Thank you all for the warm welcome and informative responses.
JohnnyK: Indeed. I had a chuckle after seeing a video of an amazing potter throw a vessel which was spot on technically, he then purposely placed wobbles in it until it looked almost as good as my first effort. The camera then panned in to a whole shelf full of what looked like 'near misses' - very similar to the output of my classmates. There was no explanation as to why this guy's pots were so highly prized!
Hulk: As soon as I get the chance I shall get out to exhibitions and demonstrations. I have been advised to enrol in a masterclass in order to meet local people who identify as ceramic artists and potters. I am keen to see the full range of ceramic materials that are used and also learn more about working with clay. I should imagine that if one can support oneself and finance the cost of the materials processes, then working with ceramics would be its own reward.
I think GEP has understood that I was more interested in identifying the arbiters who decide the standards of excellence in ceramic art/pottery. I'll look out for Ceramics Monthly, thanks for the tip! (Ah, I see it is a North American based publication - I doubt they'll feature African and S. American artists in the next edition?)