Earthenware is a ceramic material that has a variety of purposes ranging from decorative objects, tableware to pottery. Most modern craft and amateur pottery is earthenware. Until porcelain became very widely used in the modern period, the great majority of pottery from the earliest times onwards was of types classed as earthenware. Earthenware has been made for over 9,000 years all over the world, and it continues to be a popular type of pottery. There are several types of earthenware, including: creamware, terracotta, faience, tin-glazed pottery, victorian majolica, yellowware, ironstone ware, raku and delftware among others. Earthenware is made by heating the clay at a range of 1000 and 1150 degrees Celsius and gloss fired from 950 to 1050 degree celcius. The blend of materials in earthenware varies, depending on the region, but it generally includes minerals such as feldspar, quartz, ball clay, and china clay or kaolin. Earthenware is less expensive than porcelain but they can also break easily as they are prepared at a temperature lower than porcelain.
Applications for earthenware include art ware, tableware, and other home decorative items. Terracotta is clay-based glazed or unglazed ceramic, where the fired body is porous. It is used in water and waste water pipes, vessels such as flower pots, along with sculpture such as Greek terracotta figurines and the Terracotta Army. Creamware is cream-coloured earthenware with a lead glaze over a pale body. It was created about 1750 by the potters of Staffordshire, England and serves as an inexpensive substitute for the soft-paste porcelains being developed by contemporary manufactories. Delftware denotes blue and white pottery made in and around Delft in the Netherlands and the tin-glazed pottery made in the Netherlands from the 16th century. Delftware includes pottery objects of all descriptions such as ornaments, tile and plates. Faience is type of earthenware of high quality, which is made to look like Chinese porcelain with its opaque white glaze. Yellowware is type of earthenware named after the yellow appearance given to the clay used for its production. This earthenware originated in the UK in the late 18th-century and was produced in the US from the late 1820s. Ironstone is a type of vitreous pottery first made in the UK in 18th century. It has appearance and properties similar to fine stoneware. It was developed in the 19th century by potters in Staffordshire, England as an alternative for porcelain.
The earthenware industry is driven by generic trends in home decorations. Opportunities can be found in niche markets where the high design products are promising. However, availability of modern low cost alternatives can hamper the growth of this market.
Asia Pacific remains a lucrative market for the pottery and earthenware industry. China India, Thailand, Singapore, Philippines and Malaysia are the primary consumers of earthenware due to rising demand for home decorative items from a growing middle class population. Crafts made with earthenware are popular in these countries and the demand is expected to grow substantially in the coming few years.
The vendors in the earthenware industry have to invest in logistics system and high-quality production processes, that guarantee fast delivery and the development of creative earthenware products in order to keep market share. Some of the key players in this market are Ceradyne, Stryker, Asahi Glass, CeramTec, Kyocera, CoorsTek and Corning among others.
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