Pottery is one of the most durable, yet one of the more fragile, of all materials. By durable, I mean it will last for centuries, even millenia, without changing or deteriorating in the slightest. Archeologists depend on finding pottery in sites they search to help them understand the culture and the capabilities of ancient civilizations. At the same time, one sharp blow can break a piece of pottery into a thousand pieces and it will be impossible to repair. Durability, however, does vary to a small degree between types of pottery and specific care instructions should always be obtained from the potter who made the specific piece.
Functionality of pottery will also vary with different types of clay, glaze and/or firing temperature. For example, some pottery is designed for and is suitable to hold food and water while other pottery is not. In general, the following can be said: Stoneware, earthenware and porcelain pieces which have a smooth coating of a lead-free glaze on the inside surfaces are generally useable for food and liquids. Stoneware and porcelain are often safe for use in a microwave or dishwasher; although this should always be checked with the potter. Use of earthenware in a microwave is more questionable because earthenware can absorb a significant amount of water. Raku (as made in the United States) is nearly always considered to be only for decorative uses.
At Frog Pond Pottery, I make functional pottery using only lead-free glazes which is safe for food and drink. My pottery is microwave and dishwasher safe.