A History of Ceramics & Pottery

Ceramics Timeline of Pots from Bowls to Glaze

The history of ceramics is a long timeline. Homemade clay pottery is one of the oldest known art forms. The history of pottery and ceramics dates back over 10,000 years to shards of clay pots found in a cave in China.

Ceramics in India, in Italy, in Mexico, in China, and in Japan have all followed their own paths through history. Some of the timelines exist parallel to each other and some intertwine.

The first homemade pottery clay pots were hand built. They were unglazed and were fired on open bonfires. Pottery glazes weren't actually invented until several thousand years later.

Over the centuries, pot making technology advanced. Wheels and ceramic kilns were invented, and they increased in efficiency and performance.

Ceramics Timeline and Teacher's Guide

Teachers and educators see this Ceramics Timeline and Teacher's Guide for a great visual display of the history or ceramics.

History of the Pottery Wheel

The original pottery wheel didn't spin constantly. I was just a round surface that could be rotated as the pot was being built by hand.

About 5000 years ago the pottery wheel was invented. There have been many versions of it over the centuries, including hand powered and foot powered wheels.

There are wheels that are spun using a stick which is inserted into a notch on the wheel. There are foot powered treadle wheels. There are also pottery kick wheels in which a heavy fly wheel is kicked to maintain the spinning motion (this is the type of kick wheel most commonly used today).

A majority of potters today, however, use an electric pottery wheel. The electric wheel provides continuous spinning without the effort of kicking or pushing.

Regardless of the type of wheel you use, you are participating in possibly the oldest documented art form. The history of pottery dates back over 10,000 years and is still thriving and evolving as you read this.

As always, thanks for reading, and Happy Potting.

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