Zaklady Ceramiczne is one of the largest manufacturers of hand-crafted and hand-decorated tableware pottery, using a time-honored stamping technique. Products are renowned for their beautiful hand-finish, original style and high practicality. Their unique design, drawing from a several-hundred-year tradition of Polish, Czech and German pottery making, is a distinct stylistic canon, known in German as Bunzlauer Geschirr.
The company's history of manufacturing pottery dates back to the 14th century when a layer of ceramic clay was uncovered in the vicinity of Bolesławiec. Potters and ceramicists were able to transform their discovery into elegant, applied works of art. The products manufactured by masters in Bolesławiec grew in popularity and, by the 19th century, there were 15 large pottery manufacturers supplying products all across Europe.
Zaklady's "stamping" technique for decorating pottery was highly recognized — patterns in the form of twigs, flowers, birds and other graphic elements were applied to vessels manually with specially prepared stamps. The resulting hand-decorated line of table and kitchenware offers a unique alternative to mass produced products.
A vast majority of tableware is hand-cast in gypsum molds, while the garden and utility stoneware is formed on potter's wheels. They have been able to create a wide range of products in each product group, capable of satisfying varied tastes of their customers. Unmatched by automated production processes, Zaklady's pattern line is constantly enriched with new, handsome forms.
Supporting the Arts
An active patron of the arts, Zaklady actively assists "Ceramic-and-Sculptural Outdoor Events", an international artistic arrangement boasting a 40-year tradition — the oldest among its kind in Poland.
Zakłady Ceramiczne strives for manufacturing top quality stoneware products marrying functionally sound forms with original design. In keeping with the company's vision and strategy, quality control is consistently implemented through the management systems, with the involvement from every employees. As a result of this rigorous process, older Bolesławiec ceramics patterns have endured in many households — an integral part of the Silesian culture, the dishes have a great sentimental value to Poles and Germans equally.
Though steeped in tradition, contemporary Bolesławiec ceramics have been creatively refined by designers and adjusted to the requirements of modern cuisine, taking into account vessels typical of the different regions of Europe.
The rise of ceramic craft in Bolesławiec dates back to medieval times. In the 18th century, ceramics made in this area started to flourish with the introduction of a new decorating method featuring a brown glaze and white patterns. This transformation increased the demand for Bolesławiec ceramics making them a highly desired commodity throughout Europe, including among royal courts.
In the second half of the 19th century, faience gained popularity in the European market. Incorporating new materials, potters started using colorful, stamped ornaments against a white background to make their products more varied and attractive.
By the end of 19th century, a ceramic school was founded in Bolesławiec. Today, artists and designers come from The Academy of Fine Arts in Wrocław , continually giving a new face to Bolesławiec ceramics.
From this rebirth of traditional pottery,"Artistic Ceramics" or "Ceramika" was born in 1950. Ceramika set out to produce sophisticated, world-recognized patterns that combine time-honored, traditional forms with the advances of modern applied art. Today, the co-op produces 600 forms and 2,500 ornamental patterns — a strong indicator for the company's potential.
Decorating the Pottery
Pottery is manually decorated with the traditional stamp method (tiny patterns are manually painted with special sponge made stamps and paint brushes) with the use of eco-friendly glazes and environment friendly paints (which do not contain cadmium or lead). Motifs range from circles, dots, scales or "peacock's eye" to irregular patterns in countless varieties.
Today's dominant colors are mostly cobalt blue, brown, green, and yellow dyes which are the most resistant to high fire temperature. A diverse assortment of forms makes pottery fit perfectly into various interiors.
The artistic value of the pottery is matched by the superior quality which has brought Ceramika many prestigious awards, medals and recognitions at national and international levels. Accolades include: "Teraz Polska" Warsaw 1993, Gold Star, Madrid 1996, Excellent Polish Exporter, Warsaw 1999, "The most exquisite wedding table" Ambiente fair 1999 Frank¬furt am Main, Eurolider 1999, Warsaw 2000, Ultimate Quality, New York 2000.
Ceramika exports 90% of its products to 25 countries worldwide, nearly 50% of which hits the American market. Successful exhibitions and fairs in Paris, Berlin, Amsterdam, Copenhagen, Frankfurt am Main, New York, Tokyo and the ongoing development of advertising and promotion activities (including cooperation with Robert Redford's SUNDANCE catalog) account for the co-op's progress. Coupled with competence in fulfilling any order with a guarantee of quality and outstanding artistic value, Ceramika remains at the forefront of the Polish Pottery industry.
In 2003, Ewa Walczak's turned her passion and love for regional products into a business in her hometown of Boleslawiec, Poland. From this inspired venture Ceramika Artystyczna Vena, a family company, was born.
In the years to follow, the company located to the historical Brzeg-Legnica Duchy ruled by the Piast dynasty. Stretching from Boleslawiec, through Legnica, Wroclaw, to Brzeg, the area boasted a strong support of making traditional ceramic products, whose beginnings dated back to the 15th century.
Making the Pottery
All pieces are formed and decorated manually using a stamp method as well as brush painting. After the pottery is formed and dried it undergoes preliminary firing at 850°C. The resulting biscuit products are painted with ceramic paint and then glazed and fired at 1250°C. Decorations incorporate an underglaze method, preventing designs from rubbing-off and protecting them from damage.
The high firing temperature not only gives products their beautiful, shiny glaze but makes them durable as well. The products can be used for oven baking and they are dishwasher and microwave safe. They also tolerate low temperatures very well, which makes them suitable for storing food in refrigerators and freezers.
Since the company was established, it has balanced a rich tradition of pottery-making while introducing contemporary styles. New motifs, created by the owner herself, have won recognition among both Polish and foreign customers and the regional handicraft nature of Vena's products has been confirmed by certificates from the Warsaw National Artistic and Ethnographic Commission.
Vena's celebrates creating quality, functional products of high artistic value. All patterns and decorations are created with attention to the traditional character of Boleslawiec ceramic products and the careful introduction of new styles and colors. The result is a collection that boasts a wide selection of original and unique decorations.
WR CERAMIKA S.C. J.K. Rutyna is a workshop with over 35 years of experience in the ceramic industry (since 1978). Today the company specializes in production of tableware, tea and coffee sets, vases, mugs and other types of ceramic pottery.
Their products are hand painted in unique flowery patterns. Thanks to high durability of our product they can be used in microwave, oven, dishwasher, and freezer.
At present almost all of their production is exported to the USA, Germany, England and Italy. Keeping in mind that the quality of the factories products is a key factor in their company's reputation, they continually strive to improve the quality of products at each stage of the production cycle.
For over 20 years, the "Manufaktura" Sp. J. Smoleński & Zwierz Stone Pottery Factory in Bolesławiec has promoted Bolesławiec pottery round the world. Manual manufacturing based on a traditional technology on the one hand and openness to new decorative elements and co-operation with artists on the other hand make "Manufaktura"a trend-setter viewed as one of the most important producers of Bolesławiec pottery.
The pottery - created by hand - fully matches environmentally friendly trends. They do not use any chemicals in the manufacturing process; also the paints used for ornamentation are not harmful to the environment. Certificates approving the use of this pottery in contact with food are available. In addition, the pottery is also suitable for use in the oven, microwave, and dishwasher.