped with “UNIKAT” on the Polish pottery.

Polish Pottery Stoneware PIE DISH FLUTED

Distinctively designed, Unikat pottery has sophisticated details that define the pattern’s own uniqueness. This distinguishes each Polish pottery piece as an individual to its counterparts. No piece of Polish pottery will ever be exactly the same.

Polish Pottery Stoneware BUBBLE MUG

Our Polish pottery is hand-made and hand-painted. Therefore, all pieces are personalized by an artist and are all very special and unique in their own pattern design. However, a Unikat piece is hand-made and hand-painted by an exceptionally skilled artist.
Unikat artists immerse themselves in intense training and have spent years practicing their own techniques to individualize the definitive Unikat patterns.

Polish Pottery Stoneware PLATE

A Unikat Polish pottery piece is remarkably breathtaking, considering the time and effort that an artist takes to make the piece. Using a variety of six to eight paint colors and including fine details, each one is unique.
Popular with collectors of Polish pottery, Unikat pieces are normally purchased as display items. However, as the popularity of these unique designs is slowly expanding, more than just collectors are now purchasing the pieces.