Wednesday, February 24, 2010
I bought these two beautiful beads in Seattle in January, at a lovely shop in the Pike Place Market owned by Slawomir Trabaczynski called Polish Pottery Place. I'd been looking for a string of small sandalwood beads to make a necklace like the beautiful one Slawomir had around her neck when she sold these to me, but wasn't having any luck locating them online or in the shops (malas, yes, but I don't want to undo a mala). And then the other day while I was visiting Janine in her studio she showed me these (sandalwood? cedar?) beads she uses as buffers when she's making glass beads. She generously offered them to me and I accepted, thinking how nice it would be to have something to remind me of her.
This type of ceramic originated in the Middle Ages around Boleslawiec, a small town in south-western Poland. Today it is produced both there and in Wloclawek. The designs are traditionally dotty (mimicking a peacock's tail) or floral, and feature a lot of cobalt blue and rich brown. They're gorgeously exuberant. The teapots and soup terrines are GIANT, with handles on both sides (of the teapots!) I picture a table crowded with 10 kids eating borscht.
The precision demonstrated in these beads is in the application of the blue glaze, which is painted onto the white clay rather than the dots being applied onto a surface of blue.