Ceramics vs Pottery: What is the Difference?

Hands making pottery and ceramics.

The terms “ceramics” and “pottery” are often used interchangeably, however, they are not actually the same thing. Yes, they both involve using clay to create objects, and yes are both fun hobbies that anyone can enjoy. So what is the difference between ceramics and pottery?

Hands making pottery and ceramics.
Pottery or ceramics?

What is the difference between pottery and ceramics?

The difference is simply that ceramics is the process of making objects out of clay that will be fired in a kiln, while pottery, on the other hand, is the process of making objects out of clay using a potter’s wheel.

The two are often the same, but not always:

  • If pottery will be fired in a kiln then it is ceramics.
  • If ceramics were made on a wheel then it is pottery.

Ceramics may be made using clay hand-building techniques, or slip-casting.

>> Related article: Pottery Techniques

Final thoughts

So the major difference between pottery and ceramics is that ceramics are made by hand from a clay body using molds, while pottery is made from a clay body that is sculpted or thrown on a potter’s wheel.

Both ceramics and pottery can be used to make a variety of objects, such as vases, bowls, plates, and sculptures. And both hobbies can be enjoyed by people of all ages. So if you’re looking for a new hobby, why not give ceramics or pottery a try.

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