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Art Definitions: Are Ceramics and Pottery the Same?

potter throwing a pot

I am currently working on our inventory project and in doing so I have to create a system that defines each inventory item so that users and buyers will easily be able to find what they are looking for.  To that end a question came up: are ceramics and pottery the same thing?

Here are a few pages I came across on the subject: 




Like most definitions we arrive at its meaning by consensus, and in this case the consensus suggests that for the most part they are the same but there are differences. "Pottery" evokes images of a potter at a wheel throwing a pot. "Ceramics" suggests a wider definition, including commercial ceramics and decorative fine art.

Another common consensus seems to indicate that "pottery" refers to utilitarian items like pots, bowls, plates, etc., while "ceramics" is more likely to be used for decorative items.

If I've failed to convince you, here is a quote from the last of the 3 links above:  "... to put it briefly, pottery is simpler and older. It was born out to need for storage and usability. Ceramics, on the other hand, leans more towards art and decoration. It is currently heralded as an art form, supported by famous ceramicists such as Bennett Bean and Hideaki Miyamura."

If that's still not good enough for you please leave a comment below.

Fred Voetsch - Art Stormer


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