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Ceramics Courses

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CE 101 Ceramics Handbuilding

Hand-building techniques such as coil, slab and press molding are taught as students gain knowledge of materials, glazing, and firing. Students begin working with earthenware clay and later explore Raku. Sculptural and functional issues are explored through various assignments and students gain knowledge and insight into issues of contemporary ceramics. Elective: 3 credits/semester; 6 hours/week. No prerequisite. May be taken by both beginning and more advanced students.

CE 130 Mystery, Material, Metaphor

In this course, students will be given the opportunity to evolve concepts that lend themselves to working with clay in nontraditional formats. Students might choose to use clay along with other materials or to use ceramic materials in innovative ways.  Students will investigate how materials inform and define concepts and how materials and process are used to carry meanings and history as well as practice.  Students will also be asked to understand how concepts can sometimes be more successfully realized through the use of clay along with multiple materials and will study the work of contemporary ceramic artists who explore the expressive possibilities of mixed materials.  Through a series of exercises and playful risk-taking, students will develop additional vocabularies of process and material, which will assist in visualizing their ideas.  Elective: 3 credits/semester; 6 hours/week.  No prerequisite.  

CE 201 Ceramics Throwing - Beginning

Wheel throwing is the primary means of making ceramic forms in this course.  Basic and advanced throwing skills, material concepts, glazing and firing are covered.  Reduction firing concepts are introduced as the students construct functional and nonfunctional forms in clay.  Students also gain familiarity with artists who currently use wheel processes to explore contemporary issues and design.  Elective: 3 credits/semester; 6 hours/week.  No prerequisite.  

CE 225 Tableware

In this ceramics course, students will use a specific topic-- tableware-to research, design, and create a minimum of 10 place settings and accompanying pieces. Techniques can be selected from any combination of handbuilding, throwing, slip casting or press-molding. During the first part of the course, students will explore the visual dynamics of sets. Arrangements and relationships of forms derived for specific functions will be studied and glaze choices and decorating options will be considered and tested. Students will also research a variety of artists that make dishes. After these initial investigations, students will carefully choose an appropriate clay body, technique, and glaze surface to design and create their10 place settings. Each setting will include a dinner plate, luncheon plate, dessert plate, soup/salad bowl, tumbler, mug or cup and saucer, and will also create an accompanying group of dishes selected from the following: serving bowls of various sizes, large serving platter, cream and sugar set, salt and pepper set, large pitcher, small pitcher, teapot.
3 credits/semester; 6 hours/week. Prerequisite: CE 101 or CE 201

CE 230 Clay, Culture and Content

In this course students will be encouraged to deal with subject matter from the realms of popular culture, current events, and social commentary. Students will be introduced to the concepts of visual irony, and paradox. Images and objects from everyday life will provide inspiration and source material. Students will use various strategies to organize visual elements and to construct forms in clay. These strategies include the use of surface imagery, surface collage, combined forms, and appropriated imagery, texture and form. Both vessel and sculptural form will be explored. Students will utilize a range of forming and surfacing techniques. Students will learn to organize both form and surface imagery/information to provide a coherent visual statement. The work of contemporary ceramics artist will be used to suggest a broad range of technical and conceptual possibilities.
Elective: 3 credits/semester; 6 hours/week. No prerequisite.

CE 240 Raku and Soda: Atmospheric Firing

In this course students will experience atmospheric firing through the processes of Raku and Soda-firing.  The nature of the kiln atmosphere in Raku and Soda Kilns create distinctive qualities on the surface of fired work.  Students will learn to view the firing process as part of the creative act of making the work complete.  Both Raku and Soda firing encourage the artist to create a dialogue between control and accident.  Student will learn to engage their work in this dynamic conversion.  The Raku process emphasizes quick firing and cooling.  Raku also employs a post-firing process called reduction.  Reduction happens in a controlled smoky environment that changes the clay surface and the glaze.  The Soda-firing process is longer in duration.  The surface color and texture of work is greatly affected by the soda sprayed into the kiln during the firing.   In this course students will be engaged in functional and sculptural assignments.  Students can use a range throwing and hand-building techniques during this course. Elective: 3 credits/semester; 6 hours/week. No prerequisite.  


CE 241 Surfaces: Exploration and Inquiry

This course is designed to offer students who have some experience with throwing or handbuilding the opportunity to fully engage with exploring surface processes and ideas. The first part of this course will offer students instruction in a wide variety of surface treatments to encourage experimentation. Both historical and contemporary work will serve as inspiration for understanding how pattern, imagery and the luminosity of glazes enrich ceramic forms. Some of the techniques to be covered include: inlay, sgrafitto, stencils, resist, glaze etching, decals, monoprinting, and china paints. Non-fired surfaces, such as encaustics and paint will also be examined. During the second part of the course, students will be given the opportunity to develop a body of work which critically employs one or more of these surface treatments. This course lends itself to pottery, ceramic sculpture, and clay figurative work.

CE 250 Slip Casting and Press Molding

Clay is a very flexible material; it can be shaped and formed by numerous methods and processes. In this course students will explore the unique properties of liquid casting slip in addition to the more familiar plastic clay. Students will be introduced to methods of forming clay that use plaster and bisque clay molds. Tile making will be explored using simple press molds. Slump and hump molds will be used to make both functional and sculptural forms. Simple and multi-piece slip casting molds will be used to replicate found objects. Students will learn to make singular objects, and then proceed to methods for creating more complex combined forms. This course will introduce a range of experiences that build skill and conceptual understanding. Work of contemporary ceramic artists will be shown to demonstrate possibilities and provide context. Elective: 3 credits/semester; 6 hours/week. No prerequisite.

CE 260 Porcelain

In this course students will explore the nature of porcelain clay.  Porcelain clay is noted for its whiteness and density.  Porcelain possesses the ability to create a range of forms from thick and rock-like to thin and translucent.  Originating in China, porcelain has an iconic status in historical ceramics and it remains a key material in the studio practice of contemporary ceramics.  The course will cover both high-fire porcelain fired in a gas reduction kiln and mid-range porcelain fired to C/6 in an electric kiln.   The atmosphere in the gas and electric kilns offer very different color possibilities for glazes, slips and under glazes.  Students will become familiar with properties and qualities that are possible in these two temperature ranges.  Both vessel and sculptural formats will be explored.  Students will utilize a range of forming and surfacing techniques that will build upon the student’s prior throwing and hand-building experiences.  Students will learn to organize both form and surface design to provide a coherent visual statement.  The work of contemporary ceramic artists will be used to suggest a broad range of technical and conceptual possibilities.  Students will be required to conduct research in periodicals, books, and online at the beginning of each assignment.  Elective: 3 credits/semester; 6 hours/week.  Prerequisite: CE 101 or 201.

CE 301-302 Ceramics III: Majors Studio

This course fosters the development of a personal sense of direction with a combination of assignments and individual choice.  As a result, students increase vocabularies of skill and concept.  Students also learn to relate their work to historical and contemporary issues.  Additionally, students learn the operation of a variety of kilns and explore advanced issues in mold making and slip casting.  A combination of group discussions and demonstrations, shared and individual crits, and one-on-one dialogue further augment the growth and maturation of studio work.  Major requirement: 3 credits/semester; 6 hours/week.  Prerequisite:  Ceramic Major

Junior Ceramic Majors will take CE 351 Introduction to the Discipline in Fall 2013 and therefore juniors will register for SEM 451 Professional Studio in Fall 2012.

CE 305 Ceramics Throwing - Advanced

In this ceramics course, the student will build upon throwing skills developed in CE 201 and/or other existing throwing skills.   Complex forms are studied including pouring vessels, lidded containers, plates, platters, and teapots. Techniques of creating handles, knobs, and other appendages will be studied.  Students will develop skills necessary to make larger forms by stacking and joining thrown sections.   Students will learn to establish relationships between functional objects in a set, and will explore the creative potential of altering and manipulating thrown forms. Exploration of surface decorating techniques and glaze solutions will be included. Stoneware will be used predominately with an option for use of porcelain.  Elective: 3 credits/semester; 6 hours/week. Prerequisite for CE 305 is CE 201.

CE 311 Glaze Chemistry & Kiln Firing

The purpose of this course is to begin the process of understanding the nature of ceramic materials and to familiarize students with basic understandings of various firing processes.  Assignments and lectures emphasize the theory and practice of formulating clay bodies and glazes with the goal of having students develop a vocabulary of materiality and process for use in their studio work. Elective: 3 credits/semester; 6 hours/week.  No prerequisites - open to all students/ majors have priority.

CE 351 Introduction to the Discipline of Ceramics and it’s Influence

The class begins by examining the importance of ceramics in everyday life throughout human history. Emphasis is on the wide spectrum of objects created, including pottery, ritualistic vessels, architectural decoration, and figurative clay sculpture. Students study the methods, forms and uses of ceramics within Asian, Islamic, European, African and the Americans cultures. In understanding the role of ceramics within these cultures, students become familiar with the myths, religious underpinnings, mores, and philosophical viewpoints, which are incorporated in the making of the objects. Once this foundation has been established, students learn how contemporary ceramic artists are inspired by their history. Lastly, students will bring this accumulated study back to their studio and incorporate it into a self-assignment that will reflect upon and respond to some aspect of ceramic history that they wish to include in their art. Major requirement. 3 credits; 6 hours/week. Prerequisites: Ceramics Major or permission of instructor.

CE 401-402 Ceramics IV: Majors Studio

Students develop a mature body of work in preparation for the Senior Thesis Exhibition.  Students are offered the necessary instruction and support needed to pursue in-depth explorations of ideas and processes of their own choosing.  Demonstrations, readings, discussions, and critical reviews continue the conceptual, aesthetical and technical development of studio work.  Upon the successful completion of the senior studio, students are ready to begin their professional careers.  Major requirement: 3 credits/semester; 6 hours/week.  Prerequisite:  Successful completion of CE 301-302