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Your Passion for Clay.

Ceramics

MECA’s Ceramics Program offers a broad curriculum that features introductory classes in throwing and handbuilding, as well as a range of advanced ceramics electives that includes raku, soda, porcelain, slip casting, tableware, sculptural ceramics, experimental surfaces, and mixed materials.

Clay is an intimate and impressionable material. Ceramics is a diverse medium that includes a range of possibilities, from the functional vessel to large scale sculpture. At MECA, the ceramics faculty deeply engage students in the creative process, from making clay to formalizing glazes to building and firing kilns. Courses like Clay and Glaze Chemistry, Introduction to the Discipline (ceramics art history), and Professional Practices augment the studio classes and provide an in-depth, well-rounded education geared toward a professional career.

Spotlight

  • Faculty
  • Alumni
  • Student
  • Iva Milovanovic '16

    From my time spent in MECA I have learned persistency is very important, never to give up.

    Describe a body of work that you are currently working on. My work explores the interactions of everyday experiences into sculptural representations of pleasure and absurdity, an insight into what I love and dread in other people. My sculptural installations incorporate clay and other materials such as wood, metal and fabric, into . . .Read More

  • Iva Milovanovic '16

    Congratulations to all of the participants in the 2015 BFA Exhibition. Best in Show: Iva Milovanovic '16, . . .

    Congratulations to all of the participants in the 2015 BFA Exhibition. Best in Show: Iva Milovanovic ’16, Ceramics 2nd Place: David Martinez ’16, Metalsmithing & Jewelry 3rd Place (tie): Betsy Lewis ’16, Metalsmithing & Jewelry 3rd Place (tie): Marty Renolds ’17, Painting Best Work by a . . .Read More

  • Miles Spadone '12

    Personally, my greatest challenge while at MECA was trying clarify how to best express my ideas.

    Describe a body of work that you have made. I am interested in the essence of a form through a process of reduction. Void of decoration, the surface of my work is expressed like skin over ribs, where rigid meets languid. My work strives to suspend an emerging moment of transformation, the moment when impression and […]Read More

  • Inge Herzog-Rice '13

    I can say I would not be who I am today without MECA. Not only did my best work came from there, from . . .

    Describe a body of work that you are currently working on. My favorite piece of work would be the life size tiger sculpture I made the last semester of my senior year. It was created as a symbol of my love after getting engaged on winter break— I find love to be such a source of […]Read More

  • Mark Johnson

    It is my goal to make pottery relevant to our time, and to give it a meaningful place in our culture.

    Ceramics Professor Mark Johnson is featured in the May/June issue of Pottery Making Illustrated magazine. The article is entitled “Compose and Contain: Flower Rafts,” which features the step-by-step process of making and glazing his work. Learn more and buy the issue here. About his work, he says, “Curiosity about the . . .Read More

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Outcomes

  • Formal

    Ceramics is a hybrid medium; it embraces a range of formal principles from two- and three-dimensional design, as well as the concerns of sculptural and functional art making. These complex interrelationships help define the contemporary dynamic of the medium. Students learn about the ways form addresses space. They learn about balance, stance, profile, symmetry and asymmetry, rhythm, movement and scale. Students learn about the formal issues of the vessel: the relationship of inside volume to outside form and the relationship of inside surface to outside surface. They also learn about the relationship between form and function, the importance of craftsmanship and attention to detail, color relationships and the effect of glazes and slips upon the surface of form, and how to orchestrate the two-dimensional processes of drawing and painting on a three-dimensional form.

  • Conceptual

    Students learn to organize and apply the formal principles of design in the service of content. They learn to work in a self-directed manner and to define areas of personal interest. Students develop the critical insight to objectively examine their own work and the work of their peers. Students learn to write an artist statement that clearly articulates their process of making and reflects an understanding of the sources of influence within and beyond the art world. Students also learn to research artists with whom they share ideas and content. Students learn to relate their work to historical and contemporary issues.

  • Technical

    In the Throwing Class students learn the sequential process of centering, opening and throwing the clay into an increasing complex range of vessel forms. In the Handbuilding Class students learn tile making, coil building, slab construction, mold making, and slip casting techniques. Students learn the safe operation of departmental equipment including the clay mixer, slab roller, potter’s wheels, extruder, and spray booth. Students learn methods for the safe operation of gas and electric kilns. They also learn about the design and construction of these kilns. Students learn to fire their own artwork. Students are required to know the fundamental properties of ceramic materials. Once this basic knowledge is acquired, students learn to formulate and test clay bodies, glazes, and slips. Students learn to apply this technical information to developing clay bodies and glazes appropriate for their artwork. Students are required to maintain a safe studio practice and comply with the college’s environmental plan.

  • Professional

    An integrated curriculum incorporates career preparation practices into both years of the Ceramics major. The sequence of professional experiences begins in the junior year with an emphasis on the documentation of studio work. Ceramics Majors are required to photograph work with the goal of developing a professional portfolio prior to graduation. High quality visual documentation is the basis for application to publications, exhibitions, and other professional activity. Majors are encouraged to gain professional experience by applying for juried exhibitions outside of the college. They are required to research graduate schools, artist-in-residence programs, and grant opportunities; each student then presents information to the class. Seniors are required, after reviewing a variety of formats and styles, to prepare a professional resume. Seniors are required to prepare a substantial artist statement that summarizes the process of developing their final body of work. The artist statement has proven to be a valuable component of the last semester: it is a portable document that students have regularly incorporated into applications for career opportunities. An annual field trip to an artist’s studio acquaints seniors with the realities of setting up a studio after graduation.

FAQs

  • What are some of the career paths for someone who majors in Ceramics?

    Our ceramics graduates have gone on to a range of careers. Some have become successful studio artists making and selling their work in galleries and online. Other graduates have gone to work in larger production studios. A number of our graduates have gone into K-12 education. Graduates have opened their own galleries. Others have gone on to earn MFA degrees in graduate school. Our graduates have been hired as technical assistants at colleges and art centers.

  • How do you prepare your students for the real world?

    The Ceramics Program provides the students with a rigorous course of study that prepares them for the real world. Ceramics majors take courses that teach them how to formulate and make their own clay and glazes. They also learn how to fire a range of kilns. Majors learn about the history of the medium as well as issues of contemporary practice and theory. Students also take a course in Professional Practices that prepares them for a career as a practicing artist.

  • What are the prerequisites to major in Ceramics?

    Students take two semesters of ceramics electives as the prerequisite to major.

  • What unique skills do your students get?

    The ceramics students get a deep experience with a range of ceramic processes. There is a strong commitment to gaining confidence with the medium. Ceramics majors take courses that teach them how to formulate and make their own clay and glazes. They also learn how to fire a range of kilns. Students are provided with access to a state of the art facility with excellent ventilation.

  • Will I be able to incorporate other media or interests with my work as a Ceramics major?

    Ceramics majors are encouraged to develop and explore their personal interests in their major work. Students have often chosen to incorporate a range of materials into their art work. There is a ceramics elective course called Mystery, Material, and Metaphor that requires the use of multiple materials.

  • What are some of the classes that are offered in your department?

    Introduction to Handbuilding, Introduction to Throwing, Advanced Throwing, Tableware, Atmospheric Firing: Raku and Soda, Mystery, Materials, and Metaphor Clay, Culture, and Context, Slip Casting, Clay and Glaze Chemistry, Junior Studio, and Senior Studio.

  • What are the faculty like?

    All of the Faculty in the Ceramics Department are master teachers committed to providing students with a thorough education. The Ceramics Faculty are active studio artists the are showing and publishing work nationally.

  • What are your facilities like?

    The ceramics facilities are excellent; there are 30 electric wheels, 6 electric kilns of various sizes, 2 test kins, 2 updraft gas car kiln, an indoor Raku kiln and a soda kiln, rooms for clay mixing, glaze mixing, and moldmaking. There are separate studios for the Ceramics Majors.

  • What are some examples of internships your students have done in the past?

    Students have interned at the Cathedral School and gained valuable teaching experience. Students have interned with practicing studio artists and at community art studios.

  • How many students (juniors and seniors) do you typically have in your major?

    There are typically 12 to 18 Ceramics Majors.

  • Can you give me some examples of Artists at Work in your department?

    Ceramics students have taught in the Cathedral School program, held annual an Senior Ceramics exhibition, participated in Holiday Sale events and gallery shows outside of MECA. Many students have attended summer workshops at national craft centers including Haystack, Penland, and Watershed Center for Ceramic Art.

Program

Preparation (1st & 2nd Year)
Ceramics Handbuilding (CE 101) or Ceramics Throwing – Beginning (CE 201) and (1) CE Studio Elective

Junior Year (3rd Year)
Ceramics III: Majors Studio (CE 301-CE 302), Glaze Chemistry & Kiln Firing (CE 311), Introduction To The Discipline Of Ceramics And Its Influence (CE 351), Junior Seminar (SEM 352-3-4), and (1) Approved Studio Elective

Senior Year (4th Year)
Ceramics IV: Majors Studio (CE 401-CE 402), Senior Synthesis (SEM 451-SEM 452), and (2) Approved Studio Electives

Workspace & Tools

Ceramics majors have 24/7 access to individual spaces in a separate studio area that affords both privacy and space to develop a focused body of artwork. From ancient tools to cutting-edge applications, our studios and equipment are designed to encourage exploration of both sculptural and functional ceramics. MECA students have access to a range of potter’s wheels, clay mixing machinery, and an innovative indoor kiln room that houses electric, gas reduction, soda vapor, and raku kilns. Our students also enjoy a fully stocked glaze room with large-capacity spray booth and a separate room for mold making and slip casting.

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  • We are a really tight-knit group in the Ceramics Program. In addition to the one-on-one critiques that happen every day, we also have group critiques regularly throughout the semester.

    Inge Herzog  2013  //  Ceramics  //  Jonesport, ME

What do our alumni do?

Statistics from the 2012 Strategic National Arts Alumni project (SNAAP)

Did you know?

56% is the national average for arts alumni that work as professional artists.

45% is the national average for arts alumni that are self employed, independent contractors, or freelance workers.

67

Work as professional artists

24

Work as graphic designers, illustrators, or art directors

23

Work for a nonprofit

21

Work as craft artists

35

Work as fine artists

25

Work as art teachers

19

Pursued an MFA after graduation

61

Are self-employed, independent contractors or freelance workers

91

Make art in their personal time

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