All of our ceramics courses use a hands-on approach, by which students learn through observing and doing. A wide variety of images are shown, with the occasional video, together with discussions of philosophies and demonstrations of techniques before and during assignments. Lectures are an integral and necessary part of understanding the history of ceramics and the range of possibilities. The approach to teaching is individualized, depending on each student’s skill level, and progressing from that point. Students are involved in all aspects of running the studio—from creating artwork to loading and firing kilns to clean up. Taking on these responsibilities empowers the students.
As work develops over the course of the semester, group and individual critiques are conducted. In these sessions, students receive constructive criticism and encouragement to support their efforts. Students are also required to write about their work and the creative process and to review gallery and museum exhibits. Students are given a test on terminology and are required to identify the work of major American ceramic artists. On a regular basis, the professor meets with individual students to discuss their progress and talk with them about their work.