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Syllabus for Graduate 3D Studio with Louis Katz

Safety and policies.

Graduate students are expected to comply with all studio safety policies. They are expected to be in attendance for the first day of the semester in the advanced class and read the advanced class materials particularly the portion of Etiquette (ask for link). They must read sign and date the student safety agreement. Graduate students are expected to keep their spaces (including the floors) clean using wet cleanup techniques. Graduate students are expected to attend lectures given to the advanced class and take any tests based on those lectures.

This is a graduate level course. Commitment, hard work, and responsibility are minimal expectations. Ceramics is a demanding media, requiring skill, technique, technical understanding, knowledge of an art history not widely taught, and differing aesthetic. Students with concentrations in ceramics will be expected to gain expertise in all of these areas. Students will build a substantive body of work, cohesive yet broad. They will become the preeminent experts on their own work, its precedents, and contemporary relatives.

Graduate Students Specializing in Other Media

Graduate Students specializing in other media are not required to have the technical knowledge or skill level of a graduate student specializing ceramics. Those without basic skills may wish to show up for demonstrations in beginning ceramics sections. The primary assignment, unless another is agreed upon by the student and teacher, is to make versions of their major work in clay. If the student works primarily in 2D this means making the 2D work three D. Not just a flat rendition in clay.

When taking ceramics courses graduate students specializing in other media will be expected to tie their work in ceramics to their work in other media. The tie may be conceptual, formal, in terms of subject matter or their clay work may be representational of their other work.

Graduate students specializing in other media are expected to research and present the work of a ceramist whose work relates to their work. Graduate students specializing in 2D media may also choose to research a ceramist who also produces 2D work or a 2D artist who produces Ceramics. The research may be presented in a paper or in a 2040 minute Power Point$reg; or slide presentation for a ceramics class.

Ceramics Grads The work.

Work for this course must be reviewed by the instructor at least monthly, preferably less formally weekly. Partial pieces, sketches , typed verbal descriptions of ideas, and finished work may be presented. Firing or other finishing should take place throughout the semester unless the work demands otherwise. Working rhythm is important to all work, particularly ceramics which transforms radically in firing.


At the beginning of the semester the student will outline their plans for the semester in writing. The plan will talk conceptually rather than numerically. "I will investigate asymmetrical platter forms achieving a level of skill and refinement on par with my skill with bowls" is better than "I will make 10 platters" . Numerical goals never address quality sufficiently. These plans are not contracts for specific work. They are just tools to help provide quick focus at the start of a semester, and begin a dialogue about the work. Plans change. This written plan is due one week after the first day of class. The first semester as a grad student at TAMUCC this plan is due at the end of the second week of class.

Each semester in Ceramics the student will be asked to write a short document on some aspect of their work. Its roots, where it is headed, what it says, its conceptual stance etc. The statement is due the first day of finals week. The aspect of their work to be discussed is the students choice. This statement may be identical or based on statements required in other courses during the same semester. The semester of expected graduation and the semester before that the student is expected to work on thier project statement rather than a separate paper.

Fall 2006, Formal analysis of my work. Describe Clay, Form, Surface. Discuss how these elements interact. How the clay type relates to the surface, the form, the texture....decoration.


It is hoped that during graduate school the student specializing in ceramics will fill in any gaps in their undergraduate education. In terms of technique, the graduate student specializing in Ceramics should be able to work in all the basic handbuilding techniques, throwing (even if minimal), make molds and slipcast, and make extruder dies and use them. The graduate student should come with experience loading and firing oxidation and reduction kilns and should have experienced some form of vapor glazing or solid fuel firing.


Undergraduate programs do not always provide a technical understanding of ceramics. The graduate student specializing in clay will learn to do glaze calculation as a means to greater understanding of the material. Instruction in simple glaze calculation will be provided along with the undergraduate ceramics classes. Students will be expected to learn the difference between various categories of glaze materials, how to make substitutions, and how to use glaze calculation software. Graduate students are required to attend technical lectures given to undergraduate students.

A more in depth understanding of why kilns fire the way they do, new theories of how reduction works and specifics about firing cycles will be covered.

Ceramic History

Ceramics Graduate students will be required to read ceramic history survey texts and books on ceramic aesthetics during their time at TAMU CC and in addition will be required to study individual periods, countries or styles. ,HTML ,or slide presentations will be required each semester along with foot noted outlines. The presentations will be given to an undergraduate class. Subjects of these talks will be by mutual agreement or by assignment.

Fall 2004 read one of the following texts: A History of World Pottery Emmanuel Cooper. Read the text , supplement with other texts as needed. or World ceramics : from prehistoric to modern times / Hugo and Marjorie Munsterberg

 Choose the text in the first two weeks. Discuss how your current, and/or past work relates or does not relate to various traditions outlined and pictured in the book. With guidance choose one of the traditions that your work relates to and gather more images and information about it.

Fall 2006 Speak with instructor.

Other sample semester assignments:A. A History of World Pottery Emmanuel Cooper. Read the text , supplement with other texts as needed. or World ceramics : from prehistoric to modern times / Hugo and Marjorie Munsterberg

Answer the following questions:

  • What contemporary or modern well known potters seem to make work closely descended from:
    • Greek or Roman traditions,
    • English traditions
    • Chinese traditions
    • Japanese traditions
  • What makes you draw these conclusions? Could someone else justifiably determine that these potters major influence lies somewhere else?

B. Determine a good course outline for: A History of Ceramics; artistic ceramics from the the advent of modeling to the 21st century. The course outline should include a daily calendar, suggested readings, and rudimentary daily outlines. It is not required that the outlines contain any details. such as Day 7 Japan:

  • Jomon
  • Early stoneware
  • The Tea ceremony and social structure of Medieval Japan.
  • The five great kilns and other notable kilns.
  • Hamada, Leach and Yanagi
  • contemporary trends in University educated non mingei traditions

(Ties to contemporary American Ceramics will be mention but covered in another part of the course. Ties to European industrial ceramics will be covered under Europe)


End of the semester firing space is prioritized as follows:

  • Students with thesis or BFA shows in the next month.
  • test tiles
  • Beginning students with ontime work
  • The person loading the kiln
  • Undergraduate class work.
  • Because graduate students can work between semesters, the last two weeks of the semester their work should wait. If results are needed for surface treatments to develop, than this work should be given a higher priority.

The rest of the year firing priority will be granted as follows.

  • test tiles
  • the person loading the kilns work
  • students with thesis shows in the next three months
  • beginning class work
  • undergraduate work
  • graduate work

Studio space will be allotted from the main space for the use of graduate students. It will be treated as a privilege. Wheels will be made available for use in the spaces unless there is a shortage for the undergraduate classes. This spaces must be kept clean. Priority for these spaces will be as follows.

MFAs? in their last year. Other MFAs? MAs? in their last semester MAs? in their last year other MAs? All allotted space is at the discretion of the instructor. Ample space will be made available for all work unless none is available. Students may be required to change spaces as needed.

The Studio

The Ceramics Studio is for students enrolled in ceramics courses to use. M.F.A Students and on occasion M.A. students will be allowed to retain studios during the summer even if not taking classes.

MFA students will not be accepted unless studio space is expected to be available for them.

Access to the ceramics studio between semesters.

Graduate students are expected to remove materials from the common space between semesters. Work not removed from the common space may be thrown away without warning.

Use of Studio Inbetween Semesters

MA students Graduate students may use the studio between semesters with the following limits. The graduate student must be enrolled in ceramics the semester before and the semester after the break. Student must be making substantial progress towards a Masters degree in Art with concentration in Ceramics.

Building Supervisor must be informed of all gas kiln firings between semesters. Firings should not be scheduled to reach temperature on weekends when the building is not open to undergraduates. Current procedures for soda, raku and other smokey or atmospheric techniques need to be discussed with Louis ahead of time.

Graduate students using the facility between semesters will be expected to participate in a cleanup the week after the end of the semester and the week before the next semester starts. Between semester use of the studio by students not enrolled in the following semesters class may be more restricted.

Private Wheels and Equipment

Wheels owned by graduate students may be kept within the graduate space. Wheels left in the common space will be available to anyone who wants to use them. Under no circumstances will TAMUCC, Louis Katz, other students, or other members of the University faculty and staff be responsible for damage or theft of student wheels tools or materials. Wheels must be kept in a safe condition or be removed. Wheels must be removed before graduation. Hydraulic wheels are not allowed.

Interaction with other classes.

Graduate students are expected to interact with undergraduates. This should not become a big drain on the Grads time or energy. Grads should show up for the demonstrations and lectures given to the undergrads unless they have already seen these presentations. Also grads will be expected to participate in any online discussions that might take place.

Evaluation Students will be evaluated on the following

  • Demonstrated understanding of ceramic history through discussion and presentation
  • Demonstrated conceptual understand of their own work appropriate to their degree of completion of the graduate program, through written statements and discussion.
  • Development of work evaluated by critique.
  • Development of their technical understanding of the media and craft.

Grades will be assigned as follows. Progress in artwork towards a goal of an exhibition 70% Acceptable progress B. Outstanding progress A. Some progess C. Advanced class technical tests 5% Progress in firing skills with the goal of complete independence in 4 semesters, 10% Acceptable progress B. Outstanding progress A. Some progess C. Writing split between the Ceramic History project and the critical semester end statement 15%.

Compliance with Americans with Disabilities Act

The College of Arts and Humanities complies with the Americans with Disabilities Act in making reasonable accommodations for qualified students with disabilities. If you need disability accommodations in this class, please see me as soon as possible. Please have your accommodation letter from TAMUCC Services for Students with Disabilities Office with you when you come see me. If you suspect that you have a disability (physical impairment, learning disability, psychiatric disability, etc.), please contact the Services for Students with Disabilities Office (located in Driftwood 101) at 8255816.

Because art studios use materials and tools that could be dangerous, safe and cooperative behavior by students is absolutely necessary. The studio course instructor will be the ultimate judge of cooperative as well as safe and unsafe behavior. Individuals engaging in uncooperative and/or unsafe behavior will be cautioned and instructed once by the instructor. If a second occasion of uncooperative and/or unsafe behavior occurs, that student will be unenrolled from the course and given a “wd” with no refund of tuition and fees.

This syllabus is subject to change each semester. 049 kb

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Page last modified on September 24, 2011, at 12:14 AM