One of the first things I talk to people about when I take them Polish pottery shopping for the first time is the difference in Polish pottery categories.
NO, not all pottery pieces are created equally!
Each Polish pottery piece is categorized into between 1 and 5. Many stores put labels on them like this that clearly say what category or quality it is.
This is from Artystyczna. Their labels are different colors so it makes a easier to spot. Also on the upper right hand corner you see the #4 which tells me it is a category 4 piece.
Not all stores label them especially the smaller family run ones. The smaller ones like Andar’s do not label their’s because they only sell category 1′s and their 2′s are marked down and in different area. They do not sell category 3-5.
The bigger stores like Manufactura sells 1-5 categories but typically 3-5 categories are in another area of the store not mixed in with the 1′s & 2′s.
So what are the differences in the categories?
“Category 1″ is the best quality; there aren’t any defects in the painting or in the pottery. These are safe to use in the microwave, stove and dishwasher.
“Category 2″ pottery may have a stray brush stroke or stamp out of place. The pottery is defective free. These are safe to use in the microwave, stove and dishwasher.
“Category 3″ may have a crack in the glaze, may a have an air bubble in pottery. These pieces should not be used in the microwave, stove and dishwasher as the bubble may burst with the heat or if cracked water maybe soaked into the pottery.
“Category 4″ may have a small chip or crack in the pottery. These pieces should not be used in the microwave, stove and dishwasher.
“Category 5″ will have major cracks or chips. These pieces should not be used in the microwave, stove and dishwasher.
Here are a few pictures for you to visualize the difference in the categories as well see the price differences between the categories. The lower the category the price gets lower as well.
This unique platter is a category 4. Why? Because they normally don’t do this pattern as it made for a specific store but this was an extra piece they had, so to get rid of it they marked it a category 4. One of shopping buddies is a HUGE beach person so she was all over this platter! Because it was a category 4 the price was only 65.31 zloty ($22)!
This dish too is a category 4. Why? Just like the first one they made these special order for store and for whatever reason they had 30+ of these to get rid of. So to get rid of them faster they marked them a category 4. There was nothing wrong with them, just that they wanted to get rid of them fast. They were priced for 89 zloty ($30) at Artistica so I had to get one because in the US this piece would be about 600 zloty($200)
This Thanksgiving plate would be considered a category 3 because there is a very small glaze defect but for 50% off, I will take it. It is not like I am going to be cooking or baking on it.
This is one of my favorite purchases for the day! I paid 66 zloty ($21.70)for this big serving bowl that is category 4 piece because their was a slight crack on the rim. I am not going to be baking in it so instead of 120 zloty ($39.50) for a perfect one this will make a perfect serving bowl. I will just have to wash it by hand instead of putting in the dishwasher but then again that is kids are for right?
Here is the small crack on the bowl.
Here is another one of my finds for the day that I was excited to get! This big serving bowl was only 54 zloty($17.75). This was considered a category 2 because of…
This tiny little crack. Yes it is that small you can hardly see it.
I got this pumpkin at the WR store. It is normally 175 zloty ($57.75) but was reduced to 87 zloty ($28.60). This is considered a category 5 because of…
This is the big crack that was in the nose area. Once again where I put them in my house the crack will not be that noticeable and one of my shopping buddies made a joke about the crack so then after that I just had to add it to my Halloween decoration pile.
I REALLY like this star plate from WR store that I got. I do not have a clue what I am going to use it for but I like it. It was marked down 1/2 price to 43 zloty ($14).
Now this plate is a category 4 because of the glaze missing a spot. But yet again I am not cooking or baking on it so that little big does not bother me.
Say “HI” to my new herb kitchen window planter. This was marked down to 42 zloty ($14) because it is considered a category 2. Why? Because it is missing the lid! The category 1′s where about 60 zloty. I wouldn’t have used the lid anyways so this is perfect!
My newest teapot. No, I am not going to use it as a tea pot it is now my newest planter. For 10 zloty ($3.25) it was perfect!
These 2 cracks and the missing lid is the reason why it was considered a category 5, But if you are going to use it for a planter, you don’t need a lid and the plant is still going to grow with or without cracks.
I don’t have a clue what I am going to use this for but I am thinking some sort of office supply holder on my desk or a cactus plant. This was in the 5 zloty ($1.60) basket at Henry’s because this too was missing a lid and had a tiny crack on top. If it was a category 1 the price would have been 34.30 zloty ($10.25).
Want to know what my cereal/ice cream bowls look like? Here is one of the patterns. I got my bowls from Andy’s this trip and this bowl is a category 2 because you see the slightly bigger blue line? Yep, nothing physical wrong with it just a minor paint blemish. I paid 20 zloty ($6.50) for this bowl. I category 1 bowls in this pattern were 26 zloty ($8.55).
This was one of my best purchases for the day! I love tulips and I love Polish pottery so this was PERFECT! This casserole bowl was 90.41 zloty ($30). This was marked down to a category 2 because it is a pattern they are no longer making.
I got chip and dip bowl for a gift for 57.32 zloty ($17.50). I am not sure why this was a category 2 as I could not find anything wrong with it!
This was another fun purchase that was 1/2 price 44.25 zloty ($14.55). Not sure why it marked down as I could not find anything wrong with it.
Not like I need anymore serving pieces but for 55.00 zloty($18) I had to get it!! This was marked category 2 for because it was a one of kind of piece that they had. I LOVE IT!!!
Some people swear by only category 1 pieces and others like me it doesn’t matter. My thing is to think outside of the box when looking at 3-5 category pieces. I have use piece for plants, flowers, pencil holders, paper clip holder, candy dishes, tissue holder and such. Yes, when it comes to dinner plates, mugs, casserole dishes, I only get 1′s and 2′s.
So my best pointer when shopping for pottery is to make sure you look at the piece closely as well as to run your fingers over the entire piece to feel for any bubbles. Just because it is labeled one way it may not be correct!
What some unique ways you have used your pottery?