Halloween-themed Polish pottery combines two October themes: Halloween and Polish Pottery Month.

The Halloween items are less common, but you may have Polish mugs, teapots, plates, casserole dishes or other items. Some folks mix these pieces with Fiestaware, Mexican Old World pottery or other colorful pottery. Keep in mind, however, that Mexican pottery has cobalt in it and cannot be used for food, but no lead is in Polish pottery.

Prices vary, depending on where you purchase your pieces, whether direct from the Polish factory, online from sites like Pacific Polish Pottery, or through Facebook. My Polish pottery came from Magnolias (a former gift shop in Winona) and the Winona Polish museum gift shop.

This pottery started as local folk art a few hundred years ago in the German province of Silesia, known at that time as the German town of Bunzlau and today as the Polish city of Boleslawiec.

The first known pieces of “Bunzlauer” stoneware were made by hand and decorated with a folk-art stamping technique using potatoes. The original designs were most often inspired by the peacock feather, using cobalt blue, sage green and ferrous red. These designs and colors are still part of today’s patterns.

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Skilled Polish artists still individually hand-craft and hand-decorate each piece using small sponges to stamp each pattern and color along with brushes. The stoneware is made from white clay native to Boleslawiec. Molds and pottery wheels are used for pieces. Decorations and glaze are applied, then the pottery is twice fired at high temperatures. The largest factories are Zaklady, Vena and Ceramika.

If you've ever turned over a piece of Polish pottery, you've probably noticed that each piece has a different stamp or signature on it from the highest-regarded Polish pottery factory, Ceramika Artystyczna, or CA for short.

CA is world renowned for its artistry and quality. CA pottery is exceptionally high quality, and pieces that have been used for 15 years can display as new. Cracking and crazing are extraordinarily rare in top-quality pieces.

Polish pottery collectors

Mandi Beach, of Pickwick: “I have a teapot and bowl that are just for decoration from the Polish museum in Winona. I went with my grandma probably about 20 years ago, and I have a Polish coffee mug that I actually use.”

Terri McManemy, of Winona: “All the plates, saucers, bowls, cookware and serving pieces I use every day are Polish pottery! ... Some were gifts, some I sent for, some I purchased at a cranberry festival from a Polmedia Polish pottery booth. I found some at T.J. Maxx 10-12 years ago.”

Kim Birnbaum Low, of Dresbach: “My hanging plate I purchased at Tuesday Morning in Texas. A few other pieces in the orange were gifts, and my mug and baking dish I purchased on Marketplace. I know I have a few more, but they must be hiding ... gifts that came directly from Poland.”

Sandy Erdman is a Winona-based freelance writer and certified appraiser concentrating on vintage, antique and collectible items. Send comments and story suggestions to Sandy at life@postbulletin.com.