Organisers of a Stoke-on-Trent pottery festival say they want to rebrand the city as a "world centre for ceramics".
More than 80 pottery firms and suppliers were displaying products alongside up-and-coming artists at Ceramics 2010 at the Britannia Stadium.
Those in the industry say they want people to see that pottery means more than just tableware.
The city is home to internationally known manufacturers with cutting-edge products, an event spokesman said.
Alison Knight, employment and skills director, said: "We need to look at the new methods of manufacturing, different types of technology, particularly looking at things like carbon reduction and carbon footprint."
The science of ceramics is helping to develop a toothpaste to prevent decay in one project being worked on by experts at Stoke-on-Trent-based Ceram, which was at the conference.
The firm specialises in testing materials and has recently taken on eight new graduates to help develop a wide range of products.
In one example for BBC Midlands Today, chief executive Tony Kinsella held a ceramic-coated hip replacement joint.
He said: "The ceramic allows bone, natural bone to grow very quickly back into the hip."
Stuart Adams, managing director at Endeka, said the ceramics industry in the city had been going through significant decline over the past 10 to 15 years.
He said: "We intend to change that in the future.
"I believe the industry is now going through something of a renaissance.
"The things that we're doing here... are set to try and change that trend and to actually move us into going forward for the future."