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CCOG for ART 256A Spring 2023

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Course Number:
ART 256A
Course Title:
Ceramics II
Credit Hours:
Lecture Hours:
Lecture/Lab Hours:
Lab Hours:

Course Description

Explores more sophisticated ceramics as a creative medium. Examines intermediate level ceramic processes and concepts while addressing cultural, historical, and contemporary issues in clay art. Investigates more sophisticated creative problem solving and kinetic skills for clay forming and finishing techniques, including hand building, wheel throwing, various surface treatments, and alternative firing processes. 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.

Addendum to Course Description

This is a follow up course to ART 253A. Students who have identified an interest in exploring ceramics at a deeper level will have the opportunity to practice and develop their knowledge and skills further in this medium. 

Intended Outcomes for the course

Upon completion of the course students should be able to:

  • Demonstrate a deeper understanding of the ceramic process by creating expressive ceramic art work.
  • Communicate their knowledge and abilities, developed through practice, of intermediate-level ceramic skills and techniques.
  • Utilize safe practices surrounding silica dust and other hazardous ceramic materials in the studio.
  • Identify relevant questions, ideas, concepts and issues pertaining to the ceramic arts while including appropriate ceramic vocabulary.
  • Make contextual connections to the larger cultural milieu, both historic and contemporary.
  • Evaluate the quality of personal work as it pertains to the practices and standards of ceramics.
  • Participate in advanced ceramic studio activities.
  • Conform to all studio safety protocols, as well as consideration for the environment and community impact.

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

  • Produce a portfolio of creative work that expresses the student's ideas and aesthetic sense.
  • Acquire a heightened appreciation for ceramics and for the importance of art to culture. 

Course Activities and Design

Primary course activities include: Technical and material demonstrations, lectures, group critique, one-on-one instruction and feedback, plus in-class project work time for students.

Outcome Assessment Strategies

Students will do the following in order to be assessed:

  • Create ceramic pieces employing good craft and in a timely response to assignment challenges and prompts. 
  • Apply analysis of ceramic ideas, techniques, terminology, and issues through participation in formal critiques and discussions.
  • Investigate conceptual ideas through the practice of creative research and preparatory studies (e.g. sketchbooks, journals, maquettes, models, writing assignments, presentations, technical practice tests, etc.).
  • Design, develop, and create an individually expressive body of work.
  • Demonstrate consideration for responsible making (i.e. respect for the classroom community, studio and environment).

Course Content (Themes, Concepts, Issues and Skills)


  • Visual communication
  • Contextual Awareness


  • Form and Aesthetic considerations
  • Purpose/Intent (sculptural, functional, content, meaning)
  • Craft, Skill Building, Discipline, Technique and Material Choices


  • Safe studio practices
  • Personal expression
  • Audience
  • Process and Materials; limitations and possibilities
  • Scale


  • Clay preparation
  • Hand building and/or Wheel throwing skills
  • Glazing
  • Alternative firing processes
  • Surface treatment – carving, engobes, stamps
  • Mark making – stains & underglazes
  • Glaze and other testing techniques
  • Understanding aesthetic choice
  • Critique and self-reflection strategies