Not quite, but a road trip to Nijkerk can fill your fix for Polish Pottery. What is Polish Pottery? That was the same thing I asked about nine months ago when said pottery was placed on the table proudly displaying some cheese and crackers.
“Ohhhhh, I love that pattern! I want that piece for my Polish Pottery collection too.”, I heard.
Uh-oh…not only is our house sans Polish Pottery, but I don’t even know what it is. Dare I ask my new found ex-pat girlfriends? At the time, I was the “new-kid-in-the-country” and trying my best to assimilate with both the Dutch locals and US ex-pats. Might I not be asked to host an afternoon of Mah Jongg if I didn’t posses Polish Pottery, I wondered? Fortunately the girls were happy (G not so happy) to introduce me to the world of Polish Pottery.
Polish Pottery is the famous hand-made pottery from the small town of Boleslawiec, located in the southwest of Poland. It’s made from stoneware clay that is locally harvested, only sold to the Polish Pottery factories and fires white. The pottery is heavy duty, lead-free, and oven/dishwasher/freezer/microwave-safe. But most importantly, fun colors and beautiful patterns!
I had no idea this pottery dated back hundreds of years. Here’s a bit of history courtesy of the Zaklady Ceramiczne “Boleslawiec” factory:
The present high standing of Boleslawiec Ceramics stems from seven centuries of work by local craftsmen and artists of pottery. The oldest pieces of Boleslawiec pottery that are still in existence, date back to the first half of the 16th century and bear distinctive features of the Renaissance style. The technique of decorating underneath the glaze began with the age of Baroque.
Growing popularity of Boleslawiec Ceramics stimulated demand which in turn led to the growing number of manufacturers set up to produce pottery. The punch technique remained the basic decorative technique. Rising fame of original Boleslawiec Ceramics, which differed in style from china and yet was considered equally refined, made it possible to increase the volumes of production and, consequently, in the middle of the 19th century, Boleslawiec became the center of the ceramic industry in central Europe.
In Nijkerk, there is a distributor open on various Fridays. My first trip in May was unbelievably overwhelming. Shelves are stacked to the ceiling and endless rows to sift through. I didn’t know where to start and in the back of my head I heard G saying “you realize there is only so much kitchen space when we move back to NYC”. I think I actually walked around for an hour before I even picked a piece up. I finally left with 2 mugs, a small oval casserole, and 2 serving bowls for less than 100E. The hardest part was picking a pattern(s), then finding the pieces you want in that pattern(s). I guess this something similar to what my friend’s went through when doing bridal registries…it’s quite fun, but very overwhelming.
As of today, I now have three trips under my belt, but still keep purchases to a minimum as we “don’t know where we will put it when we are back in NYC”. And with Nijkerk ~65km away, my stick-shift driving skills are getting much needed practice.