This guest post was provided by Kinga Szydzinska of My Poland. Read more about traditional Polish crafts on the My Poland website!
Polish grey ceramics can be traced back to 1300-500 B.C.
Grey ceramics is the most unique pottery and has the oldest traditions in Poland. Grey pots - in other words dishes manufactured with the use of that technique - appeared on the Polish soil in ancient times. They can be traced by to Luzyce culture (1300-500 B.C.), Celtic times (3rd century B.C.), and Roman times (0-400 A.D.). As you can see - gray ceramics are as old as the famous Greek pots, and equally beautiful - even though they are not as richly ornamented.
Polished ornamental adornments can be found on dishes from Roman times that are identical to contemporary ones. It proves that the gray pots technique has changed only slightly over centuries. Research proves that grey ceramics were popular all over Poland. Gradually, due to the development of glazing ceramics, the ancient technique was pushed out of different Polish regions, remaining solely in eastern Poland. Now, grey pottery is produced solely in one village in Poland.
Pottery workshops in Poland have been cultivating the 18th century traditions of grey pottery using the same adornments and shapes in accordance with traditions passed on from past generations of potters. Every potter his his own pattern and adornments.
The making of grey pots is customarily called "grey pots suffocating." Dishes are rolled on a potter's wheel. Once they are formed, they are adorned. Next, they dry for up to a dozen days. Following, the potter prepares a mixture of ground lead and sand. A pot is covered with this mixture to ensure adequate coating density. Then, dishes are locked in a furnace for 13-14 hours. The burning temperature can reach up to 950 degrees Celcius. Only traditional furnaces can be used for the production of grey pottery, where charcoal is used as fuel. The grey hue is achieved through oxygen reduction from iron compounds contained in clay. The smooth surface and shine is owed to a smoothing process, which involves the grinding of a partly-dried dish with an ordinary flint stone.
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