Students learn the origins and properties of clay with some reference to the history of ceramics in functional and decorative forms. Several exploratory assignments develop hand-building skills and reveal the possibilities of coil, slab, and pinch methods. Particular attention is paid to surface texture and form (organic and geometric) in the construction of expressive, composite pots and sculptural animal pieces based on observation.
Students continue to refine their hand-building skills and their understanding of properties and possibilities. Problem solving skills are used to create and decode sculptural forms. After two short-term projects, students plan and create a final, more complex piece, either functional or decorative, that combines the techniques learned. The course emphasizes self as a member of a community and as a creator.
The primary focus in this course is on learning to “throw” on the potter’s wheel. After initial demonstrations, the course becomes largely self-directed, with the teacher acting as a resource and guide. This course emphasizes the artistic process, and, to some degree, trial and error, as boys become more experienced and confident with the particular challenges of centering and throwing pots, vases, mugs, and bowls. Students continue the process of wheel throwing by trimming their pieces and glazing, often using professionalquality dipping glazes that result in impressive creations displayed in the Kane Art Gallery.