Ceramics II

Course Number: ART 256
Transcript Title: Ceramics II
Created: September 1, 2012
Updated: January 22, 2016
Total Credits: 3
Lecture Hours: 0
Lecture / Lab Hours: 60
Lab Hours: 0
Satisfies Cultural Literacy requirement: No
Satisfies General Education requirement: Yes
Grading options: A-F (default), P-NP, audit
Repeats available for credit: 2

Course Description

Explores advanced ceramic processes. Develops and encourages creative problem solving by utilizing more advance ceramic techniques (i.e. work on and off the potter's wheel, glazes and firing procedures). Refines critical skills necessary to evaluate ceramics through critiques, discussions, and ceramic presentations by exploring artistic intent, examining aesthetic and structural solutions, and expanding perceptual awareness of ceramics. This is the second of a two course sequence. Prerequisite: Art 253. May be taken up to three times for credit. Audit available.

Intended Outcomes

Upon successful completion students should be able to:

  1. Find and develop creative ways to solve design problems using a variety of strategies for making ceramics.
  2. Create personal works in clay, which demonstrate an advance level of understanding of ceramic ideas, materials and techniques with ceramics.
  3. Ask meaningful questions, identify ideas and issues, and develop a basic vocabulary so as to be able to actively participate in a critical dialogue about ceramics with others.
  4. Understand, interpret, and enjoy ceramics of the past and the present from different cultures so as to be able to initiate a lifelong process of expanding one’s knowledge on the diversity of perspectives of the human experience.
  5. Develop a heightened awareness of the physical world, the nature of the relationship of human beings to it, and our impact on it via the experience of making ceramics.
  6. Establish self critiquing skills so as to develop autonomous expression through ceramics while recognizing the standards and definitions already established by both contemporary and historical works of art from different cultures.

Alignment with Institutional Core Learning Outcomes

1. Communicate effectively using appropriate reading, writing, listening, and speaking skills. (Communication)
2. Creatively solve problems by using relevant methods of research, personal reflection, reasoning, and evaluation of information. (Critical thinking and Problem-Solving)
3. Apply the knowledge, skills and abilities to enter and succeed in a defined profession or advanced academic program. (Professional Competence)
4. Appreciate cultural diversity and constructively address issues that arise out of cultural differences in the workplace and community. (Cultural Awareness)
5. Recognize the consequences of human activity upon our social and natural world. (Community and Environmental Responsibility)

Outcome Assessment Strategies

Students will do the following in order to be assessed:

  • Make creative, appropriately crafted, challenging ceramic solutions to given provocations using various techniques.
  • Comprehend and apply analysis of ceramic ideas, techniques, terminology, and issues through participation in formal critiques and discussions.
  • Develop conceptual ideas through the practice of creative research and preparatory studies (e.g. sketchbooks, journals, maquettes, models, writing assignments, presentations, technical practice tests, etc.).

Course Content (Themes, Concepts, Issues and Skills)


  • Strategies for developing ideas (i.e. experiencing and playing with materials, imagining, dreaming, visualizing, symbolizing, writing, reading, researching, studying historical and cultural examples, sketching, collaborating, discussing)
  • Strategies for problem solving towards concretions of ideas in ceramic form (i.e. sketches, plans, maquettes, test pieces, models)
  • Perception and Art
  • Form and Content
  • Interpreting art

Historical and Cultural Contexts

  • Concepts, theories, and issues addressed by various cultures and historical periods.
  • Concepts, theories, and issues addressed by contemporary ceramists from different cultures.
  • Relationships between form and content in works of art from different cultures and historical periods.
  • The roles of art and artists in different cultures
  • Intercultural and "interhistorical" influences (e.g. the influence of world ceramics on contemporary western ceramics.)

Ceramic Forms and Perceptual Impact

  • Visual/physical elements used to create ceramic form: point, line, plane, shape, form, marks, texture, shadow, light, value, color, space, sound, smell, weight, volume, mass, text, etc.
  • Relationships of characteristics within visual/physical elements (e.g. proportion, length, thickness, position, orientation, scale, weight, interrelationship of shapes, relative value and color, movement and stillness, quality of texture, etc.)
  • Strategies for manipulating visual/physical elements as a means of formal composition and expression (e.g. arrange, juxtapose, relate, contrast, group, balance, unify, repeat, edit, elaborate, classify, divide, increase, decrease, maximize, minimize, dissect, separate, align, vary, diversify, alternate, reduce, connect, etc.)
  • The relationship between material and form and their visual/physical impact (i.e. a coil acts as a line, an indentation in a form is simultaneously perceived as a mark, a clay body is chosen for its surface texture, color, workability, strength, etc., a glaze is chosen for its color, opacity, durability and sheen, a material is chosen for its associative qualities, etc.)

Materials and Techniques

  • Gravity and the basic forces of tension and compression.
  • Materials and meaning
  • Within a 3 term cycle, the below should be included:
    • Creation and alteration of form (i.e. hand building and wheel throwing processes for shaping clay).
    • Surface treatments (i.e. slips, terra sigillatas, glazes and glaze materials: their design, formulation, chemistry, preparation and use, the effective viscosity of them for firing applications, visual and verbal language in differentiating glaze surfaces in terms of their qualities for practical, functional and or artistic purposes.)
    • Differentiation of clay bodies, their physical and historical traits, composition, preparation and utilization.
    • Energy sources and their inherent effect on the clay, glaze and kiln.
    • Cognitive and practical awareness of the firing options (e.g. bisque, gas reduction, oxidation, raku, pit-fire, wood, soda, salt, luster, low-fire, etc.)
    • Safety and environmental concerns of materials and techniques: proper disposal of waste, proper safety attire to be used when working with specific materials, health related concerns, sources of information on these subjects.
  • Critical Analysis
    • Purposes of criticism and analysis of artworks: deepen understanding, reflect on level of quality and possible improvements, heighten creative decision making by observing decisions made by others and oneself, establish and maintain high standards of achievement, ask questions, find new connections, create autonomy and creative confidence, create new problems to solve, discuss art with others to expose oneself to multiple perspective etc.
    • Vocabulary relevant to ideas, materials, and techniques pertaining to ceramics.
    • Application, interpretation, and redefinition of ceramic ideas, connection of historical and cultural contexts, personal expression and creative freedom.
    • Aspects of criticism: formal, conceptual, historical, cultural, experiential etc.

Competencies and Skills

The successful student should be able to do the following:

  • Find resources for materials and tools used in making ceramics.
  • Conduct research to develop ideas, perspectives, and influences from a variety of sources.
  • Employ a variety of strategies to solve problems encountered in the process of realizing an idea for a ceramic form. Students will be able to make models, sketches, maquettes, material tests, etc.
  • Use a variety of conceptual strategies to create ceramics.
  • Use the proper safety/health equipment and procedures in working with ceramics.
  • Make interesting, challenging, appropriately crafted ceramics that are personally meaningful.
  • Understand and apply vocabulary necessary to discuss the formal, conceptual, and technical aspects of ceramics.
  • Analyze and enjoy the formal and perceptual concerns of ceramics.
  • Communicate with others on a variety of levels (i.e. formal, conceptual etc.) on the subject of ceramics.
  • Assess the ways in which art objects are affected by personal perspectives and experiences.
  • Make historical and cultural connections in determining meaning and understanding of art.
  • Enables student to begin preparing a portfolio of ceramic work.

Department Notes

A sense of curiosity and a willingness to experiment are helpful. A cognitive comprehension of college level English is required.