Craft is the Union of Tradition and Innovation.
As artists, it is essential to understand the history of craft in order to develop our creative voice. Students explore a variety of methods within the scope of ceramics to develop their personal approach to pottery, sculpting, and installation art. 

The ceramics curriculum teaches the fundamentals of handbuilding, wheel throwing and firing techniques of clay as both a sculptural and functional medium. Problem solving and self-confidence are developed as students learn to calculate glazes, fabricate and use molds, create surface treatments, fire kilns and understand kiln theory. As students gain a deeper understanding of spatial concerns, they experiment with the vessel form and its relationship to culture. 

Students build on ceramic traditions by developing narrative voices and social commentaries in three-dimensional form. The curriculum encourages work with experimental materials, surface treatments and firings.

An advanced understanding of ceramic history and interpretation is developed through slide lectures and hands-on assignments. The ceramics studio prepares students to achieve their goals of advanced studies in graduate school or life as a studio artist.

Ceramics Studio Space
Facilities: Sixteen built-in electric/kick potter's wheels; five electric wheels; pnumatic clay extruder; hand eclay extruder spray booth; sandblaster; fully stocked glaze lab; limited plaster facility; and oxy-acetylene and TIG welders.

Indoor Kilns: Two Blaauw computer controlled high efficiency gas kilns; one which is 12 cu.ft. for pottery and small sculpture and one 50 cu. ft car kiln for sculpture, etc.; twelve electric kilns; five with computer kiln controllers; 4 small electric test kilns.

Outdoor Kilns: Two salt and soda kilns; Alpine updraft kiln; 15 c. ft. gas downdraft kiln; low temperature salt kiln; two raku kilns; test kiln; and experimental firings area.

Course Descriptions
CE109  Handbuilding
  | 3 semester credits
Clay making, electric kiln firing, and ceramic history are addressed by introducing students to handbuilding techniques and low temperature surface decoration including underglazes, glaze, china paint and luster. Functional and sculptural works are assigned with an emphasis on craftsmanship and personal expression. Offered fall semester.  No prerequisite. Required text to be determined. 

CE110  Wheel Throwing  | 3 semester credits
Focused on the techniques used to create functional and sculptural forms using the potter’s wheel, students have the opportunity to explore throwing a wide variety of functional and sculptural forms, trimming, handles, altering, combining multiple thrown pieces and the use of handbuilding in conjunction with thrown pieces. An extensive survey of decoration and firing techniques is intended to increase the students’ vocabularies and understanding of surface treatments. Craftsmanship and creative problem solving are emphasized. Offered spring semester. Prerequisite: CE109. Required text to be determined.    

CE202 Ceramic Materials and Surfaces | 3 semester credits
Emphasizing clay body, engobe and glaze formulation, the empirical method of glaze calculation is presented as well as experimental methods to  adjust glazes. Extensive testing, analysis and problem solving is employed with a focus on ceramic toxicology and safe use of studio materials. Offered spring semester. Prerequisite:  CE110 or consent of instructor. Required text to be determined.

CE203 Mold Making and Molding | 3 semester credits
Providing a strong foundation in the creative and production possibilities available through the use of molds, a variety of mold making materials are employed to produce models and molds primarily for ceramics. Alternative moldable materials are addressed. Students have the opportunity to explore both single and multiple part molds in solving creative problems. Slip casting formulation and processes as well as press molding techniques are covered.  Offered fall semester. Prerequisite: CE 110 or consent of instructor. Required text to be determined.

CE301 The Vessel | 3 semester credits
An investigation of the vessel, this course examines the use and concept of vessels from the functional to the sculptural. Students have the opportunity to consider the vessel in relationship to decoration and image on form, multiples, object translation, ritual, symbol and narration. Students also study and explore historical and contemporary vessels. Offered fall semester. Prerequisite: CE 202 or consent of instructor.  Required text to be determined.   

CE304  Ceramic Sculpture | 3 semester credits
Within the context of ceramic sculpture, a variety of methods are presented from which students can choose to explore and develop their personal approaches to making ceramic sculpture. Topics discussed include the figure, the vessel, installation, mixed media, contemporary and/or personal issues. Offered spring semester. Prerequisite: CE 301 or consent of instructor. Required text to be determined.

CE490  Ceramics Tutorial | 3 semester credits
Intended for post-baccalaureate students, the tutorial provides an opportunity for a student to work directly with a faculty mentor to gain knowledge and insight not available in regularly scheduled classes.  Together they design a curriculum that includes a number of individual projects based on skill level, which helps direct the student toward his/her goals.  As individual problems arise, the student develops solutions in conjunction with the mentor, providing an  intense learning situation for the student. Prerequisite:  Consent of instructor. Required text to be determined.

Learn more about the College's programs of study:

Undergraduate programs

Bachelor of Fine Arts in Craft

The Certificate in Craft

Post-Baccalaureate Certificate in Craft (requires a bachelor's degree)

Graduate programs

Master of Fine Arts in Craft

Collaborative Masters of Fine Arts in Applied Craft + Design




Calendar Events

April 23, 2014 to April 27, 2014
Opening Reception April 23rd | 4-6pm

April 23, 2014

April 26, 2014
5:00 PM


MFA Chair Karl Burkheimer interviews Alumni Josh Smith in Drain Magazine

OCAC Students Selected as Finalists for 2014 NICHE Awards

OCAC Alumna Hilary Pfeifer Featured in American Craft Magazine

Noted contemporary artists Dana Schutz & Ryan Johnson Visit OCAC

Michael Lammers Joins Oregon College of Art and Craft, Portland, Oregon as Chief Financial Officer