What is fired clay without glaze called?

When discussing ceramics and pottery, you might come across the term “bisqueware.” But what exactly does it mean, and why is it important in the world of fired clay artistry? Let’s delve into the concept of bisqueware and its significance in the pottery process.

Defining Bisqueware

Bisqueware refers to clay objects that have been shaped, dried, and fired once in a kiln without the application of glaze. The initial firing, also known as the “bisque firing,” transforms the raw clay into a hardened, porous state that is more durable and less susceptible to breakage than unfired clay. At this stage, bisqueware is ready for further decoration or glazing.

The Purpose of Bisque Firing

Bisque firing serves several important purposes:

  • Hardening: The firing removes the physical and chemical water from the clay, making it solid and less fragile.
  • Preventing Shrinkage: Bisque firing helps reduce the overall shrinkage that occurs during subsequent glaze firing.
  • Enhancing Glaze Adhesion: The porous surface of bisqueware allows glaze to adhere more effectively during the glaze firing.

Decoration and Glazing

After the bisque firing, artists have the option to apply glaze to the bisqueware. Glazing involves coating the surface of the pottery with a liquid mixture that, when fired again, transforms into a glass-like finish. Glazes can add color, texture, and a protective layer to the pottery, enhancing its visual appeal and functionality.


Bisqueware plays a crucial role in the ceramics process, providing a sturdy foundation for further artistic expression and glazing. The bisque firing not only transforms raw clay into a more durable state but also prepares the surface to receive glaze, enabling potters to create beautiful and functional pottery pieces that stand the test of time.

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