Common Ground by Erin Elizabeth Wilson

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ART 253 A: Introduction to 3D4M: Ceramics

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Meeting Time: 
MW 2:30pm - 5:20pm
ART 124
Stephanie Hanes
Stephanie Hanes

Syllabus Description:

Course offered: Spring 2019

Instructor: Stephanie E. Hanes


Meeting Information: Mondays and Wednesdays from 2:30PM-5:20PM

Room: Ceramics Studio Art- 124

Room codes: 002 – AUF / 124 - DUF

Office and Hours: CMA 111 by Appointment M-F

Credits: 5

Prerequisites: None


Welcome to Introduction to Ceramics Art 253 A, It will introduce students the exploration of functional and sculptural approaches to creating clay objects, by investigating its history, as well as relevant art theory and basic aesthetics.This will be emphasized through readings and group/individual critiques, each student will have to do research project or presentation on a ceramics artist; then present their findings to the class. There will be frequent demonstrations, slides and videos of artists that are pushing boundaries of ceramics, sculpture, and critical theory.

 Ceramics is a dynamic medium that requires constant effort and attention to detail, we will delve into each project with a preliminary technical exercise, sketch, or reading to reflect upon a vocabulary to establish a form. Students will learn the fundamentals of ceramics, such as hand building techniques of pinch coil, slab, solid construction, working from live observation and also basic wheel throwing. This will be exercised 4-5 projects, where students are expected to work outside of class 10 hrs per week to complete assignments on time. Through making and thinking, students will build confidence and their skills will increase; giving them more control over the objects that they make. Lastly, we will cover glazing, pit firing, raku and alternative surface techniques to add dimension and a richness of surface that is indicative to the medium. 

Students provide clay and tools. Your first bag is already paid for, additional clay can be purchased at the art office (Room 102) for $10.50 a bag (cash, check, or Husky Card only).

Course Objectives

  • To facilitate three-dimensional thinking and heighten awareness of the interplay between visual tactile information and to explore the relationships between 3D and 2D in a single sculpture.
  • To understand and utilize basic technical, visual and analytical information to formulate and express an idea in clay.
  • To develop an aesthetic awareness and sensitivity to basic design elements & principles as they apply to the form and surface of an object.
  • To come up with creative solutions to problem solving assignments.
  • To develop and apply a vocabulary used in ceramics and sculpture.
  • To Interpret traditional and contemporary ceramic content to formulate and apply these viewpoints in their work
  • To empower students to challenge themselves by experimenting with ideas and materials allowing them to apply past media into ceramics.

Course Outcomes

  • Minor research assignments on artists, conceptual philosophies, materials and techniques                                                                                                                     
  • High quality craftsmanship of objects.                                                
  • Constructive discussions, critiques and activities.

Course Methods 

  • The course will required studio assignments in hand building (2-3 projects) and wheel throwing (2-3 projects)
  • Each will be critiqued as a group as well as one-on-one guidance throughout each project.
  • Each assignment will be described in a short handout.
  • Each in-class project is to influence your final project presentation.
  • There will be several homework assignments which should require about 10+ hours of work per week outside of class.

Evaluation ( For more in depth information see grading rubric)

Major Assignments: 80%

Minor Assignments & Participation: 20%

Grading Scale  *Grading will follow standard University and SoA+AH+D guidelines and be based upon effort, individual growth and meaningful participation in critiques.

A- Excellent 4.0-3.5

B- Above average 3.4-2.5

C- Average 2.4-1.5

D- Below Average 1.4-0.9

F- Failure 0.8 and below


A Complete understanding of ceramic processes discussed, able to produce high quality work with an attention to detail. Shows a high level of enthusiasm by testing and experimenting with ceramic materials and processes. Each project highly original and employs technical and conceptual ways to convey meaning. Applies a refined understanding of critical themes, and makes valuable contribution to group critiques and conversation. Submission of work is on time, with a thorough consideration to visual and verbal presentation. Goes above and beyond the basic requirements of the course.


B Clear understanding of ceramic construction techniques discussed, skills and investigation into ceramic are adequate. Makes an effort to grow as an artist by engaging with peers and responds to suggestions. Contributes regularly to critiques, completed all assignments on time with attention to presentation and verbal presentation. Displays above average competency of basic requirements.

C Demonstrates a basic understanding of ceramic construction techniques discussed. Does not contribute regularly to critiques and group discussions in a constructive way. Puts in a minimal effort to complete all assignments on time, with a nominal attention to visual and verbal presentation. Didn’t really respond to suggestions and experimented very little with ceramic and mixed media materials.

D Displays little understanding of ceramic construction techniques, has incomplete and late assignments. Seldom contributes to critiques and class discussions, shows little  development of work. Has not experimented with ceramic processes and puts in minimal effort into displaying and producing work.

F Failed to meet minimum requirements. Cannot produce ceramic work, because of lack of attendance. Has no contact with peers and does not respond productively to criticism and is unable to give insight into other’s work. Puts in no effort into investigating ideas and poor presentation of work.

Equal Opportunity

In concurrence with the University of Washington’s core values, and in compliance with State and federal regulations, the School of Art + Art History + Design reaffirms its commitment to equal opportunity. The commitment extends to the recruitment of faculty, staff, and students who exhibit a dedication to creative and academic excellence and who demonstrate the ability to work with a diverse spectrum of populations. 


The School of Art + Art History + Design fosters a respectful, inclusive community that supports creative and critical expression and scholarship amidst a culture that accepts the value of every individual. The School encourages students, faculty, and staff to engage in healthy dialogue and respect the values and global perspectives of a diverse population. The School promotes and encourages a culture of compassion, understanding, and an obligation to respectful discourse in classrooms, meeting rooms, studio spaces, and beyond. The School’s philosophy is reflected in our engagement with community partners and research endeavors locally, nationally, and globally. 

Critique Statement

Critique is an important way to learn and expand on a form of creative thinking, that is used in a generative way to engage with others. We must be open to each others’ unique ways of seeing, to try to understand and learn from our work more efficiently. The goal is to learn how to critique in a clear and constructive manner, free from personal vendettas. Active and productive contributions in critiques are a foundation for establishing a strong studio practice. It gives you the ability to participate the academic sphere within the arts community. 

Throughout the term you will be participating in various forms of critiques. Some formats may be different for you, so please be respectful of other individuals that have different needs and skill sets than yourself. Let’s create an open dialogue about your opinions may it be about the readings, critiquing as a group, individually, or even critiquing your own work in a group setting.

Class Expectations and Participation

First day attendance policy: Instructors assume that if you are not present for roll call on the first day of a studio art class you have decided not to remain enrolled. If you miss the first day without permission, it is your responsibility to drop the course. You may contact the instructor in advance and ask for permission to be absent on the first day. Participation is essential to learning and success in all classes. Absences from class prevent participation and may negatively affect grades. If you miss class due to illness or emergency, notify your instructor, provide documentation, and set up a timeline to complete missed assignments and exams. Writing assignments must be turned in on time. Printed versions must be handed in as requested. Time-stamped electronic delivery counts as much as the printed document.

Please arrive early enough to class to set up your work area and gather your materials from your locker.  Please silence all electronic devices during class unless otherwise requested, and absolutely refrain from use of phones/laptops for calls, texting, and other communications during class. If you need to leave to use the restroom no need to ask. Class will end 5-10 minutes before class is over to clean up.

Student Code of Conduct
The University of Washington has established rules regarding student conduct. Through the Student Conduct Code, UW students hold themselves to the highest

standards of ethics, integrity and accountability. 

More information at UW Community Standards & Student Conduct (CSSC): 

General Studio Policies & Building Use 

Art Building hours: M-Th 7:00am–7:00pm; Fri 7:00am–5pm; Sat 1:00pm–5:00pm; Sun 9:00am-5:00pm. Closed on UW holidays. 

Students may request after-hours access to the Art Building for course-related work by completing an online form:

All School policies and safety practices apply during after-hours use of the buildings and facilities. 

Only students enrolled in classes for the quarter may occupy and use the studios, facilities, and equipment. 

The campus police frequently monitor our facilities for your safety. 

The sculpture studio contains many potentially hazardous materials and equipment. Throughout the semester we will go over proper use of essential tools and materials as well as safe use practices. Remember, if you have any questions or are unsure of how to use a tool or piece of equipment, stop and ask the instructor or technician for help. All safe-handling procedures for both materials and equipment must be strictly followed. 

*** University regulations do not allow students to sit in classes or be in the studios if they are not enrolled or officially auditing.


One (1) locker must be shared by two student during the semester. You are responsible for getting your own lock. Please be aware that theft and vandalism are always a possibility and that you are responsible for your work and property. Please label your locker with your name and the current semester IE: Your Name, Spring 2019

DO NOT STORE FLAMMABLE OR COMBUSTIBLE ITEMS IN LOCKERS. Rent lockers by the quarter or academic year from Art 102. 

****The deadline for clean-out is the last day of finals for each quarter, If work is not removed by the specific time and date you will lose a letter grade.

Abandoned items will be disposed. 

Disability Accommodation

To request academic accommodations due to a disability, please contact Student Disability Services, 448 Schmitz, (206) 543-8924 (V/TTY) or Your instructor will receive an email outlining your academic accommodations prior to the first day of class. It is a good idea to discuss these accommodations directly with your instructor to ensure that your instructor can help you with your needs. 

Service Animals 

The University has a general “no pets” policy in all of its buildings. However, Service Animals are allowed to accompany their handlers while on campus UW Disability Resources for Students outlines the policies around Service and Emotional Support Animals:  

Concerns about a course, an individual, or an issue
If you have concerns about a course, an individual, or an issue concerning the School of Art + Art History + Design, talk with the instructor in charge of the class as soon as possible. If this is not possible or productive, make an appointment with the Director of Academic Advising, 104 Art, 206-543- 0646 or the Director of the School of Art, 102 Art, 206-685-2442. 

Violence Awareness and Prevention

Preventing violence, discrimination, harassment, and retaliation is everyone's responsibility. 

Call 911 for emergency help. 

Call 206-685-SAFE to report non-urgent threats or concerns. 

Safe Campus: 

Concerns about sexual harassment: 

NightRide provides a fare-free safe way for U-Pass members to get home at night: 

Connect to UW Alert. Register your mobile device to receive instant notification of campus emergencies via text and 

voice messaging. Sign up at 

Emergency Phone Numbers

General Emergency 9-911

Campus Police 206-685-8973

University of Washington BA Honors Track

A new honors degree is being offered by the Division of Art. A BA with Departmental Honors will offer students increased rigor and challenge within each concentration, as well as the opportunity to be a part of a larger Honors peer group from the four Art Division concentrations (Painting and Drawing, 3D4M, Photo/Media and IVA). The completion of the Honors degree entitles majors to graduate "with distinction” and be eligible to apply for several scholarships across the University available specifically to honors students. In addition, students have access to honors studio space. More information can be found in Art Advising and from the faculty in your concentration. 

Heath & Safety

Substances and equipment used in creative processes can be hazardous. 

Enrollment in a class requires students to know, understand, and comply with all safety and equipment use policies for each classroom/studio. 

Spray booths are mandatory for the use of aerosols. 

Students should wear proper clothing, closed toe shoes and may never go barefoot in the studio.

Students may not under any circumstance use any equipment or tool that they have not been trained or authorized to use.

Students may not bring friends who are not registered in a sculpture class into the facility in order to teach them how to use the equipment or tools.

Students have 24/7 access but it is not advisable stay in the studio’s past 10PM unless accompanied by another classmate or sculpture student.

There is a direct line to the campus police should anyone witness strange or suspicious behavior they should contact the police.

A clean studio is imperative for your health and other’s, so at the end of class we will dedicate 10 mins to cleaning the room. 

Students should be aware of the health risks that come with the materials and processes they are using.  Students also should consider their own specific health concerns and inform the instructor if such concerns need consideration or accommodation. 

As a result each person should own a particulate/vapor respirator. So please be mindful and always consider other’s health by always cleaning up your area that you work at outside of class.  If you have any questions regarding health and safety I will be happy assist you. I recommend a book by Monona Rossol called: “The Artist's Complete Health & Safety Guide”.

Examination Schedule
Students are required to turn in assignments and take exams based on the timeline provided in the class syllabus. Final exams are scheduled by the University and cannot be changed. Do not make plans that will prevent you from attending your final exam(s). 

Plagiarism is using the creations, ideas, words, inventions, or images of someone else in your own work without formal acknowledgement or permission. This applies to written papers and research as well as to art, design and architectural images. Please check with your instructor if you have questions about what constitutes plagiarism.Instances of plagiarism will be referred for disciplinary action to the Vice Provost for Academic & Student Affairs. More information about reporting academic misconduct: 


The School regularly displays student art and design in a variety of ways to highlight the quality of our students and their learning. This is traditional among all art schools and we assume that by participating in UW School classes and activities students have no objection. If you have concerns about the use of your work, please contact Academic Advising and Student Services (206-543- 0646 or

Incomplete Grades
To request an “incomplete” grade a student must have: been in attendance and done satisfactory work through the eighth week of the quarter satisfactory proof for the instructor that the work cannot be completed because of illness or other circumstances beyond their control. More information from the UW Office of the Registrar: 

Grade Appeal Procedure 

If you think the grade you received is incorrect, contact the instructor to discuss your concern. If not resolved, make an appointment with the Director of Academic Advising, 104 Art, 543-0646. 

Materials Fees
All art, design and art history classes have materials fees billed with tuition. Fee amounts and justifications are listed by class in the quarterly Time Schedule. These fees cover the purchase of materials, academic support, and equipment provided for students in each class. You may need to purchase your own material if you artistic vision requires special products and materials not covered by the course fee.

Art Building Exhibition Guidelines 

Instructors and students must receive approval from the Administrator of the School in order to install work outside the classroom. Use of hallway bulletin boards and glass cases does not require approval. Submit a written description of the proposal two weeks prior to installation to the School Administrator, 102 Art. The approval process considers issues of location, health and safety, fire code, environmental factors, and potential building damage. 

Applicants will be notified of a decision within a week of the application date. 

Suggested Materials  

The ceramics studios have a limited amount of tools left by previous students. You may use those tools or buy your own set. The University Bookstore and Artist and Craftsman Supply stock most of these tools, but for a better selection and price, visit one of the following:

Seattle Pottery Supply, 35 South Hanford

Clay Art, 2636 Pioneer Way E, Tacoma

  • Ceramic starter kit of tools (Brushes, Needle Tool, Metal or Rubber Rib, Wire Tool)
  • Plastic sheeting for wrapping work in progress.
  • Sponges (natural is best)
  • Spray bottle
  • Fork
  • Bucket 1 Gallon size
  • Towel
  • A smock, apron, or a change of clothes that can get dirty.
  • Respirator
  • Eye Protection
  • Rubber Gloves
  • Paper for Drawing
  • Sketchbook for notes.*(laptops or I pads are not recommended in the ceramics lab due to dust and potential theft)
  • An assortment of cheap or old brushes
  • Newspaper

CourseTimeline  * Will be displayed on canvas, so keep up to date.

Assignments will be described in detail in a short hand-out.

1. Coil/ Pinch construction to be pit fired.

2. Slab-Geometric sculpture for Raku.

3. Throwing-Cylinders/ Cups/ Handles

4. Mold making for the wheel.

5. (Maybe if there is time) Making your own personalized extruder dye.


Glossary of Terms

Bisque - Clay that has been fired once past quartz inversion, typically fired to cone 08-04. This means that bisque ware is still porous enough to receive glaze.

Bone Dry- Clay is completely dry, ready for bisque.

Clay Body- Is a mixture of ball clay and minerals for a specific ceramic purpose. Such as  sculpture bodies that usually has grog or a smooth throwing body that typically has more ball clay for plasticity. It is also important to consider the cone firing temperature when thinking about economy, lower firing clays take less money and energy to fire. 

Coil Building- An ancient way of building a hollow form by rolling clay and attaching ropes of soft clay.

Cones- Pyrometric cones; pyramids made of clay that indicate temperature by bending at specific temperatures.

Decal- Ceramic pigment photo-screened onto flexible decal paper for transfer over top an already glaze surface (Overglaze), usually fired to cone 017-019.

Deflocculation- The addition of a catalyst (Darvan or Sodium Silicate) to clay to reduce the amount of water required create a viscous form of clay. Used in slip casting.

Extrusion- The forcing of plastic clay through a form, mechanically by hand. Shape can be hollow or solid.

Firing- Heating clay in a kiln to the required temperature for clay or glaze.

Flux- A mineral or mixture that has a low melting point, used to lower the melting point of other materials. One of the three main component is glaze, to increase density of clay body. Typical fluxes are lead, borax, feldspar, and frit.

Glaze- A melted coating developed by chemical and heat on a clay or metal surface. Glaze can provide decoration and colour, prevents penetration of liquids or acids, yields glossy and matt surfaces.

Glaze Stain- Fabricated ceramic colorants from metallic oxides.

Greenware- Unfired clay.

Grog- Crushed fired clay that is then put into clay to reduce shrinkage, aids in even drying and firing.

Kiln Wash- Is used on kilns shelves aid in repelling glaze from the shelve, helps in giving your furniture longevity.

Leather-Hard- A cheese-hard stage which clay reaches before bone dry; stiff enough to support itself, but still can be altered.

Mold- Usually a plaster form, single or multi-pieced, which will be used to reproduce accurate copies of the original model in clay or plaster.

Once-Fire- Glazing leather-hard or bone dry ware, firing to a maturing temperature ( This skips the first bisque). It is typically used for economical purposes to reduce firing cost in industrial production.

Oxidation- Glazing with 100% oxygen atmosphere in the kiln.

Plasticity- Workability of the clay, ability to form into any shape.

Porcelain- Mechanically strong, fired with 0% absorption. Strongest of all clay bodies. Usually used when throwing.

Refractory- Resistant to melting or fusions.

Resist- Wax, varnish, latex or torch applied in pattern on clay or glaze surface.

Sgraffito- A design scratching through one surface or another.

Shrinkage- Contraction of clays or bodies in drying and firing, caused by the loss of water and chemical water and achieving molecular density.

Silica- Found in nature as quartz, sand, and flint; most essential oxide in ceramics, the glass forming oxide.

Slip-A suspension of ceramic materials in water. Can refer to casting slip, can mean liquid colored clay for leather hard decoration or for bisque as an engobe.

Stoneware- Hard, dense, durable, usually contains grog, ideal for hand-building.

Terra cotta-  Rust red clay sure to high iron content, low fire, historically red or orange. Good for throwing and hand building.

Terra Sigllata- Fine ground pigmented clay applied to leather-hard, bone dry, bisque. It has a sheen when burnished. Low fire.

Thermocouple- A protruding pair of wires of different metals, encased in ceramic material. It registers the temperature of interior of kiln.

Underglaze- Pigments designated as underglaze stains, overglaze stains, and body stains applied leather hard or after bisque.

Viscosity-Property of flow. A highly viscous glaze does not flow much when fired. A low viscous glaze is runny and flows off of object.

Vitreous- Glass like, hard, dense.

Wedging- Kneading clay to expel air bubbles and to make the clay homogeneous for hand processing
























Catalog Description: 
Introduces ceramic hand-building and wheel throwing techniques. Explores functional and conceptual considerations with clay in a contemporary context and art practice. Offered: AWSp.
GE Requirements: 
Visual, Literary, and Performing Arts (VLPA)
Last updated: 
August 2, 2019 - 9:11pm