Pottery has been produced throughout history for thousands of years. There are many different techniques to try and master using different materials and glazes. To help you give an insight we have compiled a brief low down of some popular styles.Different Types of Pottery
There are essentially three different kinds of pottery.
- Earthenware is one of the most commonly used ceramics. Earthenware is widely used for decorative and practical pieces such as plant pots. Earthenware ceramics often have a reddish brown, baked colour such as terracotta (which translates to baked Earth). This red tone is widely used as are white and buff varieties. The make up of earthenware tends to vary. It usually contains roughly equal parts of ball clay and kaolin with quantities of quartz and feldspar. Earthenware can be formed into a range of different consistencies. It can be made into thinner forms similar to bone china although it has a weaker, brittle form and is prone to chipping and surface damage. Earthenware is less durable than other forms of pottery such as stoneware. It is a cheaper form of pottery to produce and with a good glaze becomes waterproof, offering more durability.
- Stoneware is a form of ceramic that is more durable than earthenware. The durability increases as the clay is fired at a higher temperature. Stoneware is worthy of its namesake as the durable finish is impervious to surface damage such as scrapes from metal blades. Stoneware has a more opaque appearance than other ceramics and is often available in murky grey brown tones due to impurities found in the clay used. Baking stoneware ceramics at too high a temperature can result in a warped finish. Depending on the firing temperature different effects can be achieved including translucent finishes. Different clays used to create ceramics contain different levels of impurities. Different agents added to natural clay may affect the colour and density. Clays used to create stoneware typically contain few of these impurities. Glazes can be applied before the second firing at an alternative temperature to create different effects.
- Porcelain is one of the purest forms of ceramics. Porcelain is made from kaolin and was originally developed by ancient Chinese potters experimenting with adding additional materials to stoneware compositions. There are two main forms of porcelain. True porcelain has a smooth and translucent finish which is created by adding a kaolin paste to china clay. Soft porcelain is made by adding ground glass and white clay to china clay and then firing at a low temperature. Porcelain has mass appeal for domestic uses as it is traditionally white and can be moulded to create delicate pieces.