Course Lists

Ceramics Course List

CE 200 Intro: Hand Built Form

Designed to introduce students to the discipline of hand-building in ceramics. Students learn the technical processes involved in forming and firing. Tools are introduced including the slab roller, extruder and others. Basic glaze and clay chemistry and physics will also be covered. These techniques are explored in the context of ceramic art historically and in its contemporary concerns. Students engage in making and research in these pursuits.

Prerequisite: Earned credit or concurrent enrollment in FF 130

CE 201 Intro: Wheel Thrown Form

Designed to introduce students to the discipline of wheel throwing in ceramics. Students 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 are also covered. These techniques are explored in the context of ceramic art historically and in its contemporary concerns. Students engage in making and research in these pursuits.

Prerequisite: Earned credit or concurrent enrollment in FF 130

CE 206 Glaze Workshop

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.

Prerequisite: Earned credit or concurrent enrollment in FF 130

CE 206C Raw Materials Workshop

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 course 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.

Prerequisite: Earned credit or concurrent enrollment in FF 130

CE 207 Kiln Workshop

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.

Prerequisite: Earned credit or concurrent enrollment in FF 130

CE 315 Wheel Throwing: Altered Forms

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 201

CE 324 Cast Ceramics

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: 3.00 earned credits of 200-level 3D coursework

CE 330 Kitsch-n-Kräft

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

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 course will combine several trajectories to deal with both these technical and conceptual layers. From higher temperatures to room temperature, this course 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

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 course 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.

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

CE 344 The Thing: Biomorphic Formulat

Have you heard the saying, “the thing about it is?" That moment when the brain formulates a spark of understanding from different forms of stimuli (gathered experience) will be the foundation for our work in this course. This is a project-based course that focuses on creating forms that visually interpret each artist’s perspective of “the thing” (the unseen, unheard and untouched). The course is designed as a mind mapping experience to support independent thought communicated through critical making. The course focuses on advanced hand building, surfacing/glaze techniques with innovation encouraged. Slideshows showcasing contemporary ceramic artists that deal with “the thing” will be presented, and we will consider ceramic traditions through an international lens. Through this course students will learn to use creative processes to formulate disparate concepts into ceramic sculpture. Cultural diversity, social issues, history, and design will be applied to the problem of our making.

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

CE 345 Ceramics: Problems in Design

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.

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

CE 347 Hybrid Methods

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 356 Adv Wheel: Utilitarian Vessel

Pottery is a distinct genre/category of art practice; with this in mind, utilitarian ceramic objects is the primary focus of this course. Projects ask the students to develop more advanced and resolved forms on the wheel which engage with the full potential of utilitarian form. Deeper exploration into appropriate clay and glaze choices, multiple firing options, and successful marriage of material, idea and process will be covered. Traditional and non-traditional wheel throwing techniques are introduced to expand and encourage skillful technical development/construction and presentation of finished work.

Prerequisite: CE 201

CE 360C Figuring Bodies

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 clay's 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 Cut & Paste

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

CE 380 Parameters: Research/Practice

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. 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 400 Thesis & Seminar I

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 Ceramics majors only

CE 401 Thesis & Seminar II

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 Ceramics majors only