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The beauty of ceramics is that the fundamental tools are simple: hands and clay. The glory of the Field ceramics department is how creatively students learn to use their hands to create pottery that is not only artistic, but often functional as well.

Ceramics at Field begins with hand-building skills such as pinching and slab forming and graduates to more technical challenges such as the creation of complex forms and the use of the potter's wheel. Underlying each class is an emphasis on form, an exploration of the work of other ceramic artists, and class critiques.


Middle School Ceramics: Appreciating Clay

Essential clay handling techniques enliven creative minds and hands in this one year course. Students are given creative projects and challenging problems to help understand the challenges of the clay medium.  Hand-building skills such as pinching, coiling, slab-forming, modeling, and carving are an integral part of the course. Students learn basic glazing techniques that allow them to experiment with color and texture. The potter’s wheel is introduced through the use of stoneware and porcelain clays. Students study ceramics from different cultures while exploring their own creative potential

Ceramics I: Introduction to Studio Pottery

The fundamental skills of clay forming and small clay sculpture are the cornerstone of this basic class. Students examine concepts of three-dimensional design and apply them to specific projects by observing from life and using thumbnail sketches and blocking. Topics covered include wedging, pinching, carving, glazing, sculpting, armature building, wheel-throwing and slab forming. Students explore "the whole" and "its parts" by relating form and surface treatments such as texturing, glazing, wax resisting, inlaying, sgraffito, carving, and appliqué. The course provides scientific foundation and vocabulary for the art of clay.

Ceramics 2: Intermediate Functional Pottery

Ceramics 2 focuses on developing the students’ skills on the potter's wheel. Students are trained to use the potter's wheel for throwing the bowl form, the cylinder, the vase, and the small plate. Students learn the techniques for throwing off the mound. Lids, spouts, and handles are introduced through assignments. Students learn to analyze a form into its basic geometric shapes and to construct complex composite forms such as a teapot and animal forms using thrown segments. Principles of three-dimensional design and the elements of the function of thrown forms are identified by viewing historical pottery, contemporary work of potters and personal critiques.

Ceramics 3: Advanced Functional Pottery

This course is for students who have taken Ceramics 2 and who wish to continue developing their skills on the potter's wheel (with a primary interest in the functional form). Composite forms are constructed incorporating both wheel and hand forms. Discussions and critiques take place in the context of principles of design and function. Students are encouraged to identify a personal thematic and technical focus expanding their portfolio.

Fundamentals of Clay Sculpture.

This is an advanced seminar course whereby students explore the principles and elements of three dimensional design as they pertain to the idea of clay sculpture. Additive, subtractive, and assemblage processes of sculpting are explored. 20th century art movements are studied with a specific focus on the evolution of sculpture. Students work on independent projects with an attempt to put forth a coherent body of work.