“All it takes is your first piece, and you’ll get hooked on it,” says Ruthanne Burgard.
Burgard, owner of Out of the Blue Polish Pottery & Gifts, located in the Carmel City Center at 727 Hanover Place, speaks from experience. She discovered the beautiful yet functional pottery produced in Boleslawiec, Poland while living in Germany during the early 2000s. Her initial purchase was a piece of bakeware. She was surprised at how evenly food cooked in it. Plus, it was very durable and easy to clean. Before long she found herself avidly collecting multi-patterned and brightly colored matching pieces such as serving bowls and sets of dinner plates.
Once she and her husband returned to the United States, she wanted to share her love of the Polish stoneware with others. In 2006, she opened a store in Monticello, Illinois. Over the years it drew a number of patrons from Indiana, so Burgard decided to establish a second shop in Carmel.
“I chose Carmel because I just love it,” she says. “It has such a focus on art and design. The response from the community has been great so far. We have people that come in because they already know about Polish pottery. Others wander in without knowing about it and are taken with the beauty of the pottery and all the different designs. They are surprised that it can actually be used for baking.”
Burgard sources the pottery from three different factories in Boleslawiec. Each piece is individually made and then hand-painted with a sponge stamping technique. A special lead-free glaze is applied and then the stoneware is put in a kiln which is heated to more than 2,000 degrees Fahrenheit. The process yields a product that is not only chip resistant but can also be used in the microwave besides being dishwasher safe.
“I use my stoneware pieces every day and they still look the same as they did when I first got them some 15 years ago,” Burgard says.
No two pieces are alike, but they all complement each other. The varied spectrum of colors ranges from blue and white to rich red backgrounds embellished with bright yellow daisies. Customers can find platters, teapots, butter dishes and canisters — just to name a few of the options. The most popular items are the baking dishes or mugs which range in price anywhere from $20 to $50, according to the level of intricacy of the design. There are some traditional patterns which a seasoned collector could identify, but the store also carries some unique, one-of-a-kind signature items, too.
“People don’t just pick one pattern, it looks better when mixed,” Burgard says.
Out of the Blue Pottery & Gifts offers bridal and gift registry services and will ship purchases via standard United States Post Service priority mail rates. The timeless quality of the dishes and accessories makes them a great choice for wedding or landmark occasion gifts.
Out of the Blue Polish Pottery & Gifts is located at 727 Hanover Place, Suite 149 at the Carmel City Center. Give them a call at 317- 853-6349 or visit them online at OutOfTheBluePottery.com for more information.