The Studio Arts Program in Ceramics emphasizes diversity and self-directed research. Conceptual and technical exploration are encouraged. The program teaches students essential techniques, while also helping develop critical thinking and creative problem-solving skills.
The introductory ceramics course provides a foundation in hand-building, wheel-throwing and clay and glaze mixing. The upper division courses are taught in a separate studio with dedicated wheels and work spaces for each student. These courses center on the exploration of a wide range of clay forming techniques, including model making and slip casting, both functional and sculptural, as well as clay and glaze mixing and a variety of firing methods.
In the culminating Independent Study and Honors Studio courses, students develop a personal body of work in preparation for setting up a professional studio or entering graduate school.
Other hallmarks of the program include group critiques, which encourage the development of critical dialogue and give students experience in both offering and receiving feedback and thoughtful criticism. Additionally, students are exposed to visiting artists from the region as well as nationwide and the annual Godfrey Seminar in the Business of Crafts addresses the business aspects of various artistic endeavors.
Student ceramics sales each semester help to fund student attendance at statewide and national clay conferences. Field trips to studios in Asheville and Atlanta, and various nearby museums and galleries draw on the rich resources of Western North Carolina in both traditional and contemporary ceramics.
The Ceramics Program features two main rooms with four smaller specialty rooms and a covered outdoor kiln area. One of the main rooms accommodates beginning students; the other accommodates advanced students. The ceramics studios are equipped with potter's wheels, a slab roller, flexible shelving and heavy-duty work tables.
The classroom dedicated to upper level ceramics students offers dedicated wheels and workspaces for each student. Directly accessible from each of the two studio are rooms for raw materials storage, clay mixing, glaze mixing, glazing and electric kiln firing . Large folding doors in the advanced classroom open onto the exterior kiln pad, which houses propane kilns and storage units for the raku and gaskiln furniture.
3 Skutt 1027 electric kilns
1 Skutt 1027 Kilnmaster kiln
1L & L test kiln
1 54 cu. ft. Geil downdraft car kiln
1 18 cu. ft. Geil downdraft propane kiln
1 16 cu. ft. Alpine updraft propane kiln
1 portable fiber drum raku kiln
15 Brent electric wheels
2 Shimpo electric wheels
1 Randall kickwheel
1 Reitz kickwheel
5 Leach-style kickwheels
1 Soldner Professional clay mixer
1 Walker Jamar pugmill
1 Bluebird pugmill
1 Brent slab roller (large)
2 North Star extruders (large and small)
1 glaze spraybooth (large)