Pottery vs. Ceramics
The Lowdown on Pottery
One of the biggest misnomers out there is the difference between the terms pottery and ceramics. The truth of the matter is that ceramics is the umbrella term for fired clay. However, many people define ceramics and pottery in their own way. In terms that I have experienced over the last five decades in the art, I give you the following colloquial version.
Ceramics defines anything created by a non-metal material that changes after being heated. Clay and even glaze, which is actually liquefied glass when heated, are the classic examples of ceramics. There are also materials such as silica carbide and zirconium oxide that are used in industrial ceramics for making spaceships, but that’s a different study!
Pottery is technically a type of ceramics that is in “pot” form or a vessel for use. Often the term “pottery” is used to describe anything made with clay that becomes hardened with heat although in its truest definition it must be a piece made for functional use.
In these terms, ceramics usually refers to the fine art of a creation made with clay while pottery refers to the utilitarian forms created for functional use. Therefor a ceramist is a clay artist and a potter is, well, a pot maker.
I call myself a potter. I am an artist who creates art pieces of clay, however my main love is creating pieces that are functional.
As an artist, I love sculpting and find overwhelming joy in making utilitarian pieces that sport an artistic flare. Yes, I am crazy passionate about incorporating design elements into basic functional pieces, something like a mug showing off a frog sporting a tennis racquet or a vase composed of layered pieces impressed by coffee plant leaves formed like they were dancing in the wind. My pieces are whimsical and beautiful but, more importantly to me, made to be used.
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