The Necel Pottery Museum, where history and tradition are still alive
The history of the Kashubian family of Necel from Chmielno dates back almost 120 years. They have been successfully cultivated pottery and ceramics traditions until this day. The picturesque Chmielno, surrounded by tranquil Kashubian lakes, forests, and pastures, is the location of the Necel Pottery Museum. In this place, the unique Kashubian ceramics is manufactured using traditional methods.
Karol Elas-Necel takes pride in telling the story of his ancestors. – Our family’s tradition dates back to the end of the XIX century, when the family’s first potter, Franciszek Necel, settled in Chmielno. My great-great grandfather used seven distinct patterns in his work, which became his symbols. Today, these patterns are copyrighted by our family, and considered characteristic of traditional Kashubian pottery. The symbols are: small and large tulips, Kashubian star, lilac twig, fish scale, Kashubian wreath, and water lily. Though similar, they are not to be confused with embroidery motifs – says Karol Elas-Necel.
The Necel pottery workshop still manufactures all sorts of decorative tableware, including cups, mugs, bowls, plates (this includes very traditional ones, which were used to serve food to farmers in the fields), kettles, pots, and even clocks!
The idea of opening a pottery museum in the Necel workshop was born in the early 1990s. Today, the exhibition is made up from ceramic products manufactured by generations of the Kashubian family. This is not the only attraction of the museum, however. – We want it to be a place in which people can not only learn about history, but experience pottery first hand. This means knowledge and practice. It’s worth noting that our workshop values manual skills: all products are 100% handmade – says Karol Elas-Necel.
This is why, upon visiting the Necel Pottery Museum, visitors have the opportunity to take a peek at the work of potters and artists: painters and ornaments masters, as well as create beautiful pottery by themselves, which makes it a unique experience. This is how, from a piece of clay, a ceramic form is created, which then turns into a decorative utensil. Pottery workshops combined with a museum tour are extremely popular among guests of the museum. The offer includes both organised groups, as well as individuals.
– Creating a single vessel requires patience. Making a proverbial pot using a potter’s wheel takes about 10 minutes, which is a short period of time. Later, however, you need to dry it for a day or two, burn it, glaze it, and then burn it again in our special furnace. After three weeks, the job is done. If the guests wish so, we send them their creations via mail – says Karol Elas-Necel.
There are plenty of different vessels on the shelves being dried and waiting for processing that can be admired. The walls of the museum, on the other hand, are decorated with diplomas and rewards, awarded in recognition for the Necel family’s invaluable contribution to Kashubian tradition, culture, art, and pottery. At the entrance to the museum, there is an 80-years old, foot-powered potter’s wheel used in the past by Leon Necel, the heir of Franciszek Necel’s ceramic tradition.
Ceramics with Necel ornaments is a great idea for a neat Kashubian souvenir. These creations will not only be a unique decoration of any kitchen, but will also prove well in everyday kitchen struggles in every household.
Muzeum i Pracownia Ceramiki Karol Elas Necel
Gryfa Pomorskiego 65, Chmielno
phone.: +48 505 134 524