Teacher helping a student work with ceramics

Ceramics Concentration

The ceramics concentration allows students to investigate and develop a deeper understanding of one of the Earth’s most abundant and easily manipulated materials— clay. Clay is one of the most technically challenging materials to work with and has a long and expansive history of being used by people of almost all cultures to make utilitarian wares for the preparation, cooking, and storage of food.

More recently, since the early 1950’s, clay has also been embraced by artists as a material to create unique objects for the sole purpose of artistic expression. Students studying ceramics will have the opportunity to improve and hone technical skills, further develop creative and critical thinking abilities, and cultivate their own artistic voice in a supportive, yet challenging, studio environment. Students are encouraged, as they progress through the concentration, to foster an appreciation of the broad potential and inherent complexities of clay through experimentation and personal discovery.

Ultimately, advanced level students articulate their individual interests and develop a focused direction in their work. Possibilities could include aesthetically considered functional work, expressive vessel or sculptural forms, or conceptual installation. A variety of topics related to ceramics and studio practice are also included in the curriculum—an introduction to different clay bodies, making clay and glazes, construction techniques, glaze applications, and firing processes. Beginner, Intermediate, and Advanced Problems courses are offered in both handbuilding and wheel throwing classes.

Our Programs

To work in ceramics is to know the whole world and to learn about all times and cultures. Susan Peterson, Working with Clay