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Essential Objectives

Course Syllabus

Revision Date: 21-Jan-23

Spring 2023 | ART-1231-VR01 - Ceramics I

In Person Class

Standard courses meet in person at CCV centers, typically once each week for the duration of the semester.

Location: Rutland
Credits: 3 (45 hours)
Day/Times: Thursday, 11:45A - 02:30P
Semester Dates: 01-26-2023 to 05-04-2023
Last day to drop without a grade: 02-12-2023 - Refund Policy
Last day to withdraw (W grade): 03-26-2023 - Refund Policy
This course has started, please contact the offering academic center about registration


Maya Zelkin
View Faculty Credentials
View Faculty Statement
Hiring Coordinator for this course: Collin Lee

General Education Requirements

This section meets the following VSC General Education Requirement(s) for Catalog Year 21-22 and later:
Arts & Aesthetics
  1. Many degree programs have specific general education recommendations. In order to avoid taking unnecessary classes, please consult with additional resources like your program evaluation, your academic program catalog year page, and your academic advisor.
  2. Courses may only be used to meet one General Education Requirement.

Course Description

Students explore the design and aesthetics of clay and practice fundamental production techniques including hand-building, wheel-throwing, glazing, and firing.

Essential Objectives

1. Discuss the nature of ceramic materials, their history, and their uses in different cultures.
2. Apply visual considerations such as form, texture, and color to the design of utilitarian and non-utilitarian ceramic forms.
3. Design and construct hand-built ceramic forms using pinch, coil, and slab construction techniques.
4. Demonstrate basic wheel-throwing techniques.
5. Discuss types of glazes and other surface decoration, and apply basic glazing techniques.
6. Describe and employ low-fire and stoneware firing techniques.
7. Discuss and apply ceramic studio safety practices.
8. Examine, discuss and critique art work, including some reference to the art historical, social, and cultural context.
9. Design and complete individual projects.
10. Create a portfolio of clay projects.
11. Display finished works in a professional manner.

Required Technology

More information on general computer and internet recommendations is available on the CCV IT Support page. https://support.ccv.edu/general/computer-recommendations/

Please see CCV's Digital Equity Statement (pg. 45) to learn more about CCV's commitment to supporting all students access the technology they need to successfully finish their courses.

Required Textbooks and Resources

The last day to use a Financial Aid Advance to purchase textbooks/books is the 3rd Tuesday of the semester. See your financial aid counselor at your academic center if you have any questions.


During this course students will be taught a variety of clay forming techniques that will cultivate progressive control with the medium. Hand building techniques will be continuously practiced in conjunction with basic wheel throwing. Instruction will include the geologic origins of clay and glaze materials and the process of firing, as well as cultural and historic references. Learning will be primarily hands on and participatory, with a limited amount of lecture and reading.

Evaluation Criteria

This course uses a weighted categories system to calculate final grades:

Participation : 60%

Completion of weekly assignments : 25%

Final project : 15%

Grading Criteria

CCV Letter Grades as outlined in the Evaluation System Policy are assigned according to the following chart:

A Less than 9893
A-Less than 9390
B+Less than 9088
B Less than 8883
B-Less than 8380
C+Less than 8078
C Less than 7873
C-Less than 7370
D+Less than 7068
D Less than 6863
D-Less than 6360
FLess than 60 
NPLess than 600

Weekly Schedule

Week/ModuleTopic  Readings  Assignments


Geologic origins of clay and properties of clay.

Pinch pots and introduction to basic shapes of pottery forms.


Glossary of terms, pages 162-163, Paulus Berensohn, Finding One's Way With Clay

Page 5, Michael Casson, The Craft of the Potter


Brief lecture and reading during class, note taking, sketches of pots, hands on work.



What makes clay plastic, physical properties of clay.

More pinch pots, burnished surfaces.


Daniel Rhodes, Clay and Glazes for the Potter, pages 8-11

pages 24-32 Berensohn

Page 10 Casson


Brief lecture and reading in class, notes and sketches.

Hands on clay work.



Clay bodies and properties of wet and fired clay.

Coiling technique for larger or more complex forms.


Rhodes pages 22-27

pages 44-48 Berensohn

Pages 13-15 Casson


Brief lecture and reading in class, notes and sketches.

Hands on clay work.



Kinds of clay.

Adding on clay by other methods.


Rhodes pages 17-21

Berensohn pages 64-65

Casson page 6


Brief lecture, reading, notes and sketches.

Hands on clay work.



Drying and firing clay : considerations when forming pots.

Slab technique : flat and geometrical forms, tiles.


Rhodes pages 12-16

Casson, pages 17-21


Brief lecture, reading, notes, sketches, hands on clay work



Preparing clay for throwing, using clay found in nature.

Wedging clay, throwing cylinders. Stacking pots for a bisque firing.


Rhodes, pages 46-52

pages 7-8 Casson


Brief lecture, reading, notes, sketches, hands on clay work.



The nature of glass and glazes. Throwing open forms. Glazing techniques.


Rhodes, pages 53-57

Casson, pages 33-35


Brief lecture, reading, notes, sketches, hands on clay work and glazing.



Early types of glazes. Trimming pots.


Rhodes pages 57-60

Casson pages 35-36


Brief lecture, reading, notes, sketches, hands on clay work.



The oxides and their function in glaze forming. Throwing closed forms and plates. Trimming feet. Stacking a glaze kiln.


Rhodes pages 61-70

Casson pages 36-38


Brief lecture, reading, notes, sketches, hands on clay work.



Sources of color in glazes. Pulled handles and spouts.


Rhodes pages 127-134

Casson pages 44-49


Brief lecture, reading, notes, sketches, hands on clay work.



Firing glazes. Approaches to covered pots.


Rhodes pages 148-152

Casson page 44


Brief lecture, reading, notes, sketches, hands on clay work.



Glaze flaws. Attached spouts.


Rhodes pages 153-159

Casson pages 98-101


Brief lecture, reading, notes, sketches, hands on clay work.



Throwing and altering techniques. Last week to make pots to fire. Research a culture or style of pottery that you like.


Casson pages 49-51, 105-123


Reading, notes, sketches, hands on clay work, research.



Last week to glaze pots to be fired. Topics for research presentation: What kinds of pots; firing range; forming methods; firing methods; glazes used, if any; cultural significance; images.


internet search.

Casson pages 105-123


Prepare a brief presentation of your research, finish pots.



Group critique and discussion of finished work. Presentations of research.


Berensohn pages 91-92


Participate in group critique and present research project.


Attendance Policy

Regular attendance and participation in classes are essential for success in and are completion requirements for courses at CCV. A student's failure to meet attendance requirements as specified in course descriptions will normally result in a non-satisfactory grade.

  • In general, missing more than 20% of a course due to absences, lateness or early departures may jeopardize a student's ability to earn a satisfactory final grade.
  • Attending an on-ground or synchronous course means a student appeared in the live classroom for at least a meaningful portion of a given class meeting. Attending an online course means a student posted a discussion forum response, completed a quiz or attempted some other academically required activity. Simply viewing a course item or module does not count as attendance.
  • Meeting the minimum attendance requirement for a course does not mean a student has satisfied the academic requirements for participation, which require students to go above and beyond simply attending a portion of the class. Faculty members will individually determine what constitutes participation in each course they teach and explain in their course descriptions how participation factors into a student's final grade.

Participation Expectations

Full participation requires active and thoughtful engagement in class each week. The following habits and skills are important. You will have the opportunity to self-assess and receive instructor feedback on each of these areas at the midpoint and at the end of the semester.

1) Attend class regularly and on time for the full semester.

2) Complete each week's assignment before the beginning of the next class.

3) Positively contribute to class discussions and activities.

4) Ask questions and seek help when you need it.

5) Challenge yourself to make the best effort.

Missing & Late Work Policy

If a student cannot be in class, they are responsible for scheduling studio access time independently to complete each week's assignment.

Late work will be accepted up to a week from the missed class. Otherwise it will be considered a lack of participation and will lower the final grade.

You are responsible for checking Canvas for each week's assignment, and/or for contacting me with any questions.

Accessibility Services for Students with Disabilities:

CCV strives to mitigate barriers to course access for students with documented disabilities. To request accommodations, please
  1. Provide disability documentation to the Accessibility Coordinator at your academic center. https://ccv.edu/discover-resources/students-with-disabilities/
  2. Request an appointment to meet with accessibility coordinator to discuss your request and create an accommodation plan.
  3. Once created, students will share the accommodation plan with faculty. Please note, faculty cannot make disability accommodations outside of this process.

Academic Integrity

CCV has a commitment to honesty and excellence in academic work and expects the same from all students. Academic dishonesty, or cheating, can occur whenever you present -as your own work- something that you did not do. You can also be guilty of cheating if you help someone else cheat. Being unaware of what constitutes academic dishonesty (such as knowing what plagiarism is) does not absolve a student of the responsibility to be honest in his/her academic work. Academic dishonesty is taken very seriously and may lead to dismissal from the College.