The clay program emphasizes diversity and self-directed research. Conceptual and technical exploration are encouraged.
The Introductory Ceramics course provides a foundation in hand building, wheel throwing and glaze mixing.
The upper division courses, taught in a separate studio which offers dedicated wheels and work spaces for each student, center on the exploration of a wide range of clay forming techniques, both functional and sculptural, as well as clay and glaze mixing and a variety of firing methods.
The optional tilemaking course introduces the production of multiples and offers a broad investigation of surface decoration.
In the culminating Independent Study and Honors Studio courses the student develops a personal body of work in preparation for setting up a professional studio or entering graduate school.
Group critiques encourage the development of critical dialogue.
Visiting artists are drawn from the region as well as nationwide, and the annual Godfrey Seminar in the Business of Crafts addresses the business aspects of operating a studio.
Student ceramics sales each semester help to fund student attendance at statewide and national clay conferences. Field trips to nearby studios and galleries draw on the rich resources of Western North Carolina in both traditional and contemporary ceramics.