Ceramics

  • students working in a ceramics studio
  • ceramic bowls on a table
  • student sitting in front of his work
  • fire blooming from a kiln
  • student smoothing out a vase

The ceramics program encourages students to actively participate in their education through the development of analytical and critical thought processes and the challenge of existing assumptions. Students at the basic and intermediate levels receive instruction on such traditional techniques as coil building, slab building and wheel throwing within the context of both historical and contemporary attitudes in ceramics. We help students negotiate the limits of clay in its different forms, including terra cotta, stoneware and porcelain, as well as through a variety of firing techniques, such as wood firing, raku and salt firing. From this foundation our students may advance to more independent levels of investigation within the medium.

CURRICULUM: Bachelor of fine arts WITH AN EMPHASIS IN Ceramics (B.F.A.)

Basic studies requirement—12 credits

  • 1040 Object Drawing*
  • 1050 Drawing Studio*
  • 1070 Form and Surface*
  • 1080 Form and Space*

*Prerequisites for all studio art and art education majors and minors

Writing—3 credits

  • 3250 Writing About Art

Art history—12 credits

  • 2200 History of Art
  • 2210 History of Art
  • Art history elective 3000-4000 level
  • Art history elective 3000-4000 level

Ceramics emphasis requirement—21 credits

  • 2300 Ceramics I
  • 3300 Ceramics II
  • 5300 Ceramics Workshop (15 hrs.)

Art studio electives—34 credits

  • Three hours of non-western art history may be applied to the elective requirement.

Graduation presentation—3 credits

  • 4930 Graduation Preparation

Summary of Bachelor of Fine Arts with an emphasis in ceramics

  • Art Major—85 credits
  • General Education—37 credits
  • Total Credit Hours—122 credits

Students should consult the WMU catalog for the ceramics program course descriptions and requirements.

WMU Catalog

Portfolio reviews

Portfolio reviews for admission into the B.F.A. program with an emphasis in ceramics will be held in the second week of November and March.

Faculty

Facilities

The ceramics program has modern up to date facilities for all levels of study. The approximately 8,000 square foot facilities is divided into several areas including: a wheel area, hand-building area, glaze lab area, clay mixing area, mold-making area and slip-casting area. 

Wheels

  • 20 Shimpo "Whisper" electric wheels

Indoor kilns

  • Three computer-fired Shimpo electric kilns
  • 100 cubic feet gas fired stoneware car kiln
  • 250 cubic feet gas fired stoneware car kiln
  • 32 cubic feet catenary arch gas fired stoneware kiln

Outdoor kilns

  • 300 cubic feet wood-fired barrel-arched anagama kiln
  • 100 cubic feet gas-fired sprung arch salt kiln
  • Six cubic feet gas-fired drum/cantilevered raku kiln
  • 40 cubic feet B.F.A. gas fired updraft stoneware kiln

Select equipment

  • Forklift (shared with sculpture)
  • Two Brent slab-rollers
  • Laguna spray booth
  • Eight O'Haus gram scales
  • Soldner mixer
  • 80 quart dough mixer
  • Bluebird Pugmill 

Student Group

The goal of the Ceramics Guild at Western Michigan University is to provide a supportive environment to raise student's knowledge and appreciation for ceramic art, as well as interact with the local and national ceramics community.

Student Work

 Artwork by ceramics student Genevieve Vanzandt
Genevieve VanZandt