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Cedar Crest ART 231 - ART 231 SYLLABUS

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Ceramics ART-231 Fall 2008 Thursday, 100-330pm Casey McDonough Office: Hartzel Hall basement Phone: (610)606-4666 x3418 Email: [email protected] Course Objectives and Description: The aim of this course is to provide students who are largely unfamiliar with the ceramics medium a chance to gain basic knowledge about the material as a means of creative expression. A truncated history of the material and its past uses will be addressed, as well as the current trend toward ceramics as a fine art medium. This beginning knowledge should allow students to approach the material as readily as any other art medium. A strong understanding of the basic physical properties of clay and what must happen to the material to make it a ceramic object are the most important goals of this course. As a material that lends itself most readily to three dimensional forms, we shall approach it as such, providing students with instruction in several traditional handbuilding techniques such as pinch, coil, and slab building. Students will learn to mix glazes in order to achieve desired results, with special consideration given to the relationship between glaze surface, ceramic surface, and form. Kilns will be both loaded and fired as a class, with every individual learning the steps necessary to finishing ceramic objects. Scheduled class time will be used for demonstrations, slide lectures, critique sessions, and studio work. Students are expected to come into the studio as much as is needed to finish any assignments, inside or outside the scheduled class time. Tools, Materials, and Suggestions: Clay will be provided, but with a catch. You will be mixing your own! If you run out of clay, simply make some more. This way you will not only learn how to make clay, but you will also learn to place greater value on the clay you mix. Tools are available via the internet at sites like and There is also a Dick Blick art materials store at the following address: 3152 Lehigh Street Allentown, PA 18103 The most that you really need for this class is a basic pottery tool kit, which I can describe. Feel free to purchase any extra tools that you may want to use. I will make suggestions about what sort of other objects make decent clay tools. Any clear plastic (tarp, dry cleaning, or heavy trash bags are best) that students can scavenge or bring into the studio is much appreciated. This will help keep your clay moist while you work on particular projects, extending the workable time of the material.It is recommended that you consider what you wear into the studio. Clay is messy, and some ceramic materials including red clay can stain clothes. If you have an apron, bring it. I promise not to make fun of you. Please acquire a few paper dust masks and some rubber gloves for the days when we will be working with dry materials that present certain hazards. A binder and a small sketchbook are not suggestions, they are requirements. I want you to organize handouts I give you, and I also want you to write down or sketch any idea you have that you think you can make in clay. A percentage of your grade will depend upon how well you keep track of your knowledge and ideas. Any glaze/color/finish that you see and like can potentially (but not always) be recreated with the correct materials. If you want to know, simply ask and we can try to find a way to make it happen. Expectations and Demands: Students may find that clay is a much more demanding material that previously thought. It is expected of you to work as hard in this class as you would in any other. You might discover that the experiences gained while working with clay may provide you with new insight into whatever other things you might do (I am quite serious about this particular assertion). You are also expected to take risks in this class as well; do not hesitate to at least try any idea that you come up with. I will do my best to help you realize those ideas, but I insist that you ask any questions that you may have. No question is a bad question in this classroom, ever. Students must follow any safety-related rules that are imposed. This is of the utmost importance and will be addressed periodically throughout the semester. I also demand that the studio is used as much as possible and respected completely. This means that individual work stations, storage shelves, and the studio as a whole should be cleaner when you leave than when you arrive. You will sometimes have to be in the studio early in the morning or late at night, but it has to stay clean and workable. Attendance: Because we only meet once a week, attendance is absolutely mandatory. Repeat absences will affect your grade. Though I sincerely appreciate when you call or email me to tell me that you will not be in class, this will still count as an absence. Absences will affect your grade as follows: 3 absences and your grade is reduced by one letter. 5 absences and you will receive a failing grade for the course. If you do need to miss a class, you are responsible for acquiring missed materials from other students. If a student is unable to progress due to absence (or for any other reason really), please contact me and we will remedy the situation. Attendance requirements also extend to firings when required. As previously mentioned, we will load, fire, and unload kilns as a class or on a schedule; I will not be entirely responsible for finishing your work for you. This attitude forces students to partake in these class activities.Safety: This aspect of ceramics will be continually addressed throughout the semester. Concerns range from dust inhalation to chemical usage to heavy lifting to firing kilns. It is important that you take these concerns seriously as we approach each one. Assignment information: Expect to receive a number of assignments throughout the semester. These projects will be outlined thoroughly in handouts and will be the core of what we do in this course. Assignments allow for the development of skills and material understanding within specific parameters and under concrete direction. The final assignment will be a largely independent project, with increased time to work toward completion. All assigned projects will have a designated due date, and these dates are not flexible. Any late project will be reflected in the final grade. If a project is not turned in within a

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