18 Feb

Polish Pottery

One of the blogs I enjoy reading is “Posie Gets Cozy.” Alicia’s writing tone, and her projects are so friendly and warm it’s no wonder her blog is so incredibly popular. I know Katja and I are very happy with the St. Lucia Doll Kit we bought from the Posie shop.

Recently, Alicia discovered Polish Pottery and extolled it’s virtues. I couldn’t help but share a small bit of the cupboard-full that I have amassed over the last 10 years or so. You see, as an Army wife living in Germany, it’s law that I must buy the stuff. One is pretty much not allowed to bring a meal to a potluck unless it’s presented in Polish Pottery (the upside is — the table always looks coordinated and great!!). It was a lot easier to fill one’s shelves seven years ago before Poland joined the EU and prices went up, but it’s still far more affordable here than in the US.

Polish Pottery Casseroles and Egg Cups

When we were first stationed in Germany everyone was gah-gah over Polish Pottery. We had plain black dishes from the Crate and Barrel outlet and colorful Bauer pottery from the 1940s. Needless to say, the Polish Pottery didn’t play well with these and I limited myself to buying just a few serving pieces (for potlucks, of course) and gifts for friends and family.

That didn’t stop me from jumping in an old SUV with a friend and her friend (and her friend) near-nine months pregnant with Zavi and heading off to the border town of Boleslawiec. Apparently the other ladies knew my penchant for organization and had placed bets on whether or not I had marked the map with all the hospitals between where we lived in Schweinfurt and the last German town, Bautzen. (I didn’t mark the map, but I probably stopped at most of the bathrooms in the shops we visited.) We stopped at Applebee’s in Dresden for dinner on the way home because that’s what all the Americans do.
Polish Pottery Table setting

Hubby and I returned to The States for 10 months and then moved back to Germany. Knowing that we’d most likely be living in a small apartment with an even smaller kitchen and little storage, we left stuff behind — like the Bauer I didn’t want to risk breaking, and 110 powered appliances we couldn’t use without a bulky transformer. We’d only have room for one set of dishes, but needed more than the eight or fewer place settings of the black ones.  In his infinite wisdom, TS&WGH said “How about we just chuck the black dishes and you go to Poland and get whatever we need for the annual Easter, Thanksgiving and Christmas parties we inevitably host.”

This time I jumped in a minivan with several other Polish Pottery shopping veterans. Shopping with vets is the way to go. There’s no hemming and hawing over what to get or not to get, whether to get all the same pattern or to mix and match, or whether the prices will be better in the next shop. We knew what to get where and which shops were a must-see and which we could pass if necessary. This may have been the trip where one lady was shopping for several friends and had a color coded list to guide her. It was definitely the trip where the main driver was making a list of each shop and it’s location (mile mark from the edge of town) for newbies. We visited, and dutifully logged the exact location and nickname of, no less than 23 shops that day in and around Boleslawiec. Applebee’s was now operating under a different name, but the menu was nearly the same. We stopped for a meal of course.
Polish Pottery Cereal Bowls

We’ve since moved further from Poland, the prices have risen, I have two kids to factor into any outing, and I can easily entertain 12 for a sit-down meal, so I haven’t been back to Poland in years. I don’t miss the Applebee’s. I’ve also been privy to the location of the warehouse for one of the vendors that sells high quality pottery at the bazaars on the military posts. I think the warehouse is out in the open now, but five years ago, it was only through word of mouth that you could find them. Their lower prices meant it was cheaper to go there than drive to Poland unless you were in need of a car full of dishes. It’s only an hour away and they not only do they have a bathroom but there’s a good Mexican restaurant nearby. In fact, TS&WGH made a quick stop there on his way home last weekend.

I still don’t have a cheese lady though.

8 thoughts on “Polish Pottery

  1. I love that pottery, but have never purchased any. We should have had Alicia come over when you were here! You would love her in person, I guarantee it.

  2. Like all good Army wives stationed in Germany (well, I was an Air Force wife, but still), I did the Polish pottery thing too. My collection started with a desperation buy of a butter dish; the only butter the Commissary had 13 years ago wouldn’t fit in any of my American butter dishes! I bought a number of pieces to go with that butter dish.

    I soon realized that although I liked the shapes, the creaminess of the background and the weight of it all, I didn’t really like the patterns at all! They looked great on everyone else’s tables and at all those potluck dinners, but they just weren’t for me. I gave it all away to friends and family, and that butter dish is on it’s way out the door as we speak. My moving weight allowance will probably thank me later.

    I love the blue stemware you have with the pottery. And I think you absolutely can’t leave Germany without a cheese lady, dear. For the true collector, it just isn’t done!

  3. I love the Polish pottery. The only piece I have is a trivet and I don’t intend to start collecting–I’m trying to downsize! But I love seeing your collection and Alicia’s. The patterns are very fabric like and I like them best all mixed up, scrap quilt fashion.

  4. I purchased my cheese lady at Cracker Barrel out along the I 80 on my way to North Carolina. Most of my Polish Pottery has been purchased at TJMAXX and I only buy the blue and cream polka dotted ones. No FLOWERS! EVER

    When I lived in Germany we only shopped the Villeroy Boch outlets and the crystal factories. I have tons of that stuff. When a dish broke and needed replacing I was SHOCKED to find a new plate was going to set me back $26 and that was at an outlet. I may have paid $5. Crazy.

    I finally moved all my Polish dishes to the TOP SHELF and we are eating every meal off them. I decided not to SAVE them for special occasions anymore. What I desire are cereal or soup bowls. Wide. Shallow Oh, I would love them.

  5. Oh the memories that have come flooding back of the trips to Poland! I love all my dishes and everyone in the house is terrified of the wrath they may endure if they ever break one, ha! I love all the patterns and bought whatever caught my fancy. Don’t worry, I also came back without the coveted cheese lady!!

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