Advanced Ceramic Arts Syllabus



Welcome back Advanced Ceramics students!



Previously the curriculum in this class was lacking in several elements that are now mandated by the State and the School District.  There are going to be a lot of changes in this class to make allowances for that, as well as the fact that I am a different teacher with different experiences, goals, and attitudes.


As a professional who has been employed as a ceramics Studio Technician as well as an instructor and a potter, I am extremely excited about the great possibilities for the Ceramic Arts department at BHS.  You might not realize how lucky you are in terms of space and equipment;  Trust me, you are ahead of the game by even having a ceramics class, and this facility is ‘state of the art’ compared to most High School facilities.  As such, it is going to be all of our responsibilities to keep it a clean and organized professional workshop environment.  This will be especially important for you in Advanced Ceramics, since you will often require more space and special considerations for your artwork.


This syllabus is in addition to the regular Ceramics 1-2 syllabus.  All rules and procedures apply.   It will take me awhile to get to know each of your individual skill and knowledge levels.  You are all to take part in the first unit of instruction (approximately 6 weeks), at which time, based on your abilities and interests, we can try and develop a more challenging curriculum.   Some of you may be required to complete the semester curriculum, and others I may ask to complete a portfolio to review if you want to break away from the general class.


Key Components of Advanced Art Curriculum


These are a summary of the skills you need to demonstrate in an Advanced Art class:


8     Be able to communicate ideas at a high level of effectiveness in ceramics (standard 1)

8     To be able to effectively evaluate and express multiple perspectives about artwork (standard 2)

8     Describe the origins of specific images and ideas and their value in the artwork of another (standard 3)

8     Analyze relationships between artwork across the space of time and cultures (standard 4)

8     Synthesize skills practiced in class with other curriculum areas( English, math, etc) (standard 5)


To be able to communicate ideas at a high level of effectiveness, students will require strong technical skills, and a deeper understanding of symbolism, mood, design, and a historical perspective on the arts.  You will be required to have special group critiques, and also your individual portfolio review at the end of the semester. 


All Advanced Ceramics students will be required to manage a portfolio of their work throughout the semester (and hopefully the year).  I will have special classes designed to teach you how to do this.  Portfolios will include photos of your work, and an ‘artist statement’.  For students who successfully complete their portfolios, and who wish it, I will be happy to write a strong letter of recommendation for college, scholarships, or work.


The second essay assignment that the class does will have a twist for advanced students.  You may wish to start preparing now!  I will require you to find a ceramic or sculpture artist from the last 50 years to analyze.  In your essay you will need to dig more deeply and explain the connections between the artist you’ve chosen, and his or her predecessors.  Ceramics Monthly is an outstanding resource if you are interested in studying a ceramics artist.  There will also be a list made available shortly about artists from various cultural, stylistic, and social backgrounds.


If this all sounds hard, don’t worry!


This class has become much more demanding academically.   Expectations are certainly higher, although it is my goal to keep the studio a relaxed and fun place to be.  Your proactive involvement in the workshop community during cleanup and work time is essential.  Set a good example, and you will find that the whole class and you in particular will reap the rewards!  Also, keep in mind these opportunities we will have this semester:


Christmas Sale

The proceeds go to the class/studio, however there will be prizes for the sellers, and as advanced students I expect many of you could do quite well!

School Show

Ms. Mcnamara and I are committed to having an exhibition highlighting our advanced students artwork.  Advanced students will be required to take part.  It will be juried by professional artists and prizes will be given.


Open Workshops

I will be keeping the work area open after school at least one day a week until 5 pm.  Please work with me to develop a schedule that can accommodate all students!  Open workshop can be used to work on class assignments, but I highly encourage you to follow your own ideas and interests.  I would like this to turn into a Ceramics Guild (a fancy way ceramics folk say a club!).  If there were a student group running sales and shows, they would also have control over a set of funds for art related events and equipment…


Classroom Priority

Because of the more difficult syllabus of Advanced students. You will have a special area for storing work, priority on wheels and for special tools, and priority for teacher assistance during Open Workshop time.


Advanced students are ESSENTIAL to a strong arts community at school.  I want to help you in any way I can.  Also, please help with any recommendations for how the studio could be improved; you are all far more experienced than me with this work space!