The basic raw material for all ceramics is clay, which derives from a granite-type rock, having decomposed over millions of years. Particles of alumina and silica from the decomposed rock mix with water to form clay, which can be found throughout the world. Impurities and other elements in the clay account for some of the characteristics that differentiate ceramic products.
One of the most important qualities is the plasticity or workability of clay, which depends on the fineness of the clay particle and allows the pot to hold its shape while being formed.
All ceramics can be assigned to one of three basic categories, depending on what type of clay is used and the temperature at which it is fired: earthenware, stoneware, and porcelain. I work primarily with porcelain.