In this course, students explore the basic physical properties of clay by practicing a variety of hand-forming techniques used to create sculptural and functional objects. Emphasis is placed on the development of technical skill and strong craftsmanship. In addition, students address concept generation and aesthetic integrity within the work. Information regarding low-fire ceramic safety, glazing, kiln firing, and various fabrication and surface techniques are addressed.
The potter’s wheel is a tremendous tool used to create functional and non-functional forms in clay. In this course, students consider the most fundamental aspects of wheel-throwing: clay is a soft pliable material; the wheel is a tool that spins; and friction is a constant mediator between the two. PowerPoint lectures, technical demonstrations, and student presentations on contemporary artists assist in defining the course objectives. Additionally, students learn the basics of glazing and firing their work in electric and gas reduction kilns.
Intermediate Ceramics follows up on the technical and research skills learned in ART 1661 and ART 1662. Because of the high level of technical learning in this course, the content changes each semester. Recent topics include the figure, tile and surface, clay as intermediary material, functional design, slip-casting and mold-making, large-scale ceramics, and experimental raw material studies.
ART 2661 provides ceramics students with a broad range of skills, an increased opportunity to acquire personal methods and motivations for working, greater knowledge of raw materials and kiln firing, and greater research skills leading to concept development. This course prepares students for ART 4661.
Designed primarily as a self-directed creative semester, Advanced Ceramics is divided into studio and seminar components. For the studio component, students establish their own creative agendas while meeting with faculty—individually as well as in groups—to facilitate the adoption of successful studio methods leading towards significant artworks. For the seminar component, a central topic frames readings, discussions, research presentations, and writings while providing another way to view the individual creative production. Students are responsible for firing their own kilns, mixing and testing their glazes and clay bodies, and for sustaining a professional community of peer-artists.
During the semester of study in Senior Projects, students produce work for the Bachelor of Fine Arts exhibit while also projecting toward post-graduation objectives. Faculty work directly with students, addressing developments in the studio while also crafting professional documents including cover letters, resumes, artist statements, and photographed portfolios of artwork.
This course addresses the studio component of a graduate education while supplementing it with seminar study of a specific theme selected each semester. Working in independent studios, Master of Fine Arts students determine the direction of their work and investigation. Faculty meet regularly with MFA students in critiques aimed at extending creative intentions and increasing the students’ ability to articulate those objectives. Students meet for group critiques at various points throughout the semester. Readings, discussions, and research presentations round out the course.
After passing to thesis and selecting a thesis committee, graduate students enroll in ART 8000 Thesis Research: Ceramics with the chair of the thesis committee. Students are expected to write an articulate proposal outlining creative, formal, and research goals for the thesis year. Their work culminates in a written thesis and a professionally mounted solo exhibition.