An interesting thing about pottery is that it is considered as a technology, as well as a form of art. Throughout human history, pottery has had a significant role. Pottery is a kind of ceramic ware which has three types; earthenware, stoneware, and porcelain.

Most earthenware are composed of 25% ball clay, 28% kaolin, 32% quartz, and 15% feldspar. However, this is a generic composition and it varies from maker to maker. These products come in various colors as well. They are red, white, and buff colored. An important difference between earthenware and stoneware is that the former is more porous in nature. This porosity helps them in the application of the final coat of glazing.

Making Earthenware Pottery
For this process, you will need some red clay and a pottery wheel. A beginner should always operate at slow speeds of the pottery wheel.
  1. Place the mold on the wheel. Once you start the wheel, you have to smoothen the clay from all angles. This will invariably make it rounded.
  2. Now that it is rounded and smoothened, start giving some shape to the mold.
  3. After a while, you will see that the desired shape starts coming up. Once you get the shape, stop the wheel and smoothly lift the article that you have just made; and fire it up in a kiln (a kiln is like an oven).
  4. After baking this clay, the substance that comes out is called a bisque. Bisque (also known as biscuit) is a kind of ceramic ware, which is unglazed.
  5. Bisque is generally not the final product, but sometimes it can be sold or used as the final product.
  6. The bisque is fired up to 1000ºC and then a coating of glaze is applied to it.
Stoneware is a semi-vitreous or vitreous ceramic ware, which is much less porous than earthenware. Vitreous means 'like glass', stoneware is termed as vitreous because after it is finished, it has a distinct look of glass. Interestingly, it has been named that way, because many people believe the material to be a man-made product. These items have strong characteristics of being as hard as stone. They are distinctly less porous than earthenware.

Making Stoneware Pottery
Making stoneware is very similar to earthenware, but there are some key differences. First of all, stoneware can be made with or without a pottery wheel.
  1. Once you have given shape to the clay, allow it to dry completely. Now you can apply glaze to it.
  2. Keep the article in the kiln and fire it up.
Temperature is another key issue over here. Stoneware is fired up at about 1200ºC. These high temperatures are responsible for their characteristic hard finish.

Characteristic Comparisons

Temperature of baking1000ºC1200ºC
PorosityMore PorousLess Porous
VitreousLess VitreousMore Vitreous
HardnessLess HardMore Hard

Both types of products are different variants of pottery. The following facts might interest you.
  • Pottery is one of the oldest technologies, and art forms in history.
  • Pot factories were known as 'Pot Banks' in late eighteenth century.
  • People who worked in such pot banks were known as 'The Potteries'.
  • The largest Football club in the English city of stoke on Trent are known as 'The Potters'. (The city once had the largest number of pot factories.)
I hope that the above comparison has shed some light on their differences. Be it earthenware or stoneware, both make some beautiful kitchenware. On this note, I sign off.