The art of making objects by shaping pieces of clay, then firing them in a high temperature until they are hard, is called ceramic. Ceramic possess a wide range of elements which are mostly distinguished by the composition of clay and firing temperature.
First of all, when we speak of ceramic, the most common form that comes to mind is earthenware. Clay is fired between 500 and 900°C. It is traditionally made by hand for carving and decorative painting. However, unglazed earthenware remains porous. As a result, ceramists must glaze the overall surface to make sure that the products will be watertight. Earthenware products are used for highly practical purposes such as vases, containers of rice, etc.
Secondly, terracotta is another type of unglazed ceramics that is fired at approximately 950-1000°C. The end product is usually in a red-orange tint. In addition, terracotta has a baked body with unglazed ceramic making quite porous. Hence, this type of ceramic is normally used for sculptures, statues or architecture.
Thirdly, lead-glazed earthenware is another traditional type of ceramic ware. This type can be distinguished from others with its distinct coating and decoration in brown, blue and green. Lead oxides elements in the glaze give this earthenware its typical colors as mentioned above. In the same field, lusterware also has peculiar color renderings thanks to its glazed surface containing metallic oxides.
Then there is stoneware. This type of ceramic is more unique due its mixture of clay and melted stone. Thus, this type of ceramic is strong, hard and non-porous. Indeed, Minh Tien Ceramic specializes in stoneware ceramic. With two decades worth of expertise, we have 1200°C gas kilns for firing all types of biscuit into colored/white glazed products. These products are perfect for decoration but also daily food use.
Finally, one of the most well-known type of ceramics is porcelain. It is divided into three main kinds: hard paste porcelain, soft porcelain and bone china. Hard paste porcelain, made from kaolin, reaches its highest firing temperature at 1400°C. Years ago, this porcelain was first experimented in China in 900 BC but failed, then was successful in Europe in the 1700s. Additionally, although the soft porcelain is similar to the hard one, it contains glass and is baked at a lower temperature. Bone china has an additional element, bone ash that is mixed in the kaolin and fired at 1300°C.
As a whole, ceramic can be broken down into two main types: pottery (including earthenware, terracotta, glazed earthen, lusterware and stoneware) and porcelain (including hard paste porcelain, soft paste porcelain and bone china). Depending on specific needs and uses, ceramic ware can cater to all sorts of demands.
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