What is pottery? Pottery is anything made of clay that has been hardened by being baked.

Before firing and glazing.

After firing and glazing.

When the clay has been moulded into shape it is heated fiercely in a kiln. This process is called firing. During firing the edges of the clay crystals melt and a glassy substance forms. As the clay cools, the glass hardens and holds the clay together so that it becomes hard. However, this also makes the pottery brittle.

Earthenware is a type of pottery has many tiny holes in it after it has been fired and it cannot hold water. To make it watertight it is coated with a mixture of ground glass and water called a glaze and fired again at an even hotter temperature. The glaze fills the holes and makes the pottery water tight. It also gives the pottery a smooth shiny surface. The white crockery used in many places every day is earthenware.

Stoneware is fired at a higher temperature than earthenware and this makes the surface clay crystals melt and form a natural glaze. This makes the pottery watertight. Storage jars and jugs are examples of stoneware.

Porcelain is made from a mixture of China clay and granite. The granite must contain a large amount of the mineral called feldspar. This type of clay is heated most strongly of all. The feldspar melts and forms a glassy material which holds the clay particles together. Bone china is a form of porcelain.

Video: a video is available by clicking the start arrow.

Explore these further resources...

(These links take you to other parts of our web site, never to outside locations.)

You can search in these books:

You can look in this topic for more books, videos and teacher resources:

Jump to Materials toolkit screen
The toolkit screen link will take you to a library containing a selection of:
an i-topic, more books, pictures, videos and teacher's stuff related to the search word.
© Curriculum Visions 2018