There's not a lot of information in popular historical accounts or art history about pottery as an art form or as something people cared about, but there is a great deal known about pottery styles and types. Ceramic fragments can be tested and analyzed to determine when it was made. So in places where pottery has been made in the past, pottery is used, along with tree-ring dating and other techniques, to date archeological finds. But very often, little attention is given to pottery as an expression of its time or culture.
The one exception is the very fine Greek pottery we see in museums. These wares are beautifully decorated in contrasting colours, and technically, are among the finest pottery ever produced. However, this tradition of pottery-making died out in Greece itself, and had little effect on pottery in the rest of Europe.
In most of Europe from the invention of pottery into the early Middle Ages, pottery was considered utilitarian and nothing more. Pottery was used for storing and cooking food and beverages, and for food preparation in the kitchen. It was also used for shipping foodstuffs, because it could be made fairly thick, so it wasn't as breakable as glass. It was cheap, so if it only lasted one trip, it was no matter.
Poor people drank out of wood, bone or antler cups, or leather wineskins, and made bowls or plates out of wood. Wealthier people ate off metal plates and drank out of metal and sometimes glass.
The one thing pottery was used for was jugs, because wine and beer don't taste very good stored in metal. Glass was expensive and very fragile. Pottery jugs also kept the wine slightly cooler due to transpiration, so this was also desirable. So we find many jugs and pitchers throughout the Middle Ages. Potters could often produce them in precise sizes to use as measures.
However, Muslims were forbidden to use metal plates and bowls. In the Middle East, Spain and North Africa, pottery was developed into a fine art, and was highly prized. Byzantine potters, poised between the Christian world of Europe and the Islamic world, were able to see and copy styles and techniques from both traditions.
With the Crusades, Europeans brought home pottery as souvenirs. Some was made by Muslim potters, while some was made by Chinese potters. Chinese porcelain in particular was highly prized. The thin walls and pure white colour of porcelain vessels were much admired. From this time on, the history of European pottery became the story of European potters trying to steal or imitate the styles and secrets of Chinese porcelain or Islamic pottery.