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2751C Ceramics - Beginning Wheel - 88595

Florida Atlantic University
DF Schmidt College of Arts and Letters
Department of Visual Arts and Art History

Ceramics Beginning Wheel
Instructor: Marty Fielding
Office: Visual Arts Building 112B
Office Hours: T & R 12:00-1:00 and by appt.


Fall 2015
Visual Arts Building 112
M & W 1:00 3:50
Credit Hours: 4

Basic wheel-throwing course. Technical skills of wheel work stressed with other aspects of clay work
included, such as the aesthetics of form, glaze work, kiln loading, and firing. Demonstrations, critiques
and slides.

In this course we will explore techniques of using the potters wheel to make functional pottery an
expressive art form. The content expressed in the vessels will be driven by conceptual research and an
examination of historical and contemporary pottery. Class participants will be involved in each phase of
the ceramic process: wheel throwing, trimming, surfacing, and firing. This introduction to utilitarian
ceramics will provide students with the fundamentals of artistic decision-making: development of
personal expression, strategies for design decisions that express the makers ideas to others, and
discussion of works in critique.

As a result of completing this course the students will:
Develop the physical skills of using a potters wheel as a tool for shaping clay.
Learn to apply ceramic surfaces such as slip and glaze.
Experience loading, firing and unloading kilns.
Examine the process of designing and making functional pottery.
Evaluate the aesthetic of pottery form.
Execute personal content decisions and aesthetic judgements to make expressive art within the
parameters of functional pottery.
Study areas of world ceramic art history that have used thrown forms and/or materials and
processes related to those studied in this class.
Describe the content behind the work.
Analyze each others work in critique.

Required Text:
The Basics of Throwing: A Practical Approach to Form and Design. Cohen, David.

Recommended Text:
A Potters Workbook. Illian, Clary
The Potters Book. Leach, Bernard
The Potters Dictionary of Materials and Techniques. Hamer, Frank and Janet.
Functional Pottery. Hopper, Robin.

Studio Potter
Ceramics Monthly
Ceramics: Art and Perception


Schaller Gallery

Freer Sackler Gallery
Ceramic Arts Daily

Art Axis


75% 5 projects (including readings, research, sketches in preparation) (15 % ea)

Research Presentation


Test on materials, vocabulary, and process, and ceramic art history

10% Participation in class discussions, presentations of discussion material, participation in loading

and firing kilns, and studio cleaning

A 94-100, A- 93-90, B+ 89-87, B 86-84, B- 83-80, C+ 79-77, C 76-74, C- 73-30, D+ 69-67, D 66-64, D- 63-
60, E 59-0

Turn cell phones off before entering class. Absolutely no texting is permitted. Phones, laptops, and
tablets are strictly prohibited during class time. The only exceptions to this will be for class related
research, taking notes, and listening to music during work time.


Attendance is mandatory. Attendance is recorded. The State of Floridas educational system
acknowledges no excused absences except documented illness, jury duty or death of an immediate
family member. If another situation or problem develops, please see me. Otherwise, each student is
allotted 3 no-questions-asked absences except on assignment or Project Due Dates (critique), Written
Exam Date and Final Critique Date. Each absence after the third will lower your final grade by 5 points,
for instance, a 93 will become an 88 and so on. Continuous absences will constitute failure of the course.

Absence of the Final Exam Critique will also constitute failure of the course. There is a 10-minute leeway
policy before students are recorded as late. This means a student has an extra 10 minutes to arrive to
class past the scheduled beginning time of the course. Four lates equate to one unexcused absence. It
is the responsibility of the student to make sure the Instructor knows s/he is present after arriving late
and to sign the attendance record book. It is also the students sole responsibility to acquire all
information that is missed. All critiques, demonstrations, lectures, and class announcements will be
given at eh beginning of class, unless otherwise stated. These will not be repeated. Complete utilization
of class time required. Leaving class early is highly discouraged. Continuously leaving of class
significantly early will be equated in the same method as recorded lates. Students need to check with
the Instructor before leaving class early. Students will find that to complete projects and course
requirements, this course will require working outside of class time. The Ceramic area does have a
revocable 24/7 access policy. Access Procedure: See Handout and will be posted in lab.
Being present for class means having the necessary materials, completed research, and mental
presence to insure a productive use of the studio time.
In general, acceptable reasons for absence include illness, serious family emergencies, military
obligation, severe weather conditions, religious holidays, jury duty, extracurricular requirements (e.g.
field trips or professional conferences), and participation in official university activities such as music
performances, athletic competition, or debate. For your absence to be excused for the following
reasons you must present me with documentation the day your return to class. See
http://www.fau.edu/academic/registrar/FAUcatalog/academics.php for more detail.
Attendance on First Day of Class
Students are required to attend the first day of class for any course in which they are registered. If a
student misses the first day of class for any reason, the student may be administratively withdrawn from
the course.


Clay is a wonderful material and will do many things, but it cannot be rushed or neglected without
consequences. It takes regular practice and attention to develop skills and firing techniques. This will
take studio time outside of scheduled class hours. At times you might have to make MORE than the
required number of pieces to achieve the required number of finished pieces. This class requires an
equal amount of time outside of class to finish work started in class. Plan to spend at least six hours per
week outside of class time.

Students who miss work deadlines with excused absence are responsible for submitting the work due to
me before the beginning of the next class meeting to avoid being considered late. If an excused absence
has affected the students ability to work, the student is responsible for discussing this with me before
the due date. Unexcused absences will not suspend due dates.

Ceramic work is fragile. Studio accidents or kiln issues may cause work to break. While all due care will
be exercised, I must have finished work to assign a grade for a project. Work that blows up or is broken
before completion will require re-making for grading. If your work is destroyed in progress, please show
this to me and we will discuss what must be done to achieve a finished project for grading. In the case
of involved projects where the loss is not the students fault, abridged project parameters may be
negotiated and due dates adjusted.

Each assignment requires preparation including assigned readings. Students are expected to do the
readings assigned on the project sheets by the next class meeting from the calendar date assigned, and
be prepared to discuss the material. Fulfilling assignments includes research sketches, following the
project criteria, presenting the work on the assigned dates, and participating in group critiques and

Clean up of workspace is required.
Please have a proprietary attitude about the shop, and leave it clean, regardless of the condition you
find it. This includes cleaning up wheels, bats, table space, sink, and floor. Many people have health
issues related to dust. Studio should be clean every day to protect the health of everyone using this
space. Clean only with wet mops and sponges. Dry sweeping puts toxic dust into the air. Working in
built-up clay dust is a health hazard. We all work on this together, and the added effort and team spirit
contributes greatly to the safe, effective, and enjoyable use of the area by a large number of people.
Please read and observe shop procedures and rules. If in doubt please ask me or Sarah Johnson, the
Ceramic Studio Technician. We appreciate your co-operation. Please remove all work and personal
equipment from classrooms at the end of the semester. Anything left in the classrooms is considered
abandoned and will be discarded.

Sketchbooks are a necessary tool for artists. You are required to keep a sketchbook (minimum size, 8
x 11) for recording notes and ideas. Please have your sketchbook in class by the second class
meeting. I will review your sketchbook periodically. Dont be concerned about the quality of your
drawing skills. You will be using drawing to develop your ideas, not as an art form. You should also use
your sketchbook as a journal of your class experiences. Write about your ideas. Which techniques
worked and which did not? What did you like or dislike about the firing results? You should also include
any articles, pictures, postcards, or photographs of things that inspire you.
Regular use throughout the semester is part of developing ideas. Additionally, a sketchbook may
function as an archive for your ideas and a record of thoughts and work produced. It takes regular
exercise in using a sketchbook to help you grow as an artist.

Works submitted for grading in this class may not be submitted to any other class for a grade unless
both faculty give prior consent. To do so without consent will be considered a misrepresentation and
cause for a failing grade.


1. It is each students responsibility to leave his/her work area cleaner than s/he found it. This
means putting everything back in its place and wiping off areas that have been worked on,
sweeping and mopping up floor areas. If the Handbuilding area begins to get out of control, the
class will perform a clean up session at the start of class every Tuesday. Be aware the tables are
community work spaces and must be kept clean and clear for all to use at all times.
2. State law prohibits smoking in the building. Also in accordance to Art Department policy and
EH&S, eating and drinking is not allowed in all areas of the Ceramic shop; particularly the Glaze
3. Observance of all safety and shop policies and procedures of the Ceramics Area. Please read all
signage, and notices in shop. Certain handouts will be distributed to class. Keep all in

4. Be considerate of your neighbors, and respect others property this includes their work and
5. Dogs are not permitted in the Ceramic areas excepted when permitted by law.
6. Small children are discouraged to visit the lab areas due to safely issues.
7. Only work executed for class is permitted to be fired in the kilns.
8. Respect of equipment, policies/procedures and the Ceramic facilities at all times. Misconduct,
disregard, thief and destruction of property will cause 24/7 shop access policy to be revoked.
Limited, scheduled shop lab hours will then be instituted. Pending level of abuse, student might
be asked to leave class area. Meeting with Chair of Department will be scheduled.

A sketchbook and tools are required for the second class meeting. Please be sure to mark your tools
with your name or some sort of identification.
pin/needle tool*
flexible metal rib *
wooden shaping ribs*
wooden knife*
cut-off wire*
sponges* elephant ear and small synthetic sponge for throwing.
trimming tools*: pear-shaped trim tool, square-edged trim tool
small bucket
plastic to cover work in progress, clear dry-cleaning plastic works best.
soft rubber rib
fettling knife
brushes for slip, glazing, wax resist: a range of watercolor-type, hake, Japanese, etc. Need not be
expensive, but several sizes and shapes would be helpful. Hardware stores sell inexpensive hobby and
bristle brushes.
shop towel, apron
small water containers for clean water and to wash brushes.
padlock for your locker
*May be purchased as a kit.

Optional tools:
bat pins: 1/4" socket head cap screws with 3/8" head
bulb syringe (infant enema w/removable nib) or slip-trailing squirt bottles (Miss Clairol bottles from the
beauty supply work well), perhaps one or two if you want to try trailing
calipers for lid measurement
scraper (plastic or metal, 6" ? to lift bats, smooth clay)
sur-form (small) rasp (hardware store item)
wooden paddles for shaping.
xacto knife, scissors, straight edge/ruler
Two students will mix and share approx. 150 pounds of stoneware clay stored in one aluminum garbage
can. All cans must be stored outside in the appropriate area. Cans are never to be brought inside, unless
instructed. Cost of clay is not covered in lab fee. Additional batches may be needed. Approx. individual

cost for materials: $ 70+. (Lab fee money goes primarily towards most of your glaze supplies). *$50.00
for fresh batch of clay; $28.00 for recycle, slop clay. (*prices subject to change based on material costs)

In compliance with the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), students who require special
accommodations due to a disability to properly execute coursework must register with the Office for
Students with Disabilities (OSD) located in -- Boca Raton - SU 133 (561-297-3880), in Davie - LA 240 (954-
236-1657), in Jupiter - SR 110 (561-799-8585), or at the Treasure Coast - CO 117 (772-873-3382), and
follow all OSD procedures.

Students at Florida Atlantic University are expected to maintain the highest ethical standards. Academic
dishonesty is considered a serious breach of these ethical standards, because it interferes with the
university mission to provide a high quality education in which no student enjoys an unfair advantage
over any other. Academic dishonesty is also destructive of the University community, which is grounded
in a system of mutual trust and places high value on personal integrity and individual responsibility.
Harsh penalties are associated with academic dishonesty. For more information, see University
Regulation 4.001 at http://www.fau.edu/regulations/chapter4/4.001_Code_of_Academic_Integrity.pdf.