People often become confused as to what is pottery and what is ceramics. Both have been instrumental in making human life simpler and more beautiful for thousands of years. They are both made from the same basic material. One is simplicity itself to form into vases, cups or plates and use to make life more comfortable, or to sculpt it into fine art to enjoy forever. The other involves more time and effort to create and adds beauty as well as serving utilitarian purposes.
Strictly speaking however, pottery is technically meant to include containers, generally for household use, formed of clay.
Pottery is generally classified as either commercial pottery or studio pottery. Commercial pottery is produced in factories and Studio pottery is made by individual potters.
Art pottery is more creative pottery that may be produced commercially or in individual studios.
Commercial potters produce huge quantities of the same pottery form all day. Studio pottery is still produced in quantity but generally is very diverse and exhibits more aesthetic qualities as individual potters are creative with their pottery.
Ceramics are made from materials that change when fired, or heated to between 660 to 1,470 degrees Fahrenheit. Once turned into ceramic from clay, the newly changed ceramic will no longer dissolve in water as will clay.
People who work with clay are referred to generally as potters. The designation of potter is then broken down into production potters or studio potters. Clay and ceramic artists may be either production or studio potters who move from producing quantities of the same item to producing pottery that is individualistic and creatively compelling.
A ceramist is someone who works with ceramics either on an industrial or individual basis. A ceramic engineer works in industry with the chemistry and physics of ceramic.