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Types of Art: Ceramics and Pottery

Pottery is an ancient form of art that, at its most basic form, involves the molding of various forms of ceramics, clay and earthenware into shapes that are desired by the artist. It is then dried and heated by fire so that it takes its permanent form. Pottery can be glazed for preservation's sake and for aesthetic purposes, however most of the pottery made in pre-modern times was not glazed. Early pottery was shaped entirely by hand, however a wheel called the potter's wheel was invented 8,000 years ago, which made pottery production more efficient. Potters used heating trench ovens, or pit-kilns, to solidify pottery and actual kilns, or enclosed ovens, were used later on. In many cases the completed pottery was then decorated with paintings or etchings. Pottery can take a variety of forms, such as bowls, jugs, cups, plates, animal shapes, or even human figurines.

Different forms of pottery have appeared in practically every part of the world, from China to India, Europe, Africa, the Americas, and Australia. Among the earliest known examples of pottery is the Venus of Grimaldi, a figurine created nearly 30,000 years ago. The first pottery designed for general use is thought to have appeared in China, less than 20,000 years ago. Since then pottery has spread to all major cultures and civilizations, and is still being created today. Because of the nature of the construction materials, pottery has been known to survive mostly intact for up to tens of thousands of years. The oldest forms of pottery were created using earthenware, followed by stoneware and porcelain. Today, pottery is practiced by artisans around the world. Almost all modern schools and universities have classes that teach pottery as an art form, and there are a prodigious number of pottery organizations in practically every country.

Pottery Magazine and E-Zines

Pottery Associations, Organizations & Guilds

Pottery History

Pottery Clay & Pottery Techniques

Pottery for Educators

Additional Pottery Resources

About the Author:
Clare Tames is a self-employed freelance graphic designer, formidable cook, and avid reader. She written on contemporary and classical art in various print publications, and is just now beginning a writing career online. She works out of her home office in California, where her two children attend high school.

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