This post is a little bit about my home decorating, but mostly about a talented Polish artisan. I still remember the first time I ever saw any of her work. It's sort of funny, but we were visiting the Japanese Cultural Center here in Krakow, and in their gift shop I found a few little trays. The outer part was made of clay or stone, and the base was made of melted glass. I thought they were extremely pretty, in a rough sort of way. This was back when I was in the stage of trying to figure out what kinds of things I liked.
Sometime later, probably during one of the fairs that are held in the main square, I was pleased to find a whole booth selling items similar to the one I had seen at the museum. They are made of clay and fired, but the clay has some kind of sand or cement added to it for a rougher texture. The pieces are tinted slightly in different colors. I discovered that all of the work is done by one artist, a woman, who impresses her work with the label Arte Prima. My family knows I love this stuff, and I have been given some very nice pieces as gifts over the years, including the clock at the top and the big oval tray.
Some of her work is made with the melted glass, often with multiple colors that have melted and blended together. Her other "special" feature involves impressing the images of leaves or flowers into the clay before it is fired. She used real leaves, flowers, weeds, and grasses for this.
One of the most interesting things she does is a large bowl in the shape of a cabbage leaf (sorry, no picture). She makes trays, candle holders, clocks, trivets, trinket boxes, and vases, as well as some smaller things meant to be decorations on the wall. I have quite a few of her things in my house, and I suspect I will continue to add to the collection as long as I live in Poland. I really love these Arte Prima pieces.
I have a matched pair of "vases" on my desk that I use as both pencil holders and bookends. Most of my pieces are green, my favorite color.
I'm quite sorry that this artist does not have a website. She told me that she does not sell any of her work outside of Poland, but I think she must do fairly well within it. Her studio is here in Krakow, and she always has a booth at every fair--not just just the craft fair in August, but also at the Christmas and Easter fairs. I rarely fail to pick up something at those times. My daughters have grown attached to her style as well, and both of them like to receive her trinket boxes as gifts. I should add that none of these are at all expensive, but they are heavy.
This is my last post with pictures from the craft fair, so I guess it is finally over!