A ceramicist is someone who makes pottery, which is usually considered being an art form. It requires the person to create a clay-based object that can then be shaped, fired in a kiln or oven, and painted. The finished product is typically decorative rather than functional.
A potter creates objects out of clay for purposes such as cooking or storage. Potters have been around since ancient times and are still very much alive today because it’s one of the most versatile materials available to use when creating something from scratch.
This article discusses the debate between ceramicist vs potter and why understanding the differences between the two is so important.
Differences Between a Ceramicist And a Potter
Following are some differences between a ceramicist and someone who makes pottery.
What is a Ceramicist?
A ceramicist makes pottery and focuses on the aesthetics of the final product. The term is typically used to describe someone who crafts objects out of clay and then decorates them with paint or glazes.
How Does a Ceramicist Work?
The process starts with the raw materials. A ceramicist begins by taking a lump of clay, known as greenware, and shaping it using tools or their hands to make an object.
Then they fire the ceramic in a kiln until it’s hard enough to remove without crumbling. The ultimate step involves applying paint or glaze to their creation.
The finished product is typically decorative rather than functional. There are some good examples of functional ceramic work in the home that can be found at your local ceramic shop, but it’s not the principal focus for a ceramicist.
What is a Potter?
A potter is someone who creates vessels or other objects out of clay. These objects are typically functional, meaning they’re tools that can be used in everyday life.
How Does a Potter Work?
It is important to note that the process begins with the raw materials. To make an object, a potter begins by shaping a lump of clay, called greenware, with their hands or using tools.
Once the clay is dried, they fire it in a kiln until it becomes hard enough to be removed from the mold without crumbling. The ultimate step involves applying paint or glaze to their creation.
The finished product is typically functional, meaning it can be used when cooking, carrying things around, etc. Local grocery and kitchen supply stores carry some of the most popular examples of pottery.
Using a Different Clay Artist for Various Projects
A ceramicist and a potter may work with clay, but they use the material in different ways.
As we discussed earlier, a ceramicist typically uses clay to make decorative objects such as vases and other forms of art that can be hung on walls or placed on shelves.
On the other hand, a potter will make items that can be used in everyday life, such as mugs for holding coffee, pots to cook food in, and jugs for carrying water.
Although both artists use clay as their principal medium of expression, that’s not the only difference between the two. The ceramicist works primarily with porcelain rather than earthenware or stoneware clay.
Porcelain is more expensive than earthenware or stoneware, so it’s typically reserved for fine arts and decorative items. The reason for this is they can make porcelain thinner without compromising its strength.
For example, a vase created out of porcelain may only weigh one pound, whereas a vase created out of stoneware could weigh as much as five pounds.
Ceramicist typically uses paint and/or glazes to decorate their creations. Pottery doesn’t require paint or glaze additions because it’s finished after being fired in a kiln. The potter will typically use colorants, slips, glazes, and/or enrobes to give their creations the desired look.
However, there are some ceramicists who create functional objects that don’t require paint or glaze. They will focus on decorating different surfaces of the piece with textures rather than colors.
How to Become a Ceramicist or Potter?
Although there are no specific educational requirements in order to become a ceramicist or potter, there are some basic requirements that should be met in order for you to get started.
Potters require the same tools as ceramicists besides what’s needed for throwing clay on the potter’s wheel. If you’re interested in becoming a potter, you should also learn about what’s needed for throwing on the wheel and how to use it.
Tools such as a kiln, hand tools, and slip casting molds may be unfamiliar to you. But there are plenty of resources available online where you can read more about them or watch tutorials that will teach you how to use them. After becoming familiar with them, you’re ready to create your own works of art.
The Benefits of Becoming a Ceramicist o Potter
Ceramicists and potters have many outlets in which they can sell their work. If you want to display your creations in a gallery or museum, then you’ll need to market yourself towards that specific type of audience.
If you would rather sell your pieces online through an e-commerce store, there are many websites where you can sell them.
Ceramicists and potters also have the option of selling their art at a local or international craft fair. Craft fairs are very popular in North America, so if you live in the United States or Canada, most likely there’s a craft fair happening within driving distance from your home during the spring, summer, and fall months.
The Drawbacks of Being a Ceramicist or Potter
Although there are many benefits to becoming a ceramicist or potter, there are some drawbacks as well.
For example, clay starts out soft and malleable so you can shape it into whatever form you desire. However, after the first firing in the kiln, the clay becomes very hard and fragile.
The potter typically uses a wheel to throw clay, but ceramicists often use their hands to shape it. It’s important to know which type of artist you want to be because each requires different tools and techniques.
The ceramicist and potter have a lot in common, but there are also some key differences. The major difference is that porcelain clay is more expensive than earthenware or stoneware so it’s reserved for fine arts and decorative pieces. Ceramicists typically use paint or glazes to decorate their creations while potters don’t need any additional decoration because they’re fired after being created on a wheel.