Feb 02, 2023  
2023 January Term Course Catalog 
2023 January Term Course Catalog
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JAN 042 - Ceramics for Beginners: Pottery, Politics, & Place

Lower division
Full credit
TWF:  9:30 AM - 12:50 PM

“My thoughts are whirled like a potter’s wheel; I know not where I am nor what I do.” -William Shakespeare, Henry VI 

Come spin your thoughts this Jan term and reorient your perspective by trying a dizzying new art form full of contradictions. Both folk craft and high art, consumer collectible and elevated artifact, ceramic work is inherently tied to questions about land and location, people, place, and politics. This course is intended for first-time ceramicists who are ready to dedicate themselves to four intensive weeks of clay work and critical thinking about the cultural histories of ceramics. You’ll learn how throwing pottery on the wheel can be both meditative and frustrating, challenging and addictive. We’ll investigate how successful potters rely on equal parts physics and chemistry, style and aesthetics, physical strength and muscle memory. Our course will involve critical background readings and final project research, gallery visits, demos by local artists, and most of all, a lot of time spent hand building and throwing pots at Merritt Ceramics in Oakland. Students will learn the basics of clay preparation and throwing, as well as techniques for slab work, trimming, and glazing. Course fees cover clay, glazes, and firing, but not transportation to the Oakland studio. Grades will be based on attendance, participation, written reflection work, a final project and presentation and, of course, your final collection of fired ceramic pieces.

Please Note: Students will need transportation to the Oakland studio, but we will work together to organize public transportation groups and carpools in December.


Instructor(s): Emily Klein
Email:  ek7@stmarys-ca.edu

Prerequisites & Notes
Prerequisites:  None
Course Fee:  660

Credits: 1

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