Art 105               Introductory Studio:  Ceramics            Fall 2002


Instructor:  Jennifer Owen              Office:  Ka Lama 133 and Ceramics Studio


Phone:  984-3229 (ext. 229) Ceramics studio  Email:

              984-3220 (ext. 220) Ka Lama 133 office


Office hours:  Mon.:  12:30-1:30 in the Ceramics Studio         

Tues. & Thurs.:  1:30-3:00 in Ka Lama 133


A.     Course Description:

Art 105 explores pottery making and ceramic sculpture using hand building and wheel throwing techniques.  The course introduces the elements of art and an understanding of craftsmanship through the making and decorating of ceramic form.  Students work towards development of individual creative expression. 


B.     Course Credits and Contact Hours per Week:

Three credits, and two hours lecture/four hours lab per week.


C.     Prerequisites:  None.


D.    Learner Outcomes:

Students completing this course will be able to:

    1. Demonstrate a proficiency in hand building and wheel throwing techniques and an effort to develop a personal style.
    2. Demonstrate knowledge of different clay bodies and the relationship of geology to the origin and characteristics of clay.  
    3. Demonstrate knowledge of the varieties of materials and techniques of the glazing and firing processes, including the basic chemical compositions of glazes, oxidation and reduction firing, low temperature and high temperature firing, and proper kiln care and safety.
    4. Demonstrate an understanding of color and surface as it relates to three-dimensional form in the use of glazes and oxides.                                          
    5. Demonstrate an ability to load a kiln, and an understanding of the chemical changes that transform clay and glaze at each stage of the firing process.
    6. Demonstrate knowledge of historic and contemporary examples of ceramics.


E.     Course Requirements:

    1. Completion of 14 projects in clay, some being very specific assignments, and others being chosen by the student, following assignment guidelines.
    2. Two in-class written exams, a midterm and a final, which will test the students' understanding of vocabulary, concepts and techniques of ceramics.
    3. Active participation in loading of at least one bisque firing, one glaze firing, and one raku firing.
    4. Mixing of at least one glaze or colored slip from a recipe, and the making of several test tiles.
    5. Keeping a notebook that records every clay project, with glaze notes for each piece, as well as lecture notes and notes on glaze tests.
    6. Required reading in text and numerous quizzes based on those readings.



Course Outline



Week  1 & 2 :     intro to clay

pinching pots and joining clay (scoring and slipping)

stamps and signature stamps


discussion:  aesthetics of primitive pottery

recycling, wedging clay and adding grog

lecture:  science of clay:  plasticity, particle size, cracking, drying, shrinking, firing, greenware, bisqueware, dust, safety  

Week  3 :            coil building

slab building


Week  4 :            loading electric bisque kiln

lecture:  loading and firing: atmospheric water, candling, chemical water, quartz inversion, red heat

fire kiln

work time on coil and slab projects

Week  5 :            field trip to Hui (to conduct sawdust firing and to visit exhibit) and to Maui Crafts Guild

demo:  decorating and waxing sawdust pots

Week  6:             throwing demo: cylinders

throwing lecture: outline steps (students take notes)

throwing practice            

Week  7 :            demo: trimming foot

colored slip

mix colored slip

demo sgraffito, mishima, brush work and banding

practice throwing (half of class handbuild, half throw each class)

Week  8 :            demo:  faceting, fluting, and handles

review for midterm exam

Week  9 :            MIDTERM EXAM

Week  10 :          glaze lecture and demo

Week  11 :           load glaze fire

 lecture on glaze fire, vitrification, low fire vs. high fire, gas kilns vs. electric kilns, oxidation vs. reduction

Week  12 :          discussion:  glaze results

Week  13&14:    glazing and firing

Week  15 :           review for final exam

 review of glaze results

 grading of finished pieces and notebooks

 student self-evaluation of art work

Week  16 :          FINAL EXAM

                              bring notebooks for grading

                              cleanup of studio

                              course evaluations



Attendance and Grading:


            Attendance and punctuality is extremely important if you wish to do well in this class.   If you have a legitimate emergency (health, work or family crisis) you must call ext. 229 (984-3229) to report the reason for your absence before the class meets.  If you are not excused from a class, your absence will be marked against you.  Tardiness will also be marked against you.  If you are tardy four times, that is the equivalent of being absent once.  In addition, quizzes are given at the beginning of class and will be marked down one letter grade if they are not taken on time.


            Grades will be based on the following:

Projects in clay


Four pieces for Class Act Restaurant


Attendance and class participation


Midterm exam


Final exam




Mixing glaze, loading kilns, glaze notes in notebook



¨      Note:  Project grades are based on each student’s progress during the class.  You will not be penalized for being a beginner, as this is an introductory course.  Projects are graded on craftsmanship, creativity, vitality, form, surface, glaze, expression, and effort.


Required Text:  Make it in Clay by Speight and Toki


§         By September 4, you will be expected to have:

¨      textbook: Make it in Clay by Speight and Toki (from the MCC Bookstore)            

¨      notebook (You must record glaze notes for every piece you glaze.  You will also be expected to take notes during lectures.  Handouts should be filed in notebook.)

¨      a tool kit or the equivalent:  needle, wire, wood knife, sponge, loop tool, tool box    (available at the MCC Bookstore)                                                  

¨      clay (a 25 pound bag, available at the MCC Bookstore)

¨      spoon or polished stone

¨      dry cleaner plastic or several kitchen size plastic garbage bags

¨      small and medium paint brush (kind that comes to a point)

¨      rubber gloves (surgical or kitchen type)                  

¨      green scrubby pad for sanding unfired clay

¨      sheet of 80 or 120 grit sand paper for sanding fired clay

¨      optional:

¨      water spray bottle (spritzer)

¨      plastic triangle square

¨      piece of chamois or other smooth cloth(1"x 3") attached to a cork

¨      ruler

¨      excellent tools from MCC bookstore:

¨      scoring tool, clay knife, rubber rib, metal rib, sharp trimming loop

¨      apron or smock to keep your clothes clean

¨      small towel for cleaning up or drying hands


§         My goal as your teacher is:

¨      to make you work hard, yet give you lots of freedom about how you work

¨      to help you put yourself into your work

¨      to help you experiment, take risks

¨      to help you like ceramics

¨      to create an atmosphere of support and cooperation rather than competition

¨      to give you an understanding of the materials, techniques, and science of ceramics that will enable you to master the clay and express yourself through it





Throughout the course, safety will be stressed, with particular attention given to safety in kiln firing procedures, glaze mixing and handling, and the prevention and hazards of dust throughout the entire studio and in every stage of working with clay and glaze.  Each student will be expected to leave the course with a clear understanding of the health hazards associated with ceramics, and well-developed habits in the safe handling of ceramic materials.  Any deviance from safety procedures will not be tolerated and will be corrected immediately.


“Assumption of Risk and Release Forms” are required from all students.  Before using the equipment for a class project, your instructor will review safety procedures.  It is also your responsibility to review those procedures before using the equipment. 


Activities that create dust from clay or other silica-bearing materials require the use of an OSHA-approved particle mask.  These activities include:  1) scraping kiln shelves (protective Eyewear is also required); 2) mixing dry glazes; 3) using the dry glaze room; 4) grinding or sanding clay; and 5) sanding glaze.  Please ask for a dust mask or respirator when needed, and perform these activities outside the classroom, away from other students.  Manipulating clay involves some repetitive motion, which can put students at risk for carpal tunnel syndrome and other disorders.  Students are to inform the instructor immediately if they experience any pain or discomfort in or after class.



Ceramics Studio Procedures:


Use of Facilities

¨      Only students currently registered in ceramics may use facilities; children, family or friends are not allowed in the studio.

¨      Excessive production of ceramic works will not be allowed, and the interpretation of the word “excessive” is entirely at the discretion of the instructor.  The instructor reserves the right to refuse to fire any work, either because it is inappropriate for the college environment, because it is too large, or because it poses a risk to other work or to the kilns or other equipment.


¨      Radios and other music may not be used during class time, except by permission of the instructor.



¨      Smoking is not allowed in or near the studio.


¨      Footwear is mandatory at all times.

Work Space

¨      Please make it your responsibility to help keep the studio clean.  Your contribution to studio chores will figure in to the “attendance” portion of your grade.  Work habits and effort are an important part of the evaluation process of your grade.  If you come late, leave early, sit around the studio when kilns need to be stacked, shelves need to be organized, etc., you will be losing grade credit towards your final grade in the course.  Helping in the studio is mandatory and is part of the course.


¨      Cell phones and beepers should be turned off during class.  Only in an emergency should phone calls be made or received during class time.            


Special Accommodation

§         Please talk to me at any time (after class, before class, during office hours, or by telephone) if you need special accommodation.  The College also has wonderful free counseling, tutoring, etc. that I can connect you with.






1)     pp. 1-12, 17-25

2)     pp. 13-16, 26-40, 129-133

3)     pp. 159-169, 134-138, opt: 128-129

4)     pp. 41-54, 81-88, opt: 55-57

5)     pp. 59-80

6)     pp. 95-99, 104-105, 107, 111-115

7)     pp. 108-110, 116-125

8)     pp. 140-145, 146-152, 155-156

9)     pp. 170-175

10)pp. 182-185, opt: 89-93, 153-154



Service Learning Option

Instead of the 5 assignments listed under “Week 6,7,8, & 9”, or instead of the “Special Project” assignment, or instead of taking the final exam, a student may elect to volunteer for a non-profit arts organization for 20 hours during the semester. Possible organizations include the Maui Arts and Cultural Center Exhibit Program (helping with the installation of shows in the gallery), and the Hui No`eau Visual Arts Center (assisting the teacher in a children’s ceramics class).

Service Learning is a learning method that connects meaningful community service experiences with academic learning, personal growth, and civic responsibility.  It enhances what is taught by extending students’ learning beyond the classroom and providing opportunities to acquire skills and knowledge in real-life situations in the community. 

Your instructor has already arranged for certain non-profit agencies to participate with MCC and our class in Service Learning.  Students make their own contacts with the volunteer coordinator or director at an agency of their choice.  Students arrange their own schedules, keep a time log and have it signed by a supervisor, record their experiences in a reflective journal, share their experiences with their classmates, and submit a two-page paper at the end of the semester.


Extra Credit Opportunities


There are 10 quizzes, one based on each reading assignment.  If a student wants to raise any quiz grade by a full grade point, they may take advantage of several extra credit opportunities. 

There are three videos on ceramic artists on reserve in the library, for viewing in the library only.  If any student views a video and hands in a one-paragraph summary or notes taken while viewing the video, they will raise one quiz grade by a full grade point. 

There will be a free slide lecture by nationally acclaimed ceramic artist, Tom Kerrigan, on Thursday, September 19, at 7:00 pm, at the Hui No`eau Visual Arts Center near Makawao.  Any student who attends will raise one quiz grade by a full grade point.

There will probably be some other opportunities to earn extra credit by viewing art exhibitions and writing a 3-6 sentence response to the exhibit.  These opportunities will be announced by the instructor as they arise.


Library Resources


There are two periodicals in our MCC library devoted to ceramics:  Ceramics Monthly and Studio Potter.  There are also many books on ceramics with call numbers in the range of TT 900-950 and NK 3600-4500. 


Three videos have been placed on reserve for your use.  They are:

            Toshiko Takaezu:  Portrait of an Artist

            Randy Johnston:  The Nourishable Accident

            Betty Woodman:  Thinking Out Loud












Note:  Projects are graded when they are unloaded from their final firing.  If a piece is damaged or broken before it can be completed, show the instructor what remains of it, for partial credit.


§         Week  1 & 2                     

§         6 quick rough little pinch pots to use for glaze tests

§         *creative pinch pot or sculpture (must be a minimum of 4” tall)

§         *burnished pinch pot or sculpture

§         *stamp or roulette(signature or decorative)

§         keeping a notebook, containing:

¨      lecture notes

¨      record of every piece made

¨      glaze notes for each piece made

¨      handouts

§         Week  3, 4, & 5

§         *coil pot or sculpture         

§         *slab box or sculpture of similar complexity

§         *2 slab vases: one of the student’s own design, one with banana-leaf texture for the MCC Class Act Restaurant

§         4 test tiles (made from scraps of slabs) for glaze and oxide tests, pierced with a drinking straw to make a hole to hang it up by

§         *slab pupu plate in the shape of a banana leaf for the Class Act Restaurant

§         *2 square slab bowls, made in molds (for the Class Act Restaurant) for salt, pepper, or condiments

§         Week  6, 7, 8, & 9

§         mix one colored slip or glaze with partner, make tests on test tiles, and record in notebook

§         *slip decoration on a piece (may be some other assignment)

§         *5" cylinder (made on potter's wheel)

§         *mug with handle (mug may be hand-built or made on the potter's wheel)

§         *bowl (made on potter's wheel)


***SPECIAL PROJECT:  choose to do one of the following projects:           

***The grade for this piece carries the weight of three other pieces.

·        1) combination pot or sculpture piece combining  two or more forming   methods (pinch, coil, slab, throw), at least 10” tall

·        2) large slab piece (functional or sculptural) at least 10” tall

·        3) large coil piece (functional or sculptural) at least 10” tall

·        4) large thrown piece (functional or sculptural) at least 10”     tall

§         Week 10   

§         glaze a piece by dipping, overlapping two colors

§         *decorate over a glaze with painted oxides

§         decorate over a glaze by trailing or spattering a second glaze

§         applying clear glaze evenly and smoothly over colored slip