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Ceramics Course List

View titles & descriptions for the Ceramics department's courses offered.

Click a Course's Title to read its description .

Course # Course Title Credits
CE 200 Intro: Hand Building 3 credits
This course is designed to introduce students to the discipline of handbuilding in ceramics. Students will learn the technical processes involved in forming and firing. Tools will be introduced including the slab roller, extruder and others. Basic glaze and clay chemistry and physics will also be covered. These techniques will be explored in the context of ceramic art historically and in its contemporary concerns. Students will engage in making and research in these pursuits.

Prerequisite: FF 101

CE 201 Intro: Wheel Thrown Form 3 credits
This course is designed to introduce students to the discipline of wheel throwing in ceramics. Students will focus on the wheel as a tool that can be used to approach a wide variety of forms. Basic glaze and clay chemistry and physics will also be covered. These techniques will be explored in the context of ceramic art historically and in its contemporary concerns. Students will engage in making and research in these pursuits.

Prerequisite: FF 101

CE 206 Ceramics:Glaze Workshop 1.5 credits
Initiates students to the many possibilities of fired glaze surfaces. A basic understanding of the chemistry of glaze formulation leads to experimentation and testing for various firing ranges, color, and texture possibilities to enhance the student's personal direction and goals in the studio program. Two 1.5 credits workshops in the 3D area will combine to fulfill a 3-credit studio elective.

Prerequisite: FF 101

CE 206C Raw Materials Workshop 1.5 credits
Ceramic minerals and rocks can be thousands and sometimes of millions of years old, removed from the earth and shipped to us as random bags of colored powder. This class seeks to dispel the mystery of these powders, restore the geologic history of the materials artists usually take for granted, and develop an understanding of their behavior within the ceramic medium. Includes study of each of the major chemicals that make up clay bodies and glazes, creating a base knowledge of what these minerals do and how these materials behave. Introduces clay body formulation for a variety of approaches and effects. Two 1.5 credits workshops in the 3D area will combine to fulfill a 3-credit studio elective.

Prerequisite: FF 101

CE 207 Ceramics:Kiln Workshop 1.5 credits
Everything you ever wanted to know about kilns, now you can ask. After clay itself kilns are the most important ceramic tools. Discussion will include the history of kilns to contemporary designs and materials, kiln design and the effects that can be achieved by using specific kilns. Experimental kilns will be built and fired. Emphasis will be on the department's gas and electric kilns to familiarize students with their operation, from loading to maintenance and repair. Two 1.5 credits workshops in the 3D area will combine to fulfill a 3-credit studio elective

Prerequisite: FF 101

CE 310 Ceramic Tile & Mural 3 credits
This course explores both historic and contemporary approaches to tile design, forming techniques, and decorating processes involved in ceramic wall murals. Students will work from flat to low and high relief formats and experiment with tile as modular units in repeat pattern to free form imagery. Mold making for casting and impressing tile as well as tile mural installation techniques will be covered. Personal direction will be emphasized after initial exploration of basic forming and finishing techniques. Field trips and visiting artists will be scheduled.

Prerequisite: Introductory 3D course (CE 200/201 or FB 200 or IS 200 or IS 202)

CE 311 Ceramic Tile & Mural II 3 credits
Continuation of Tile and Mural I. Will explore both historic and contemporary approaches to tile design, forming techniques, and decorating processes involved in ceramic wall murals. Students will work from flat to low and high relief formats and experiment with tile as modular units in repeat pattern to free from imagery. Mold making for casting and impressing tile as well as tile mural installation techniques will be covered. Personal direction will be emphasized after exploration of basic forming and finishing techniques. Field trip and visiting will be scheduled.
CE 313 Firing Outcomes 3 credits
This is a ceramic class with many glaze solutions. Students create a body of work starting with a central theme in the first four weeks of class. Variations on the theme are created to examine the different possibilities available to finish the work. First we fire in ^04 oxidation and then ^6 reduction examining the potentials of clays and glaze at each temperature. The final week (July 25-July 29) we travel to upstate Pennsylvania for a 5 day intensive firing event. The class camps (tents & sleeping bags are provided) on a 10 acre property and glaze, load and fire a wood burning kiln. While the kiln is cooling we explore Raku firing. This class is a chance to explore what glaze surface is appropriate for the form and function of each piece. Prior ceramic experience is needed.
CE 315 Wheel Throwing: Altered Forms 3 credits
Focuses on using the potter's wheel as a tool but not as an end in and of itself. The wheel then becomes a jumping-off point for questions about form, functional and sculptural. Students build new skills and refine existing ones, creating more inventive, larger and more complicated forms. A number of firing and finishing options will also be covered.

Prerequisite: CE 200 or CE 201

CE 324 Cast Ceramics 3 credits
Learning the basics of plaster mold design from simple open-face, one-piece press molds to more complex, multiple-piece, slip-cast systems, students explore the creative studio potentials of what are usually thought of as industrial ceramic techniques. Casting gives the artist the ability to quickly replicate original designs from tile and other low-relief, to full three-dimensional forms. Likewise, by capturing in plaster practically any form, texture, or material, natural or manufactured, the ceramist can borrow, alter, manipulate, rearrange, assemble, or mimic the "real" into their own sculptural or functional vision.

Prerequisite: 3 Credits of 200 Level 3D Coursework

CE 328 Ubiquitous Object 3 credits
Since the Industrial Revolution, studio ceramics has paralleled the production of everyday utilitarian objects while simultaneously distancing itself from a perception of a cold, lifeless, aesthetic present in industrially produced objects. By linking traditional practice with a close examination of objects that are typically deemed beneath notice, students look at ceramics as a material and as a contextual history with a broader lens. This class provokes questions surrounding the dichotomy of ubiquity, function, making and meaning by asking for close examination of objects that are often regarded as to be so lacking in value that they are frequently considered disposable. Nothing is served by defining the borders between ubiquitous object and art object, but a lot may be instigated by pushing these borders.

Prerequisite: FF 101

CE 330 Kitsch-n-Kräft 3 credits
This course will celebrate the Crisco white underbelly of ceramics by looking at the kitsch history of the material and its roll in framing cultural viewpoints. This course will plumb the aesthetics of the cheap and forgotten, the DIY, glitter and glue. In this class, we will look at figurines, lawn ornaments, commemorative objects and yes, even ashtrays. We will be engaged in the study of objects that might be found in a double wide, or tossed into the rubbish heap of aesthetic cultural detritus. Assignments will be structured so as to study and to inquire: What IS kitsch? As the semester progresses, students will be expected to evolve an independent body of work. There will be some readings and research required.

Prerequisite: CE 200, CE 201, or one 300-level CE course

CE 333 On the Surface 3 credits
Skin, glaze, pattern, decoration, ornamentation...these terms frame our experience of the surface of ceramics. The surface of ceramic art is an incredibly complex technical issue and is loaded with aesthetic, emotional, and political questions. This class will combine several trajectories to deal with both these technical and conceptual layers. From higher temperatures to room temperature, this class will introduce students to the technical issues of surface and multiple firings and will ask them to consider surface within the politics of reference, both historical and contemporary. Glaze chemistry, firing approaches, commercial surfaces as well as digital approaches to generating decoration, pattern and ornamentation are covered within the social and political history of surface in ceramics. The course uses research, writing, and studio practice in its investigation.

Prerequisite: CE 200 or CE 201

CE 335 In Situ: Site Specific Work 3 credits
In its natural or original position or place; in position; - said specif., in geology, of a rock, soil, or fossil, when in the situation in which it was originally formed or deposited. (Webster's, 1913) This class will focus on site-specific work in ceramics. Projects may take the form of architectural ceramics, large scale sculpture and installation, public art, ceramic design, functional pottery, community engaging practice, etc. The potential for conceptual, visual, and functional activation of space will be explored. Students will gain valuable building and surface skills through simple but effective construction techniques. The course will be taught through demonstrations, lectures and readings. Assignments will be both individual and collaborative.

Prerequisite: CE 200, CE 201, or one 300-level CE course

CE 345 Ceramics: Problems in Design 3 credits
This class will be inspired by Bruce Mau's "Incomplete Manifesto for Growth" focusing its potential on Ceramic problems in design as a multidisciplinary practice; one that integrates many areas and crosses boundaries. From architectural tiles/cladding systems to domestic forms, this class will ask students to re-imagine contemporary ceramic product design and focus on design problems that utilize clay's potential in the development of original concepts and objects. Prototyping, small edition processes utilizing slip-casting in plaster molds and some new technologies will be explored. The course will be taught through demonstrations, lectures and readings. Assignments will be both individual and collaborative.

Prerequisite: CE 200, CE 201, or one 300-level CE course

CE 347 Hybrid Methods 3 credits
Ceramics is the most ancient of technologies, rooted deep in our history. Ceramics is also a cutting-edge technology used in many aspects of industrial design. This class looks at where these worlds meet, exploring hybrid methods; the relationship between the machine and hand-made; combines the newest technologies available in the Art-Tech Center with processes and practices utilized in the ceramics studio; explores interdisciplinary practices: industry, design, science, and art; and focuses on inventing new ways of making as well as challenging the boundaries between technologies. The course uses research, written assignments, and studio practice in its investigation.

Prerequisite: CE 200 or CE 201

CE 350 Botched Taxidermy 3 credits
Animals have been replicated in art since the cave paintings at Lascaux; it is difficult to imagine humans evolving as successfully as we have without them. This class looks at the animal as fetish, the animal as muse, the animal as icon; the animal body, animals in history, animals in society, animals as commodity; domestication and wildness, anatomy, and phylogeny. This is a ceramics class but use of multiple material approaches is welcomed. Begins with assignments, but as the semester progresses, students are expected to evolve an independent body of work. Some readings and research are required.

Prerequisite: FF101+ 3 Credits of 200 Level 3D Coursework

CE 360B Cer Studio I:Material Contexts 3 credits
Explores the use of ceramic and non-ceramic materials in the larger context of sculptural possibilities. Questions regarding the appropriateness of materials to concept and the limitations and possibilities inherent to materials are addressed. Students are expected to test, challenge, and redefine those parameters in the context of their own works. The use of a multitude of materials and processes is fully supported; as always, the challenges lie within making technically and conceptually suitable choices. After an introductory assignment, students are asked to integrate their own concerns and research into a cohesive body of work. A variety of clay bodies-including porcelain, stoneware, and red earthenware-are available. An emphasis on research and introspection is expected. Students are asked to make presentations based on this research.

Prerequisite: CE 200, CE 201, or one 300-level CE course

CE 360C Cer Studio I: Figuring Bodies 3 credits
This course addresses the hollow hand-built ceramic figure. Students investigate clay’s ability to record gesture from inside and out and examines the emotional impact of opening, fragmenting, and distorting the figure. Special attention is paid to developing evocative poses and characters. Students contrast active and static poses, experimenting with the relationship between the figure and its audience and explore how particular clays and firing surfaces shape our perception of the human figure. Through periodic slide lectures students are introduced to ceramic traditions from Asia, Africa, Europe, and the Americas. The class also looks closely at contemporary figurative work being produced in clay. While clay is the primary media, students also include found objects in some compositions and investigate working other media directly into ceramic figures.

Prerequisite: CE 200, CE 201, or one 300-level CE course

CE 360E Cer Studio I: Cut & Paste 3 credits
Ceramics is perceived as a linear medium, form-fire-glaze-fire. This perception limits the medium’s range and potential, and underestimates its relevance to contemporary and more flexible practices. This course focuses on breaking this approach apart to look at the medium’s potential within collage, mixed media, and installation frameworks, studying these approaches through the introduction of new forming and deconstructing methods, the technical issues and requirements around combining clay with other materials and processes, and the conceptual implications of exploring the medium in its many states, from raw to fired. Issues of site-specific and research-based studio practices are discussed and explored. The group engages in research, collaborative discussions, and local excursions in its investigation. Prerequisite: CE 200 or CE 201.

Prerequisite: CE 200 or CE 201

CE 361A Cer Studio II: Intimate Object 3 credits
American art has often been obsessed with the notion that 'bigger is better.' Yet artists such as Richard Notkin and Kathy Butterly have made powerful and moving work that generally occupies a space that fits within the palm of a hand. This class will explore the notion of the significant small-scale object. Students will explore concepts surrounding monumentality, intimacy and fetishism, among others, through the creation of diminutively scaled objects. Although this is a ceramics course, the use of non-ceramic materials is fully supported, as long as they are technically and conceptually appropriate to the inquiry.

Prerequisite: CE 200, CE 201, or one 300-level CE course

CE 361C Cer Studio II:Material Context 3 credits
This class will explore the use of ceramic materials in the larger context oof sculptural possibilities. Students will be encouraged to bring their expertise, questions and explorations from other areas, be they studio based or academic, to the production of new work. Questions will be raised regarding the appropriateness of materials to concept, and about the limitations and possibilities inherent to materials. Students are encouraged, indeed expected, to test, challenge and redefine those parameters in the context of their own works. This process will be augmented through examples of historical antecedents. The use of a multitude of materials and processes is fully supported. As always, the challenges lie within making technically and conceptually suitable choices. After an introductory assignment, students will be asked to integrate their own concerns/research/explorations into a cohesive body of work. A variety of clay bodies including porcelain, stoneware and red earthware will be available. An emphasis on research and introspection is expected. Students will be asked to present based on this research.

Prerequisite: CE 200, CE 201, or one 300-level CE course

CE 380 Parameters: Research/Practice 3 credits
Central to an artist's practice is an ability to understand the parameters of the work or pedagogy of the studio, and the inquiry of research. Through focused research, artists gain a greater understanding of their own voice, and a greater clarity in articulating their ideas in material and meaning. 'Parameters' is a research driven course designed as an intermediary between more assignment based studio courses, and a more independent approach to learning. In this class, the topic of study is the research process itself. Assignments will focus on methods of developing and clarifying the ways artists can engage with history and technique. This course is centered on a personal and passionate engagement with the work of the artist, and additionally will involve discussions of writings by artists and historians focusing on the space of the artist’s studio.

Prerequisite: CE 200, CE 201, or one 300-level CE course

CE 390 Special Topics in Ceramics 3 credits
This course will focus on a set of themes, concepts of techniques unique to the instructor’s approach and expertise.

Prerequisite: 3 Credits of 200 Level 3D Coursework

CE 398 Ceramics Independent Study 3 credits
For students wishing to work with a particular instructor on subject matter not covered by regularly scheduled classes, a special independent study class may be taken. A contract is required, including signatures of the instructor and the student's department chair. This class may not be used to substitute for a department's core requirement or senior thesis / senior independent. Learning contract required before registration. Minimum of junior class standing and 3.0 GPA required.

Prerequisite: students at the Junior/Senior level with a Cumulative Grade Point Average of at least 3.000

CE 400 Senior Thesis & Seminar I 6 credits
In this course, students develop a coherent body of personal independent work to be completed during senior year for final presentation to a jury selected from sculptural studies faculty. The course consists of thesis and seminar. In Thesis, students develop their personal work with periodic critiques to discuss progress, content, and process are conducted by faculty and guest critics. In Seminar, professional materials, practices, critical writing are developed as well as a written thesis/artist’s statement evolving to accompany studio work.

Senior level Ceramics majors only

CE 401 Senior Thesis & Seminar II 6 credits
The continuation of CE 400 leading to the final presentation of a body of work for exhibition to a jury of interdisciplinary sculpture faculty. The course consists of thesis and seminar. In Thesis, students develop their personal work with periodic critiques to discuss progress, content, and process are conducted by faculty and guest critics. In Seminar, professional materials, practices, critical writing are developed as well as a written thesis/artist’s statement evolving to accompany studio work.

Senior level Ceramics majors only

CE 460 Ceramics Studio III 3-6 credits
Advanced-level studio in which students develop individual projects in consultation with the instructor. Students are expected to work independently but to maintain the studio hours of this course plus a minimum of three hours outside of class time per week. Periodic critiques of progress, content, and process are conducted by faculty and invited critics.

Prerequisite: Any 300-Level Ceramics Course

CE 461 Ceramics Studio IV 3 credits
Advanced-level studio in which students develop individual projects in consultation with the instructor. Students are expected to work independently but to maintain the studio hours of this course plus a minimum of three hours outside of class time per week. Periodic critiques of progress, content, and process are conducted by faculty and invited critics.

Prerequisite: Any 300-Level Ceramics Course

SS 300 Junior Seminar 3 credits
This seminar for juniors working in IS, FIB, CE will create an environment of dialogue, interaction and collaboration where they develop distinct aesthetic positions while investigating their individual themes and the media, forms, structures, processes and procedures used. Students will critically interact with their artworks, documenting thematic aspects through still photos, video clips, etc. along with corresponding interactive writings. Next they’ll collate correlated information, such as other artists’ artworks plus anything else that contextualizes and elaborates on individual themes. Then they’ll arrange it all within a distinct “construct” typifying their personal “Visual Verbal Journey”. The idea is to create a “place” where you, your artworks, correlative situations, and interactive writings can imaginatively coexist in constant renewal, continuously generating new thoughts and new possibilities for new ways of working with your themes. Weekly in-class teacher and student presentations will be “housed” at a student website using PmWiki with its collaborative authoring function providing us with an extensive collection of readings, writings and critiquing representative of the aesthetic diversity of the class.

Juniors and Seniors only.

SS 415 Digital Fab: Studio Research 3 credits
Digital Fabrication Studio Research is an advanced course in digital fabrication that explores specific topics through project-based research. Workshops, lectures, online learning modules, and other programming establish the background and supporting skills required for the theme of that semester’s class. With this foundation, students pursue research regarding the development of new digital fabrication processes (hardware/software/materials) or creative applications of existing technologies. Projects will often be advanced through interdisciplinary collaborative teams, and students will work across departments at MICA and often with others outside of the school. Learning and implementing effective methodologies, protocols, and tools for collaborative research will be a significant aspect of the course. Student will develop and maintain a process portfolio that will serve as an effective support for “publishing” this research, which may take a variety of forms. Themes for the class will vary each semester and will include topics such as 3D printer development, experimental robotic fabrication, parametric weaving, material exploration and development, biomimetics, biofabrication, algorithmic fabrication, experimental 3D input methods, or open research.

Prerequisite: IS 320 or AD320(before Fall 2014)/AD 351 (Fall 2014 and after), or permission of instructor.