The first step when you are learning a new hobby, is to learn the terminology.
Even without any explanations, you probably know what a pottery wheel or a kiln is. But what is the right word for someone that makes pottery as a hobby or professionally?
There is actually a surprising number of words that you can use. So let’s go over them!
What Do You Call Someone Who Makes Pottery?
Well, if you are making pots from clay, you can call yourself a potter. A pot could be cups or bowls or actual pots for plants. You sit at your wheel and form the chunk of clay into a functional piece that hopefully, someone will use.
Most of the time when we think of a potter, we are thinking about the studio potter. Most studio potters work in their home or a co-op studio with other potters.
Regardless of where you work, you throw clay spinning out bowls and all sorts of functional art to fill up your kiln. Nothing is worse than a half-empty kiln.
Some potters work in a factory making mass-produced pieces like dinnerware sets. If you are a factory potter, you may want your friends and family to call you a commercial potter.
As a commercial potter, you are good at using molds to maintain uniformity between pieces. Most people do not want different-sized plates and cups in their dinner set.
Commercial potters use other techniques like throwing off the mound. A process of centering a large chunk of clay on the wheel and pulling smaller pieces quickly.
What Do You Call Someone Who Makes Ceramics?
Okay, you have made a sculpture. You have bisque fired a statue. A form of firing at a lower temperature that readies the clay for glazing and your final firing.
You have chosen your glaze and are ready to fire the kiln. You wait. Waiting is not easy. The kiln has cooled, and you can now take your fired piece out to examine it.
What you are holding in your hand is an ornate sculpture. Your clay sculpture has transformed from a malleable product to a hard art piece that will not dissolve in water. You can call yourself a ceramist or a ceramicist.
What is the difference between a potter and a ceramist?
To understand the difference between a potter and a ceramist, you need to know the difference between pottery and ceramics.
Both a potter and ceramist make objects by firing clay at high temperatures. However, a potter focuses on making symmetrical containers with a wheel such as pots, cups, mugs, plates, etc. While a ceramist can use the clay to basically make anything, such as miniatures and statues.
Since pottery is a subgroup in ceramics, you could say that every potter is a ceramist, but not every ceramist is a potter as well.
If you want to get a better understanding of what a ceramist does, you can check out our favorite ceramists from Instagram.
What Is Another Word For Potter?
While the words “potter” and “ceramist” are the most commonly used, there are many other words that you can also use to describe someone who does pottery.
Here are just a few common ones:
- Clay Artist
- Ceramic Artist
- Mud Thrower
- Mud Dabber
- Functional Potter
What is it called when you shape clay?
Not every potter uses a pottery wheel to shape their clay. It is also possible to just use your hands, a roller, and a few cutting tools. This is called slab pottery, slab building, or hand building. With these techniques the result will probably be less symmetrical compared to clay thrown on a potter’s wheel.
However, using your hands allows you to make unique shapes that you won’t be able to make on a wheel. You can find a few example projects in our article on slab pottery ideas.
Other words associated with pottery making
Now that you know how to differentiate a potter from a ceramist, it’s time to learn some other words related to the pottery making process.
Most of these words are pretty simple, so I’ll just provide a list of words you should know.
- Terra Cotta