What is the difference between Pottery and ceramics?

Pottery vs Ceramics

Every one of you is having crockery of different materials in your home, and some of you are also having handmade dishes as well in which You’re sipping teas, eating foods, making meals. But have you ever wondered what material are you using?

Or even if you’re using handmade dishes, you might be thinking, oh they are made out of clay. But somehow it’s a bit confusing for everyone to categorize the handmade dishes in pottery or ceramics.

Therefore, in today’s article, I’m going to distinguish between pottery and ceramics. Moreover, you will be getting to know what they both actually are.

Their meaning, definition, composition, and difference. Thus you will be getting information about the art of pottery and ceramics. And why are they different from each other? So let’s start.

Difference between pottery and ceramics:

Pottery and ceramics play an important part in western and eastern culture for thousands of years and it’s thriving to this day. They both are such unique pieces of crafts and arts done in a wonderful way and with hard work.

What is ceramic and why is it different from pottery?

Firstly, starting from ceramics objects. Ceramics are things made from non-metal material and inorganic compounds that can change their shape totally when they are heated. For instance, clay has a chemical bond with water.

It’s a non-metal material that when heated between 350°C to 800°C, changes its real position. And gets hard and dry as well and will remain in that material and hardness forever.

Objects like bricks, diamonds, and cement, are also categorized as ceramics. Ceramics can be fired at various cone temperatures, depending on the type of clay used and desired effects. Basically, ceramics is such a vast topic to discuss. It is a wonderful art form and it continues to thrive to this very day.

Moreover, glazes are also ceramic materials because during firing them, they perpetually change. A glaze is basically a liquid glass that can give color to the ceramic piece and it can be matte or shiny.

Additionally, another manner of defining ceramic is by evaluating the properties it has. For instance, ceramic is intractable which means it is reliable and can even endure high temperatures. Moreover, It can also overcome pressure and chemicals.

You will notice in your kitchen that some ceramic dishes can be shattered easily. Take an example of a cup. While other ceramics are stronger and unbreakable.

What is pottery and why is it different from ceramic?

Pottery is derived from the word pot which means any container which is used for daily purpose. And that container is made out of clay.

Interestingly, Pottery itself is a type of ceramic. For instance, containers or other art pieces made out of clay are pottery. Pottery art is either done by hand pinching or by rolling the clay.

In everyday use, people describe a clay statuette as ceramic, and the containers or crockery made out of clay are said to be pottery.

While there are three kinds of pottery that are:

  • Stoneware
  • Earthenware
  • Porcelain


It is made of clay that is flamed at a high temperature of 1200°C until it is as hard and compatible as a glass. This process is known as vitrification. Which means to convert the compound into a glass. Or a glass-like material. Additionally, stoneware is a non-porous element and can merely be decorated.


Earthenware is also made of clay which is heated at a low temperature of 1000°C to 1150°C. As it is made, the final product is crusty and harsh. Also, it is porous which means it will absorb water. After it’s resulted, it’s then glazed and lastly, it’s heated for the second time.


Porcelain is very sheer and transparent. It is a very hard white ceramic. For preparing it, granite, some amount of glass, and minerals are all put together and ground up. The White clay is then added and mixed with water till the substance is moldable and flexible. The product which is produced is then heated at a high temperature of 1200°C. It is later glazed, shaped and decorated, and again heated up.

You want to know about the glue for pottery, read this guide.

Frequently asked questions

Is ceramic considered pottery?

The pottery itself is a type of ceramic. The resulting product made out of clay as a container is known as pottery. Moreover, pottery and ceramic are objects which are formed by clay and then fired and heated, glazed, and molded.

What are the kinds of pottery?

The firing temperatures and appendices determine the kinds. Traditionally, there are three kinds of pottery namely, earthenware, stoneware, and porcelain.

What is the strongest ceramic?

The strongest and thickest ceramic is silicon carbide which is generally similar to diamond. It has thermal conductivity and low thermal expansion as well. It is very light and hard.

What is an example of ceramic?

A ceramic is a substance that is neither organic nor metallic. They are sometimes very fragile and some are very hard and tougher. The best examples of ceramic are tiles, clay, brick, cement, glass, etc.


People often are confused they can’t distinguish between pottery and ceramic. Some refer to pottery as a kind of ceramic material and some refer to pottery as a pot or container. So in this article, we have cleared all your confusion about pottery and ceramic. We have told you their differences, types, and kind.

Thus, pottery is a piece of art that is made out of clay, while ceramic is more than containers and pottery, they work with different mediums.

Examples of ceramic are tiles, bricks, glass, and clay. Some are very light and fragile while others are tougher and hard.

Therefore, we can determine the type of ceramic and pottery by their firing temperatures, and by their moldings. Well, I think that’s it for the conclusion.

I hope this article will be very helpful for you. If you have any questions feel free to ask them in the comments. Thank you.


Kingery, W. David, Harvey Kent Bowen, and Donald R. Uhlmann. Introduction to ceramics. Vol. 17. John Wiley & sons, 1976.

Wachtman, John B., W. Roger Cannon, and M. John Matthewson. Mechanical properties of ceramics. John Wiley & Sons, 2009.

Rice, Prudence M. “On the origins of pottery.” Journal of archaeological method and theory 6.1 (1999): 1-54.

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