The American Pottery Experts at Weigh in on How to Differentiate Between Ceramics and Pottery

Ceramics and pottery are not as different as you might imagine, explains Art Pottery.

Although many people use the terms “ceramics” and “pottery” interchangeably, the Newcomb College potterypottery experts at Art Pottery and collectors around the world are aware that there are distinct differences between the two.

Ceramics are items that have been made from materials that permanently change when they are heated. Ceramic materials include clay, glazes, silica carbide, zirconium oxide and more. From an artistic perspective, ceramics is the overarching category that can contain pottery.

Pottery is the term used for containers made from clay. These items may be air-dried or fired in a kiln until they become ceramic pieces. Art pottery pieces have usually been fired at high temperatures, sometimes in direct flame, until they change chemically and become ceramic items.

Over the years, the term ceramics became more associated with kitschy molded figurines than with pottery and many people considered it a low, craft-related art form. Pottery, conversely, became high art and gained significant respect among collectors.

Art Pottery’s American pottery marks identification team has noted that perceptions of the term ceramics are beginning to change, but they do not use the term to describe the pottery they appraise and purchase.

“Ultimately, we feel that the term pottery is the most accurate representation of the vases and other pieces our clientele value and collect,” says Manning Garrett, Owner of Art Pottery. “It immediately brings to mind a general understanding of the pieces we are discussing. People understand the artistic value inherent in pottery, whereas they are just beginning to understand the value of ceramics as a whole.”

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