While it is wise to try to avoid bad events, sometimes it’s impossible to get out of their way. But here’s a twist. Bad events can turn out to include positives. I think of that as the Cmielow Paradox. Let me explain why.
A few months ago, without warning, we learned that the workshop in Poland that produces most of our Calamityware porcelain was closing. This news took us by surprise. After more than 200 years of rambunctious Polish history, the venerable Kristoff factory was no more. The main reason was their inability to get supplies of natural gas for their kilns because of Uncle Putin’s war with Ukraine. But there may have been some other factors they didn’t share with us. Anyway, they had sent the workers home, closed the workshop, and were in the process of selling off tools and equipment.
This sounded like pure, 100 percent bad news. But in many ways, this turned out to be good news.
1. We were introduced to Cmielow, another Polish porcelain workshop just down the road from Kristoff. They have an even longer history and all the capabilities we need. Cmielow traces its beginnings to 1790 with the first major workshop opening in 1804.They have long-term natural gas contracts and skilled decorators eager to help us make more Calamityware. Because of a recent factory upgrade, Cmielow has lots of amazing, new, high-tech, German equipment for pressing, casting, and firing.
2. Cmielow can make most of the shapes we love and they were able to obtain some of the unique Kristoff molds so we can continue making our teapots and special items with no changes.
3. The change of workshops gives me an excellent excuse to discontinue some old Calamityware designs and replace them with new designs. I’ve been intrigued by the notion of a new set of small plates and shallow bowls to replace the Now What? Series. I recently completed eight new designs I call the Vexations Series.
And I’m working on a new bowl design with a Things-Could-Be-Worse landscape on the inside of the bowl. There’s talk of additional dinner plates. What fun.
4. Our TCBW mugs will continue. But Cmielow can provide us with a slightly different handle that I find more comfortable. And as a bonus, it offers more surface area for the attachment of the handles to the mugs.
5. Because we have our design transfers printed in Italy with special vitreous pigments, we know that image quality and color will continue unchanged. And we recently discovered that the special combination of clay, feldspar, and kaolin that Kristoff was using to make their porcelain was being supplied to them by their neighbors at Cmielow. So, even the whites of our porcelain will remain unchanged.
Summary. Bad things happen. But sometimes they aren’t as bad as one initially thinks. In fact, you may discover that bad news is good news. That’s the Cmielow Paradox.