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Below is the class outline from our Spring 2018 Introduction to Ceramics course.
Nine Week Introduction to Ceramics w/ George Lea
May 2 – June 30, 2018
Tuition: $250.00, includes materials for the completion of assignments
Theory: “The Nature of Clay”
Students are introduced to the basic structural components of clay. Where clay comes from and how it was formed. The two broad geological categories of primary and secondary clay are discussed. A variety of clay bodies are examined including earthenware, stoneware, & porcelain as well as the ability to customize formulas for specific needs. A general overview of the working processes that clay demands, wedging, forming, drying rates, & firing. Students learn the difference and importance of such states as plastic, leather-hard, and bone-dry.
Hands on: The basics of wedging are covered. Simple Pinch and Coil methods are explored through the completion of assigned projects.
Theory: “Getting Centered”
Mental preparation and breath control as a necessary and productive work habit. Demonstrated through centering on the wheel. Students gain familiarity with the philosophy, practice, and tools associated with centering, throwing, and trimming on the wheel.
Note: Students are offered individual instruction on the wheel through scheduled sessions throughout the course.
Theory: “Forming and Assembly”
Students are introduced to a variety of forming techniques, including methods that involve supports, molds, & armatures. Joining techniques are discussed and demonstrated in the construction of pieces that are comprised of multiple components.
Hands-on: Students apply these principles and techniques to individual projects.
Theory: “Plaster as Friend and Foe”
Understanding the value and drawbacks of working with plaster in the studio. Mold making processes and the importance of water to plaster ratios are discussed. Simple negative relief molds are demonstrated.
Hands-on: Students prepare mock-ups for negative relief plaster molds and pour them.
Theory: “Atmospheric Science & Firing”
Students become familiar with the history of firing and the evolution of kiln design in several cultures. The advantages and limitations of several firing options are examined. Students are introduced to the concept of the three major firing atmospheres: 1. Neutral 2. Oxidation and 3. Reduction. Specialty atmospheres such as those involving fly-ash and or soda are also discussed.
Hands-on: Students pursue projects of their own intent and are given guidance in these individual pursuits.
Theory: “How to Get Glazed”
Basic glaze chemistry is discussed. Students are directed to resources on existing glaze formulas and how to adjust them. The role of both the oxide and carbonate forms of various metals is examined in the formation of color in glazes. The advantages and dis- advantages of firing to various temperatures in a variety of atmospheres is discussed and how this to affects color and overall glaze quality.
Group Hands-on: Glazes for class use are formulated from their mineral components and tested. Students learn methods of application of glaze materials and the various roles wax resist can play within this process.