Undergraduate students in ceramics are engaged in a rigorous program that simultaneously develops their conceptual, technical, and formal skills as artists. There is a natural progression of courses, beginning with more structured assignments and skill development, working towards more independent projects at the advanced level. At all levels, students engage in lively critiques and develop their formal language as they learn to look carefully and discuss one another’s work.
Our state of the art, LEED certified building includes large classroom studios and the Woodman Study Collection: one studio is devoted more to throwing and the other is solely a hand construction studio. Dividing the two spaces is the exhibition room for the Woodman Study Collection. The Woodman Study Collection is a collection of ceramic objects started by Betty Woodman. She had acquired these pieces over her thirty years of teaching in Boulder. The collection has two large glass cases of displayed work and a room with a study table for closer observation and handling of ceramic objects. Ceramic facilities include:
10 Electric Kilns
One very large front-loading
One smaller front-loading
One large Oval
Two large top loading
Four smaller top loading
One small test kiln
Gas and Wood fired kilns
Four downdraft car kilns (one mid sized, three large)
Two mid-sized front-loading downdraft kilns
One smaller front-loading downdraft kiln
One mid-sized downdraft soda kiln
One large downdraft salt kiln
One large downdraft wood fired kiln
Clay Mixing Room
One large 400-500lb. capacity mixer
One smaller Soldner mixer
One de-airing pug mill
One large capacity slip mixer
Plaster Laboratory: The Sculpture and Ceramic Area share a designated Plaster working room. It is large and well equipped and separate from any other clay or sculpture studios.
Clay and Glaze Laboratory: The ceramic area has a fully stocked glaze-mixing laboratory with all the materials necessary for a full studio practice. The material selection is extensive to encourage experimentation across all firing temperatures. The room is large enough to use for glaze application of smaller works. There is a large spray booth for spraying glazes in the kiln building.
Exhibition Spaces: The ceramic area has many designated exhibition spaces including a very large gallery space on the ground level lobby of the Visual Art Center. The entire building has over 25 exhibition spaces for students to reserve and show their work.
Advanced students work together in a large shared studio, each student has their own designated space (the room is locked during off hours). This studio will accomodate approximately 15 upper level students and promotes engagement between peers.
Ceramics 2: Wheelthrowing teaches students the basics of throwing on the wheel, but also investigates surface decorations with engobes and glazes, high-temperature gas kiln firing, and conceptual ideas about the vessel.
Ceramics 2: Handbuilding covers the range of handbuilding techniques to create both architectural and organic forms, as well as working with low-temperature surfaces, electric kiln firing, and large and small scale sculptural projects.
Ceramics 3: Intermediate offers the chance to build on previous skills. Projects might include working with mold making and multiples, a large plate project for the development of surfaces, installations, or developing a narrative through objects.
Ceramics 4: Advanced gives students a chance to work more independently on projects of their own design. Students typically have an opportunity to develop their ideas about presentation of their work in one or more group shows. We also have a strong program of Post-Baccalaureate students in the ceramic area; these students are part of the Advanced Class and lend their expertise, as well as setting a high level of expectations for the class.
Special Topics: Special topics courses have included Ceramic History, Raw Materials: Clay and Glazes, The Object as Prop, Political Content in Ceramic Art, and others. Students are encouraged to take at least one special topics course at any point after the beginning level courses.
Suggestions for a Successful Application for the BFA in Ceramics
We are looking for students who will be able to make excellent work, and work within the schedule required of a BFA student. Your track record as a student, therefore, is a very important consideration in our decision to accept you into the BFA program. To be a successful applicant, you should have:
- an excellent attendance record for your ceramic courses
- all assignments for ceramic courses completed on time
- ambitious projects: do more than what is asked for you for each assignment
- clear internal motivation (you should not rely on external pressure or deadlines to make work in the studio)
In the application, we are looking for
- a thoughtful artist statement that demonstrates you have insight into your own work, and addresses the questions you are asking of yourself in your studio practice
- a body of work that goes beyond assignments completed as class work; we should start to see cohesion in the work you are making
- a high level of technical proficiency
- formal decisions in your work that support your ideas
- overall, a carefully constructed application, with good images of your work
Always feel free to consult with any of the ceramic faculty for advice on putting together your BFA application. We wish you the best of luck!