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Appreciating the Ceramic Arts

Florida Ceramics


The field of fine arts encompasses many different artistic styles, techniques, and media. One of these artistic styles is ceramic arts. Creating ceramic art pieces involves the physical manipulation of a malleable medium such as clay via a molding or modeling process. Because the unique types of art mediums used in the ceramic arts have high plasticity, it is one of the so-called plastic arts.

The origins of ceramic arts can be traced back thousands of years. The oldest ceramics that have been found date back to about 25000 BC; these ceramic pieces were aesthetic/decorative animal and human figurines discovered by archaeologists in Czechoslovakia. The first functional ceramics (rather than strictly decorative) are believed to be vessels that date to about 9,000 BC, likely used for storing food, grains, and/or water.

The word “ceramics” comes from the Greek words for “pottery” and/or “potter’s clay.” While pottery is considered to be the first kind of ceramic art and basic clay was traditionally the main component used in its creation, different types of clay emerged over time. The five main types of clay used in the ceramic arts are earthenware (like terracotta and raku); stoneware; porcelain; ball clay, and fire clay. There also have been technological advances over the years that have allowed for additional materials to be used to make ceramics; the field of ceramic arts now deals with pieces made from ceramic materials that are not limited to the various types of clay. (Another popular material used in the ceramic arts is, for instance in Naples, FL, glass art.)

Ceramics today are made out of a variety of inorganic, non-metallic mediums that become malleable when heated. Ceramics include fine art pieces that are created solely as decorative works as well as more functional pieces. That is, the fine art ceramic pieces are meant to be enjoyed for their aesthetics, while ceramic dishes, pots, and other utensils are meant to be used for cooking, storage, etc. Of course, ceramic pieces today usually are both beautiful and useful.

Ceramic art may take forms including practical pottery pieces, figurines, and other sculptural art. In fact, ceramic materials are often used to create sculptures, which is its own category of fine art. Florida ceramics and sculpture artists have found a home in the Naples Art District.

The Naples Art District is home to the largest concentration of working artists in Southwest Florida, with over 70 professional creatives maintaining studios and galleries there. The Naples Art District (NAD) member artists share their work with unique art mediums and their artistic processes with visitors to the District via gallery exhibits and special events like art walks and demonstrations/workshops, in an effort to encourage people to learn more about and gain a greater appreciation of the creative arts. Check out the work of NAD member artists, including ceramic artists Joan Eshkenazi, Brenda McDonald, Arturo Samaniego, Anika Savage, and Sara Wilson. NAD publishes a calendar of events, classes, and workshops online for anyone interested in learning more about the arts from NAD member artists. Contact the Naples Art District online or by phone at 239-249-1977 any time.