The craft of making Polish Pottery at Zakłady Ceramiczne Bolesławiec is a complex one. Tableware is hand-made using only natural clays sourced from the surrounding regions of Bolesławiec. Items are shaped by casting the body in gypsum moulds or by forming individual shapes by means of hand-driven or mechanical potter’s wheels.
Shaping is just the first step in making Polish Pottery. Items are then cleaned with wet sponges in order to obtain a smooth surface and remove any imperfections. Mugs and cups are fitted with handles. Clay is then dried by a natural cycle of partial water evaporation. Once dry, tableware is fired in a kiln for the first time at 1500°F. After firing these pieces are called ‘biscuits’.
After the first firing, the biscuits are ready to be painted. Traditional patterns are painted mostly using stamps in simple geometric patterns like peacock eyes or polka dots. There are also more involved patterns that use a wide variety of stamps and colors in order to create a more artistic design.
The most involving an intricate patterns are created by most experienced and skilled artisans using combination of stamps and brushes or just brushes. They are known as "Signature Unikat" as the item have artist signature on the bottom. Those pieces are most beautiful and can take very long time to finish and they are highly collectable.
Most decorations draw inspiration from the local tradition. However, artists started taking their inspiration from modern world and create more colorful, contemporary decorations, including hand-painted tableware with floral motifs.
At this stage the painted biscuit is very fragile and can be easily damaged, it takes knowledge and experience to handle it properly. The next step is glazing. Raw glaze takes the form of a white liquid, it covers painted biscuit completely and the decoration is invisible under the glazing.
Painted and glazed biscuits are then fired in special purpose-built furnaces called kilns, they reach very high temperatures over 2200°F for around fifteen hours. During this last phase, paints binds with the biscuit, and the colors change from dull and milky to be vibrant and very alive. The glaze becomes clear and turns into a glass like substance that binds to the surface of the biscuit and becomes coat that protects both the stoneware and decorations from damage. At that temperature the biscuit becomes stoneware, and transforms from being fragile, soft and easy to break to be durable and hard as stone.
Clay, paints and glazes used in the creation of Polish Pottery at Zakłady Ceramiczne are naturally sourced, and do not contain any hazardous substances like Cadmium or Lead, making our products safe for use and food handling. They are suitable for cooking food in ovens, microwaves and are dishwasher and freezer safe.