The art of pottery making has been around since about 14,000 B.C.; from cooking pots and storage containers, to dishes and cups. Over the years, archeologists have collected pottery from all over the world, Greek, Roman, Islamic, Etruscan, Egypt, and Chinese have created pieces of artwork in pottery and lasting tributes to their accomplishments over the years. Today, the art of pottery and ceramics has evolved into a fine art and craftsmen from all over the world have access to different mediums across the planet than what their home country has to offer. Since the access to different mediums have allowed master potters to work with any of the materials, there is an ongoing debate about what material makes the best pottery art.
The raw materials that make most pottery art are refined and filtered today. Although we, as art aficionados, have access to historical artifacts of materials that were culled together for their creators from the bottom of the oceans to mountainsides, and that means the work still exists, even without the refining capabilities of today’s standards. Clay, depending on where in the world it was collected, goes through a series of grinding and turned into a slurry when purified water is added. Depending on the consistency of the finished product, the moist clay is pressed and filtered again. Afterward, the mud is thick and malleable.read more here!
Depending on where in the world the clay is collected, will depend on how the clay powder mixes with the purified water and the consistency of the slurry and the final result of the cake bricks or cylinders for artistic use. Some master potters will argue that depending on what you do with the ceramic material, whether used on wheels, throwing, or building, will change the characteristics of the raw material and how it reacts under professional manipulation. Some potters will suggest that it is the kilning process that makes pottery and not necessarily the clay, grog, or other raw material mixtures. However, depending on what type of clay a pottery master chooses, stoneware, kaolin, or earthenware, will mean different results before and after firing in kilns.
The real question is what the potter is expecting from their creation that makes the best pottery. Kaolin and porcelain are considered the best for high-quality ceramics. Most urns, pots, and what are considered archaeological treasures, are made with earthenware clay and fired in kilns. The sophistication of ovens over the last few thousand years has evolved as much as the raw materials and pottery. While it is unlikely potters have access to traditional earthen kilns, the thermally insulated chamber takes hours instead of days. The heat ranges have increased from an average of 900˚ F to now where kiln temperatures can fire up to 2,400˚F.you can get some ideas from http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/media/ct-haeger-pottery-closes-after-145-years-in-business-video-20160516-premiumvideo.html
What does it all mean when it comes to the best for pottery? Since, like most things in life, the best type of clay and what a potter is expecting to produce, as well as what are the ideal tools to be used, are considered subjective.