Ceramics and ceramic art in the art world means artwork made out of clay bodies and fired to form a ceramic. Some ceramic pieces are classified as fine art, while many others can be classified as one of the decorative, industrial or applied arts (the application of design and aesthetics to objects of function and everyday use). The identification of a specific pottery piece as a "work of art" is not always clear. Ceramic art usually, but not always, was intended by the maker as art. It may have a signature, designer name or brand name stamp on the bottom. Ceramic art can be either manufactured by individuals or in a factory that employs artists to design, produce or decorate the ware.
Historically, ceramic articles were prepared by shaping the clay body, a clay rich mixture of various minerals, into the desired shapes before being subjected to high temperatures in a kiln. However ceramics now refers to a very diverse group of materials which, while all are fired to high temperature, may not have been shaped from material containing any clay. The origin of the word is the ancient Greek keramikos, from Keramos, meaning "potter's clay."