Bad News = Good News

Bad things happen every day.

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.

Don—Pittsburgh, August 24, 2023

26 Responses


January 22, 2024

Praise the Gods that our supply of monsters and mayhem will continue !

Cathie D

January 22, 2024

OMG! I want the “Texas” series so bad, ha ha!!!

sylvia goodale

January 15, 2024

I received a wonderful set of 3 Beast Bowls from my son and his family, for my birthday. They introduced me to Calamityware about a year ago, and I fell in love. I was puzzled that the Beast Bowls were made in China, as I thought there had just been a change of factories in Poland. We have family in Poland and feel a connection to your efforts to keep these wonderful old facilities going. Please tell me that your productions in Poland will remain.


January 15, 2024

Totally agree with Jenn. Would LOVE to see flat-bottom pasta bowls. I asked about this many years ago, but they were not produced by Kristoff. Maybe Cmielow does? Having said that, I just received my new shallow bowls and they will tide me over very well until a pasta bowl is possible. So happy!


October 09, 2023

Flat bottom Pasta bowls and large Ramen noodle bowls would be a most welcome addition to my table. Exploding teddy bear needs more shapes!

Debby Hallyburton

September 06, 2023

Hurray Happy Tragedy!
More red stuff please? Kindly knitting fanged spiders? Google eyed raccoon-ies ( my dogs hate them). So many opportunities! Bwahahaha!

Tabitha Olson

September 04, 2023

I had a minor panic moment when I read your news!! So glad it worked out. You guys make the best stuff. Question: have you considered making pasta bowls? Like, really big ones without a rim around the edge? I have teenage boys that could eat what fits in your creature bowls, but it seems…rude to put those in their spots at the dinner table. But pasta bowls would be perfect!

Lucie Edwards

September 04, 2023

Fuzzy the merciless is genius. Right up there with zombie poodles.

Jean Quijano

September 01, 2023

My heart dropped when I first saw the bad news. Then I picked it up and put it back where it belonged when I continued reading. I am hoping to restart it when I peruse all your new offerings. Happy all is well!

Corlis Robe

September 01, 2023

I wonder if Cmielow could make a lamp base… or a clock…


September 01, 2023

Sorry to hear you’re to discontinue some of the earlier designs.

Uncle Putin, doing Uncle Ernie one better.


September 01, 2023

Sheryl SoRelle had me laughing all afternoon. Also from Texas, we want all of those! I am imagining killer attack sombreros. With eyes.


September 01, 2023

Our whole family is relieved that you are continuing to make Calamityware! What a close Calamity! I’ll be buying.


September 01, 2023

Such good news! So happy to read the colors will be the same! Can’t wait for the new designs.

Kathy Vrbas

September 01, 2023

I love this post and I love your designs and company. Thank you for the real-time positivity—affirmation of TCBW!💕

Linelle Zimmer

September 01, 2023

Wow! Just like losing the Sugar Bowl only to discover you’re the TEAM for winning the Super Bowl! That is great you have found a new supplier because all my best porcelain come from Poland. So glad for you and now I just need 200 business cards so I can pass them out to fans who see the T-Shirt when wearing it.

Pam Whiting

September 01, 2023

The dilemma: I want the small plates, but prefer the designs on the shallow bowls. Any future chance that the small plates will magically appear with the other designs?

Maggie Nowakowska

September 01, 2023

Oh my! Such news to get — and so glad to hear about the new workshop. I am glad to have gotten the Kristoff big bowls this summer and will be ordering the Cmielow small bowls quickly.

Sto Lat!

Leslie Sexton

September 01, 2023

Sooo glad you were able to find another porcelain supplier with an equally distinctive history. I do love your stuff. A friend used my coffee cup and brought it home with. I didn’t get it back for a few weeks. She lives next door. I may have to gift her with a pair. 🤣🤣 I’m looking for some entree plates I like…hint hint. LOVE your stuff!

Sheryl SoRelle

September 01, 2023

I’ve backed the new bowls on Kickstarter, mainly because one of them features armadillos. They are the state animal of Texas. I think a series of Texas Tragedies would be cool. The armadillos, bats from under the bridge in Austin, cactus monsters from Big Bend and killer sombreros from the Valley.
On another note, my sister loves the travel mug I gave her for Christmas two years ago.

Dee Vee

September 01, 2023

Re Uncle Putin: Not all uncles are nice ones as many nieces & nephews have found out the hard way.


September 01, 2023

Dear Albert,
Re: the reference to Uncle Putin, I believe this refers to CREEPY Uncle Putin. There are different sorts of uncles. Putin is beyond creepy.


September 01, 2023

I freaked out for a minute! So glad you were able to quickly find a new vendor! We absolutely love our calamityware and will continue adding to our collection :)

Juliana Navarro

September 01, 2023

So glad to hear that Calamity Ware will not become calamitous and will continue on. Love your products as have those in my family who have received some of them as gifts. Wishing you much success and longevity in your business and artistic endeavors!

Albert Gebhart

August 30, 2023

In you latest email about the factory closing in Poland, you refer to Putin as Uncle Putin. He is a doctor and murderer and does not deserve the friendly term Uncle.

Judy volloy

August 30, 2023

Dear “Normal People”,
Thanks for the bad/ good news! Would it be possible to darken the blue you use so your wares match the color in Blue Willow ware?
And …how is the new business partners name pronounced? I assume the
is silent. BTW I love the items I’ve purchased. It would be fab to have egg
coddles ( the c is not silent), covered in spiders. Keep on creating – it is a way to live forever. Love all ya.

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