Finally….the Final Project!

November 11, 2008


The Box Assignment

To work within a set or parameters to create an aesthetically and conceptually sound multi-media project.

Each of you will be given an identical wooden box. Using this as your starting point or framing structure, you will create a ceramic object (or objects) to go in the box. There are no requirements as to what this object has to be – it does not have to be functional, it does not have to be a single piece, it does not have to be multiple pieces, it can include a dozen (or two) found objects or no found objects. It does, however, have to be fired (I am looking at ceramics, not clay) but does not have to be glazed.

You can feel free to modify the box as you see fit – paint it, carve it, add to it, cut out of it, stain it (I would strongly recommend at least staining it), mount it to the wall or set it on its side. There really are very few limitations to this assignment.

Due date
This box will be due for the final interview (date to be determined.) If you would like, you can display if for the class at the final critique too.

Artist Statement
There is a second part to this assignment – an artist statement. For the final presentation please have a one – two paragraph artist statement ready. This should talk a bit about what you have created or about what your artist practice is about in general. This statement will NOT be marked but it is required for this assignment. Also, I am fully ready, able and willing to help you with your artist statement any time you would like.

Download the complete assignment: art361-assignment5


Art and the creative process

November 9, 2008

Jillian Tamaki, a Brooklyn-based illustrator and art instructor, recently posted an elegant essay on her personal creative process, explaining step by step how she creates her work and offering advice to those who hope to be effective artists.

The essay is an excellent insight into not only the creative process of an artist, but also the process behind appreciating art and creativity. Her advice boils down to one straightforward concept: “The viewer should be charmed, intrigued, empathetic, repulsed, provoked. SOMETHING. They should be touched enough to want to cut the illustration out of the magazine.” It really is as simple as that. SHe might not be a ceramic artist but I think you might find the article interesting – especially if you have hit a wall.

Read it HERE.

Ceramics 361:: Assignment IV :: Artist Reviews

October 28, 2008

Aim: To look at contemporary art and ceramics magazines and books to develop an awareness of the convention of writing artist’s statements.

Task: Look through books, magazines and/or the Internet to find articles on artists that interest you.  Read the article and make a brief review (one-half to one page typed and double-spaced) about the article and respond to what the artists said.  Submit your review along with a good photocopy of the statement you are discussing.

Writing Skills Assistance
: Need free help with your writing assignments? The Writing Skills Tutor is available to assist you with all aspects of writing – including research and planning, sentence and paragraph structure, thesis statements, grammar, spelling, and the correct usage of style guides (eg. APA, MLA). You’re welcome to e-mail an essay or other writing assignment to the tutor. She will read it over, insert helpful comments on how the paper can be improved, and then e-mail it back to you. Please ensure that the tutor receives your assignment at least three business days before you’d like it returned to you.

For more information about this service, or to submit an assignment for review, please contact:

Heather Vander Plaat – Writing Skills Tutor

Download the full assignment here: art361-assignment4

Ceramics 261 :: Assignment IV :: Plaster Mould, Glaze Tests and Lidded Forms

October 28, 2008

Aim: To investigate low relief and texture in a repeating pattern panel that will be cast in plaster. The finished negative mould will be used to press clay directly into the plaster creating textured panels used to hand build a form. You will use this mould(s) to make both test tiles for glazes and 2 lidded containers.

Task: To create a repeating pattern composition that can be translated into low relief and texture. Using this low relief form, you will construct two lidded containers and a series of test tiles.

Download the entire assignment: art261-assignment4

The economy got you down? It might be a good time for art.

October 28, 2008

With the economy on a daily rollercoaster ride of ups and downs there is a lot of uncertainty in the art world. However, all might not be grim and dark for the artist true to themselves. Here is one take on it:

Frieze After the Freeze

The part about all the galleries closing is scary, but the article finishes with a light for the future. Unless you are in it for the bucks.

ART 361:: Assignment 3 :: Ceramic Technology :: Clay and Glaze Testing

October 19, 2008

Attached below is the Clay and Glaze Testing Assignment. The basics of this assignemnet are to learn how to mix and test a glaze and how to test your clay for shrinkage.

Due Dates
Clay and Glaze tests – November 12
Class Glaze mixing – December 3 (but leaving it to the end does not help the class)


Now, for something different to read, check out the Incomplete Manifesto by Bruce Mau on his website. It is an interesting read while you are looking for a way to procrastinate.

ART 361:: Assignment 2 :: Hand Building :: Stacking Sculptures

October 14, 2008
Kathy King - Homefront


1 – To investigate personal imagery and mythology. By using some of the things that you have already learned in ceramics (different methods of hand building; coil, pinching, slab-building, and extruding) incorporated with symbolic imagery and stylization of forms you will communicate an idea that has personal significance 2 – To continue to learn how to make large ceramic objects (sculpture) using separate components.
The Structures

Personal History Structure – You will create a multi-piece, stacking sculpture communicating that somehow related to your personal History. This can be about something you are interested in, something about your family members, a childhood dream (or nightmare), a totemic style detailing the structure of your nuclear family or a series of objects relating reoccurring images from your life. The tale your sculpture tells is up to you.

Future Dream Structure – You will create a second multi-piece, stacking sculpture that communicates something about your future or the idea of the future (other than your own.) This second structure is very open ended. Let your ideas run wild with both the form and the content.


Planning and Drawing – For this project it will be very important that you have in place an over all plan for you various structures. You will be making multiple forms that will be fitting together in a variety of ways – visually, physically and conceptually – and to do this haphazardly may results in extra stress you surely do not need.

Have a plan, a drawing, a timeline, or whatever else you work best from ready to show me on Wednesday, October 22. You need to show me what you want to make before you get started – this is a deadline!

Testing – There are many different things you might want to try for this – working in different temperatures, multiple firings, glazes, slips, multi-media, different clays, decals, etc – and I am more that happy with helping you out with whatever idea you would like to try. But. In order to succeed, you will have to test your ideas our before hand. Remember this when planning your sculptures- The final form will be a sculpture with at least three separate parts that stack on top of each other and work together to tell a story. These forms can stack simply with the power of gravity or you can use a threaded bar, a dowel or even wire to hold your form upright. Remember to keep this additional portion hidden (unless it is a part of your narrative/piece.) Note: you can also use bar or dowel to create interesting cantilever effects in you structure. Use your imagination.

Look at Kathy King for some initial ideas.

Here is the assignmnet for you to download: art361-assignment2