ARTS 230 or 232: Ceramics

Instructor: Kelly Connole
Studio Art
Fall 2009
Gold Luster Pitcher, ca. 1985
Beatrice Wood
Course Description
Students investigate historic ceramic artworks as a means to develop an understanding of visual language and cultural differences expressed through tangible objects. Through their research, students become aware of cultural norms that dictate the patterns, surfaces, forms and functions of objects. Students write a brief research summary, make sketches of objects they encounter, and create a ceramic piece or small series that closely relates to their topic of study. The project culminates with a short oral presentation of their research and creative output.

Teaching Ceramics History: Exploring the Past to Visualize the Contemporary

Learning Goals

  • Students gain an understanding of cultural differences through analysis of objects.
  • Students gain and refine skills in ceramic techniques including throwing, handbuilding, and firing.
  • Students reflect on their own creative work and learn to express their ideas in visual presentations.

Context for Use

This assignment is used in an introductory level ceramics course at a small, liberal arts college. Class size is limited by equipment and with consideration of time for presentations; in our studio, enrollment is limited to 15. Students must have basic throwing or handbuilding skills and a firm understanding of the ceramic process. The research aspect of the project can be accomplished in three weeks and the construction process in an additional two weeks, depending on firing requirements.


Assignment handout (Microsoft Word 25kB Jul18 11).


Students are assessed throughout the project through group and individual critiques and consultations. Final assessment is based on the visual outcomes and the oral presentation. Creative work is displayed to give students the opportunity to view the work of their peers.


Suggested readings on ceramics history (Microsoft Word 27kB Jul18 11) for general history and selected specific topics.