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Common Pottery Terms

Pottery refers to the process of making ceramic household items, like dinnerware, as well as more luxurious items, like teapots and vases, out of clay. Clay is a natural material found in the earth that contains a good deal of water moisture. While still wet, the clay resembles mud and in this stage can be shaped using a variety of pottery tools. Once the shape is complete, the clay will be fired in a kiln, which removes all moisture and allows the clay to become hard. Making pottery is a very involved process and some of the terms are listed below.

  • Ceramics – This word comes from the Greek keramikos which translates to of pottery. Earthenware clays were the earliest type of ceramics, but this group also includes stoneware, porcelain and bone china. Ceramics classes are often taught at art centers, giving beginners and intermediate students an outlet to make their own pieces of ceramic artwork out of clay.
  • Porcelain – A type of ceramic mix that is white. Porcelain is often used to make fine dinnerware and tea services like teapots. The finished product is usually adorned with paint.
  • Potters Wheel – A common pottery tool that is used to shape objects. The clay is placed in the center and then spun around while it is being shaped by hand. This process is also called throwing.
  • Potter's Mark – The term used for the stamp, or mark, that an artist gives their product. It is usually a unique symbol limited to a particular artist or pottery house. Outlet stores usually sell a particular mark.
  • Glaze – A special type of paint that is used for ceramics to give them a brilliant sheen of color. The glaze has to be applied after the clay has been fired in the kiln.
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    Polish Pottery Place
    1501 Pike Pl Ste 515, Seattle, WA 98101
    (206) 903-1285
    Pottery School The
    214 1st Ave S Ste B17, Seattle, WA 98104
    (206) 343-9879
    From The Heart Pottery
    214 1st Ave S, Seattle, WA 98104
    (206) 262-9500
    Laguna Pottery
    116 S Washington St, Seattle, WA 98104
    (206) 682-6162
    Pottery Northwest
    226 1st Ave N, Seattle, WA 98109
    (206) 285-4421
    Ragen & Associates
    517 E Pike St, Seattle, WA 98122
    (206) 323-9266
    Seattle Pottery Supply
    35 S Hanford St, Seattle, WA 98134
    (206) 587-0570
    Salty Dog Pottery
    4602 14th Ave Nw, Seattle, WA 98107
    (206) 789-3379
    Serrano Raymond
    4602 14th Ave Nw, Seattle, WA 98107
    (206) 545-8153
    4451 Ferncroft Rd, Mercer Island, WA 98040
    (206) 232-2434
    City of Seattle Performing & Visual Arts
    5900 Lake Washington Blvd S, Seattle, WA 98118
    (206) 722-6342
    Brace Point Pottery
    4208 Sw 100th St, Seattle, WA 98146
    (206) 935-6740
    Akiko's Pottery
    10017 21st Ave Sw, Seattle, WA 98146
    (206) 763-3108
    Ferguson Bath, Kitchen & Lighting Gallery
    13020 Ne 20th St, Bellevue, WA 98005
    (425) 869-9007
    Hidden Cove Pottery
    7176 Ne Hidden Cove Rd, Bainbridge Island, WA 98110
    (206) 842-5408

    Pottery can include a wide variety of products such as handmade bowls, ceramic plates, vases, teapots, and stoneware. Some of the earliest known pieces of pottery were figurines and bowls. Today many potters focus on dinnerware, dishes, plates, and vases that combine artistic shaping techniques with decorative colors. Not all potters make their dinnerware, stoneware, and porcelain vases with the same techniques. Some, for instance, only make handmade items. They shape the clay objects by hand on a wheel, add a glaze, and then fire it in a hot kiln. Other companies use mechanized processes to create their products. These pieces of pottery tend to cost less than those made by hand, but many people prefer plates, dishes, and accessories made by highly trained artisans. Many stores also focus on different types of pottery products. Gardening stores for instance, will usually have clay pots, but very few of them will keep antique vases and dishes in stock. Instead, consumers should find antique stores that focus on platters, teapots, vases, and other decorative items that have been discontinued. You can learn more about the pottery companies and artisans that work in your area by using a popular search engine to find their websites. Many professional potters invite customers to come to their studios, where they can watch ceramics being made by hand with a turntable and kiln. This gives individuals and groups the opportunity to learn more about making these products and gives them access to unique designs that they cannot buy anywhere else.
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