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CCOG for ART 254 Spring 2023

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Course Number:
ART 254
Course Title:
Ceramics Hand Building
Credit Hours:
Lecture Hours:
Lecture/Lab Hours:
Lab Hours:

Course Description

Explores hand building processes, techniques, and concepts to create works in clay. Examines fundamental problems in ceramics such as materiality, timing, gravity and weight through basic functional and sculptural works. Investigates historic and contemporary models to understand the possibilities for creative expression through ceramic materials. This course is part of a sequence that includes ART 253A, ART 254, ART 255, ART 256A, and ART 257. Prerequisites: ART 253A or instructor permission. Audit available.

Intended Outcomes for the course

Upon completion of the course students should be able to:

  • Research, design and create works in clay showing a comprehension of ceramic materials, tools and hand building techniques.
  • Create works of art that utilize personal, cultural, historical and contemporary models while responding to material and technical issues.
  • Utilize safe practices surrounding silica dust and other hazardous ceramic materials in the studio.
  • Ask meaningful questions, and identify ideas, concepts and issues pertaining to the ceramic arts while using appropriate ceramic vocabulary.
  • Evaluate the quality of personal work as it pertains to practices and standards of ceramics.

Integrative Learning

Students completing an associate degree at Portland Community College will be able to reflect on one’s work or competencies to make connections between course content and lived experience.

General education philosophy statement

The study of Visual Arts is essential to the development of the individual and one’s meaningful participation in society. At the heart of artistic practice is the ability to organize experience and recognize its meaning. The creation of artwork and appreciation of aesthetics is a source of great pleasure and also a valuable means to effective visual communication. Participating in Visual Arts is an important way for individuals to connect to the past and respond to the present with a stronger sense of engagement with culture and society.

Aspirational Goals

Acquire a heightened appreciation for ceramics and for the importance of art to culture.  A life-long curiosity to discover art through art making and/or regularly visiting shops, galleries, and museums.

Course Activities and Design

Primary course activities include: Technical and material demonstrations, lectures, group critiques, one-on-one instruction and feedback for students, in-class project work time, and open lab times outside of class time.

Outcome Assessment Strategies

Students will do the following in order to be assessed:

●      Create expressive and well-crafted ceramic works in response to challenges and prompts through a variety of hand building and surface treatment techniques.

●      Apply analysis of ceramic ideas, techniques, terminology, and issues through participation in formal critiques and discussions. 

●      Research conceptual ideas through preparatory studies (e.g sketchbooks, journals, maquettes, models, writing assignments, presentations, technical practice, tests, etc.).

Course Content (Themes, Concepts, Issues and Skills)


●      Visual communication

●      Contextual Awareness


●      Form and Aesthetic considerations

●      Purpose (such as function, sculptural, content, meaning)

●      Craft, skill building, discipline, technique, style and material choices


●      Safe studio practices

●      Process and material science, including their potential and limitations

●      Personal expression

●      Audience/Intent

●      Scale


●      Ideation strategies (e.g. models, sketches, journal writing, collage, etc.)

●      Clay preparation such as wedging and recycling

●      Hand building skills such as pinch, coil and slab.

●      Scoring and slipping

●      Timing

●      Surface techniques such as carving, engobes, stamps

●      Surface treatments and applications such as glazes, stains and underglazes

●      Critique and self-reflection strategies