231 Introduction to Ceramics
Aquinas Hall, 773-8546
Magnus College, New Haven, CT ________________________________________________________________________
This course is intended for those studying ceramics for the first time and
is a comprehensive introduction to the craft of clay working. The primary
emphasis is on studio work leading to a portfolio of finished pieces by the
end of the semester. In addition to demonstrations of technique and technical
assignments, you should take a field trip to view historic and contemporary
examples of fine ceramic art. Periodically throughout the term, I will show
slides or films to help illustrate what you are learning.
The main goal of this course is that you will be able to create as well as
appreciate expressive, beautiful three dimensional clay forms. You will have
an understanding of other cultures and periods of human expression In clay
and finally you will begin to be proficient at forming clay objects yourself.
Topics this semester will include:
Introduction to clay the material... where It comes from, how It was formed,
how it is gathered, early methods for forming clay objects, pinching and coiling.
Introduction to the potters wheel, centering the clay, forming bowls and cylinders...
trimming and burnishing on the wheel.
How sculpture is made with clay, slab construction, extrusion, tile making
and slip casting.
Texturing and coloring clay, color used in clay and slips, engobes,. oxides
and underglazes as well as non traditional decorative techniques including
acrylic paint and dye.
Glazing: The function of glazes and how they are made up... simple glaze testing...
proper application, health and safety.
Firing... Firing methods used through out history Including a primitive pit
firing and oxidation firing.
The main emphasis will be on your work, your growth in the medium, your ability
to create expressive, unified and cohesive three dimensional forms in clay.
Learning Outcomes for this Class:
-You will learn about clay and glaze composition and formulation.
-A primary emphasis will be on handbuilt ceramic forms. You will learn to
increase the scale of your work all the while keeping control over the quality,
coherence and contour of your work.
-You will explore a variety of hanbuilding methods including extended pinch,
slab built and extruded forms.
-You will learn firing and glazing methods for stoneware clay.
-To appreciate ceramics from an historical perspective through study of original
pieces at the Yale Art Gallery that span from neolithic times through to the
-To appreciate how a unified, coherent form that is finely crafted is beautiful
in its own right.
-To understand how finishing and decorating contribute or detract from your
intention as an artist.
Attend all classes, care about the work you are doing in class, see it through,
visit the ceramics studio between classes to move your work along, help others
in the class to succeed, keep the studio clean. The final grade is based on
a portfolio of fifteen vessles showing good progress in the medium. The portfolio
may include wheel thrown, slab built, pinched or extended pinch, or extruded
pots. Attendence is crucial. A maximum of 3 absences is allowed, with or without
a valid excuse.
Tradition of Honor: As a member of the Albertus Magnus College Community, each student taking this course agrees to uphold the principles of honor set forth by this community, to defend these principles against abuse or misuse and to abide by the regulations of the College. In art work, that means you have created all of your artwork.
Tradition of Respect: In our class: 1) Everyone is allowed to feel they can work and learn in a safe and caring environment; 2) Everyone learns about, understands, appreciates, and respects varied races, classes, genders, physical and mental abilities, and sexualities; 3) Everyone matters; 4) All individuals are to be respected and treated with dignity and civility; and 5) Everyone shares the responsibility for making our class, and the College, a positive and better place to live, work, and learn.
All clay, glazes and firing will be purchased for you for the class. I will
provide all of the tools as well. A lab fee of $50 has been assesed on your
bill to cover the cost of these materials.
Valley of the Potters
A poetic exploration of the traditional pottery produced in the village of El-Nazla in Fayoum, Egypt. According to anthropologists these potters production technique predates the invention of the pottery wheel, which was invented during the pharaonic age.
In the memory of Ahmed Abu Zeid, a great inspiration and a true artist.
Cinematography: Seif el Din Khaled
Editing: Seif el Din Khaled & Ahmed Safy el-Din
Narration: Mohannad Haj
Ceramics Monthly. 1609
Northwest Blvd., Columbus , Ohio 43212
"The world's most widely read ceramic arts magazine"
Studio Potter. Box 172,
Warner, New Hampshire 03278
"Studio Potter is a magazine for the community of potters everywhere. It is
written by potters and directed toward fellow-potters who earn their living
by making pots...".
American Craft. American
Craft Council, 44 W. 53rd. St., NY, NY. 10019
American Craft Council and American
Craft Museum, NYC
Marks: Discovering the Ceramic Surface by Robin Hopper
Craft and Art of Clay (3rd Edition) (Paperback), Susan Petersen
Centering in Pottery, Poetry and Person. M.C. Richards, Middletown,
CT., Wesleyan University Press, 1964, 1989..."CENTERING: that act which precedes
all others on the potter's wheel..."
Potter's Book. Bernard Leach, Faber and Faber, London, 1960 This
is the definitive "classic" work which set the stage for the revival
of clay craft in Europe and America.
and Glazes for the Potter. Daniel Rhodes, Radnor, PA.: Chilton,
2000, Another "classic"
Yale Art Gallery. Greek and
Roman pottery, ground floor, Asian and contemporary ceramics, Fourth Floor
Creative Arts Workshop, Audubon Street Gallery/shop
Wave Gallery, Chapel Street Resources on the
WWW: The Ceramics Web - Web
page devoted to ceramics, based at San Diego State University.
ClayNet - Now hosted
at About.com- Form of news, tips, techniques
Introduction to the course. Demonstration: Pinch pots, small closed forms
Demonstration: Larger spherical forms World Wide Web Resources
Wheel throwing demonstration Film: The Potters of Bindapur, India Kiln loading
and firing demonstration
Demonstration: Slab building Techniques Soft Slab, leather hard slab Press
mould, drape mould, etc.
Trip to Yale Art Gallery: Greek,Roman and Egyptian, Japenese and Chinese Pottery
Demonstration: Glazing, glaze testing and formulationů.application
Film: Maria Martinez, Pueblo Potter Finish up current projects
Last week of class: Critiques
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