the nitty gritty


Building on basic wheel-throwing skills learned in Ceramics I, assignments will examine the use of the wheel in the creation of both functional and sculptural work. Focus will be on component pieces and strategies for altering the symmetrical wheel thrown form.



This is a four credit class – non-negotiable. 

Research is a key component to artistic practice.  Image presentations will focus on historical eras, regional distinctions and contemporary makers.  Awareness of the variety of approaches to ceramics, both historically and contemporarily contribute to developing an understanding of the choices you make in the studio.  Short readings followed by class discussion will cover a variety of topics intended to explore the motivation of individual artists and develop an understanding of the history behind contemporary studio ceramics.

Active inquiry, reading, drawing and trial and error are all parts of the creative process.  Your active engagement in these activities is strongly encouraged and will be reflected in your grade. 



Attendance is mandatory.  Working in ceramics is often a collaborative experience.  Arrive on time to insure you don’t miss any demonstrations or discussions.  Three unexcused absences will result in a reduced grade.  If you anticipate missing class, or have missed a class for any reason, please contact me.  It is your responsibility to make sure you stay informed about the class if you are absent.



Assignments will be evaluated on execution, design, and creative solution.

65%     - completion of assignments

- each will be weighted equally

- idea generation and implementation are equally important;

- production values and attention to detail are strongly considered

- sketches, plans, research and source information contribute to final grade

15%     - initiative and participation in discussion and critique

            readings available online from ‘courses’

10%     - suitcase/sketchbook

10%     - technical development – clay making, kiln loading, and firing and participation in activities of communal interest  



GRADING RUBRIC – in other words, what those letters mean:


A:         High quality of ideas and execution, notable progress and development in ceramic work through understanding of concepts and development of skills/very strong work ethic/ very good flexibility in approach to work/ very strong commitment /excellent class participation

B:         Performance and quality of ceramic work very satisfactory/ very good skills development/good class participation

C:        Performance and ceramic work met the satisfactory standard of the curriculum

D:        Marginal performance and met minimum expectations

F:         Multiple failures to meet minimum expectations, no credit


+ and – may  be added to grades to emphasize areas for improvement, or recognize students for research undertaken outside of assignments, extra effort and determination.




TOOLKITS are available at the bookstore.  This is a customized kit the same as the one you may have purchased for Ceramics I.  If you already have some ceramic tools, most of the components of the kit are available for individual purchase.  Please ensure you have all tools include in the toolkit.  Think of these tools as extensions of your own self and your aesthetic.  Demonstrated techniques will assume you have all tools required. 

Your lab fee is $110.00.  This includes all clay, glazes and the cost of firing.


a word about your suitcase:

Your suitcase is a place for you to accumulate images and words that inspire you as well as assignment handouts.  Doodles, designs, dreams and drawings are all a part of your suitcase.  Also to be included are handouts, cut outs from magazines, links to YouTube videos or other internet inspirations. 


**a notebook or sketchbook is required.

The bookstore has a variety of sketchbooks for you to choose from.  I encourage you to find a book that you are comfortable using.  This notebook should be on hand for all presentations and demonstrations; it’s a great way to keep track of tips for making, decorating and glazing, as well as drawings of ideas, images and suggestions.  Assignments will include an evaluated component on idea development evidenced by the sketches and resources collected in your notebooks.  You may also choose to accumulate images digitally.  These can be submitted electronically through a compressed PDF, cd or data stick or blog link.




There are some books on reserve in the library – but those are just overviews – I encourage you to scroll the stacks and pick out topics that interest you. 


Magazines such as: “Studio Potter’, “Ceramics Monthly” and “Ceramics Art and


Online:  blogs and websites – start with and




October 5 :                  Mid-term grades due

October 15 and 15 :   Hendrick’s Days

November 21 to 25 :    Thanksgiving Break

November  21:            last day of ‘wet clay’

December TBD:           Final Critique during exam period


This class will honor all necessary accommodations for students with documented learning differences.  If you have a learning difference or believe you may have a learning difference that requires specific accommodation, please contact Megan Littlehales, Coordinator of Disability Services:; Megan will let me know what accommodations would be appropriate.


Last modified: Wednesday, August 29, 2012, 10:42 PM