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I was first introduced to it the way I have been introduced to many things: It was standing before me on a cluttered shelf in a local HomeGoods. Yes, I found Boleslawiec pottery at a discounted price in an overstock home decorating store and not—in spite of what my last name might suggest—through some familial heirloom collection or a trip to my ancestral homeland. Still, I loved it immediately.
Bolesławiec pottery is made—understandably—in Bolesławiec, a city in the southwest of Poland that’s also known as Miasto Ceramiki or the “town of ceramics.” The signature stoneware ceramics are typically blue and white and come in varied patterns, with a “Handmade in Poland” stamp on the bottom for authenticity.
That certain combination of cobalt blue with white has the potential to feel a little too traditional for my tastes, but it’s the designs that make this pottery unique—some of them even date back to the 1890s. Florals are tightly knit, leaving little negative space, and peacock-inspired polka dots are positioned in hypnotic circles. All together, it’s perfectly organized chaos.
A handful of factories produce the high-quality pottery (which doesn’t necessarily come cheap, even running a relatively steep price when discounted at HomeGoods), and the bowls, plates, vases, and dinnerware sets they create come in a neat range of styles that are perfect for mixing. For more of a traditionalist, a simple matching set can be a dramatic touch in a dining room. For a maximalist, Bolesławiec can be the perfect key to crafting a mismatched collection of pottery that still manages to look put together.
Personally, I dream of owning a diverse set of Bolesławiec dinnerware far more than I fantasize about getting my own set of high-end, all-white china. Though growing up I connected to my Polish heritage at most through the homemade pierogi on our dining table during Christmas and Easter and the tradition of singing “Sto Lat” on birthdays, embracing a time-honored Polish design in my own home feels particularly special.
I want my space to reflect who I am more than I want to embrace practicality or versatility, and it feels that one of the best ways I can do that is by amassing a pottery collection that comes in vivid blues and soft creams, accented by golden browns and the occasional splash of red. I want peacock feathers and flowers and designs that feel almost—just almost—a little too much. Simply put, no plain white plate is calling my name.
Shop my favorite Bolesławiec pottery below.
The peacock pattern is one of my favorite Bolesławiec designs. This plate displays it in a refined way.
This simpler, hand-painted design is my kind of minimalism (aka, not really minimalism but a nice break from more maximalist options).
Instant hack for making your food look prettier: Put it on a perfectly mesmerizing blue plate.
Just a touch of light green gives this floral option a springtime feel.