What is clay called before it is fired?

Before clay undergoes the firing process that transforms it into a hardened ceramic material, it is referred to as “greenware.” Greenware is essentially raw clay that has been shaped and molded but has not yet been fired in a kiln.

Characteristics of Greenware

Greenware is soft, pliable, and fragile compared to its fired counterpart. It can be easily scratched, dented, or damaged, making it essential to handle greenware with care during the drying and firing stages.

Preparing Greenware for Firing

Before firing, greenware must be completely dry to prevent cracking and deformation during the firing process. It is common practice to let greenware air dry or use techniques like “bone dry” or “leather hard” to achieve the optimal moisture content for firing.


Greenware is the preliminary stage of clay creations before they are fired in a kiln. Understanding how to properly handle, prepare, and fire greenware is crucial for achieving successful and beautiful ceramic pieces.

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