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Our Story

Janelle Imports opened for business in 2003, but our story began much earlier...

Our pottery originated as folk art in Silesia region of central Europe, now part of southwestern Poland. The history of pottery making in this ancient region of Europe dates back to the seventh century. Today, in the small village of Boleslawiec, Poland this time-honored tradition artistically crafted pottery continues.  Janelle Imports is especially connected to the tradition of artistically crafted Polish pottery and to Bolesławiec, as it is the birthplace of Elle Łoś-Englander, president and founder of Janelle Imports.

Elle Łoś-Englander

Elle and her family lived in Bolesławiec until she was 16 years old. Her parents worked for a combined 25 years at Bolesławiec's largest and oldest pottery factory. Elle’s father was a staunch opponent of the Communist regime that controlled Poland at the time. In December of 1982, as a result of intense pressure from the Communists, Elle’s family was forced to leave Poland. They found their new home in the United States of America, and initiated contact with family and friends still in Poland after the Communist regime collapsed in 1989.

At Janelle Imports, our mission is to provide American consumer with world’s largest inventory of authentic, artistic Polish pottery, while supporting economy of Bolesławiec, Poland, thus preserving this beautiful, old world hand craft for generations to come.

 

Elle Łoś-Englander  
President, Janelle Imports, LLC

BENEFITS OF STONEWARE

Polish Stoneware is safe to use in the oven, microwave, and dishwasher, and is generally more resistant to heat than its metallic counterparts. However, please avoid extreme and sudden temperature changes (e.g., broiler, immediate refrigerator to oven, or oven to cold surfaces such as granite countertops, or cold water). When used in the oven, our Polish stoneware provides an even heat distribution while retaining moisture. Due to clay’s natural tendencies, all foods stored in our Polish stoneware will remain freshness for extended periods of time. The hard glaze finish makes cleaning your Polish stoneware easy.

HISTORY

Polish stoneware, also known as Polish pottery, first appeared around 600 AD in Silesia, a historically disputed region of Europe. It originated as basic ceramics and evolved into its modern artistic form in the late eighteenth century. Early pioneers in the art of Polish pottery making were inspired by the peacock, and that tradition has been retained into modern times. Today, in the small village of Boleslawiec, Poland, this time-honored tradition of artistically crafted stoneware continues. Each of our pieces is shipped with a certificate of authenticity.

AN INSIDE LOOK AT OUR PROCESS

We use time-honored techniques to create our beautiful and durable stoneware. Here’s a glimpse into how one of our pieces is made. It all starts with clay indigenous to the Silesia region of Central Europe.

CLAY PROCESSING

Polish stoneware is truly beautiful and highly durable. It is crafted out of clay indigenous to the region. Only natural and ecological materials are used throughout the entire production process and as such Polish stoneware is both cadmium and lead free.

Clay is removed from pallets and run through our pug mill. Pugging the clay removes air and provides the dense, consistent mix required for quality. Scrap clay from the forming process is mixed in with the new clay to eliminate as much waste as possible.

JIGGERING

A custom mold is placed on the wheel, along with the clay slab. With the wheel spinning, the jigger operator applies pressure with a hand-made blade, cutting away the excess clay. The top surface of the plate is then handfinished with a sponge. The plate dries for 30 minutes to an hour, after which it is flipped onto a wooden board.

TRIMMING

Once the plate is leather hard, i.e. stiff enough to handle but still slightly flexible, we trim the rim on the wheel, resulting in a smooth edge, which is a key contributor to the plate’s durability.

DECORATING

Each piece of stoneware is handcrafted and hand decorated by artisans, using small sea sponges to apply unique stamping patterns. Decorations and patterns come in wide variety of designs, ranging from traditional to signature. Traditional patterns exhibit strong and vibrant colors of cobalt blue, forest green, and reddish browns. Signature patterns are created by master artists and are truly unique; they reflect the artist’s original, individual expression. All colors and designs are crafted to complement and enhance each other. We invite you to enjoy the fun process of searching for the perfect combination!

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GLAZING

Once the hand stamping is complete, the pieces are dipped in to our signature glaze. The items are hand dipped to ensure optimal density and application thickness.

FIRING

Once the piece is completely dry (typically 12 to 24 hours after trimming), it is put it through the firing kiln. Due to the special glaze and very high firing temperatures used during production (in excess of 1250 degrees Celsius/2282 Fahrenheit) Polish stneware is extremely durable and highly resistant to chipping and scratching.

Thank you!

We Hope You Will Enjoy Our Polish Stoneware As Much As We Do!

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