My name is Mr. Burns and I welcome you to ceramics and to our class.
Ceramics is a fun and rewarding class that allows students to work three-dimensional works, making objects that take up real space and function in our real world, unlike drawings and paintings that are flat and reside on a two-dimensional plane, like a piece of paper or a canvas hung on a wall. Nothing against drawing and painting because I do that too, but to make a three-dimensional object is a little different. The objects and things that we make in ceramics focus on ceramic hand-building techniques and range from pinch pots to pinch pot hollow forms to soft slab and leather hard slab construction, coil building, and throwing on the pottery wheel.
For example, if I wanted to make a coffee cup for my morning coffee, I need to consider many different things. Some things I may consider are the following: capacity, the size and shape, how the handle feels in my hand and how it allows me to drink my coffee, how to decorate the coffee mug to give it a little personality and a little zip, and even the glaze for the coffee cup. This is not an inclusive list but addresses some things one might consider when making a useful object, one with utility, sometimes called utilitarian forms. All of the things mentioned above are part of the design process and allow the artist to really flesh out and develop an organized plan to make something. Now, along the way, this plan may develop and evolve, but everyone needs a starting point. In many ways, ceramics is a maker’s space that enables students to interact with the design process and design-based learning, bringing objects into the world through thinking, creating, reflecting, and redesigning.
In Beginning and Advanced Ceramics, we will explore clay as an artistic medium and learn how to work with this material, which has a lengthy cultural and historical legacy, functioning as useful daily objects to art objects that broke away from tradition to push the medium even further. We will also learn to use the visual elements and principles of design when making objects, and also develop visual literacy and communication skills to talk about visual objects and things. Ultimately, ceramics is an awesome medium that allows you to make many different things and to explore the different possibilities of clay.
I look forward to seeing you in our class!