Through challenging assignments, critiques, lectures, demonstrations, fieldtrips and one-on-one conversations, students in our Ceramics BFA program discover individual artistic strengths, develop a personal voice and express a range of experiences.
Sophomores are introduced to sculpture and pottery through the processes of throwing, hand-building, mold-making, glazing and firing. Technique is integrated with ideas, aesthetics and personal expression in the context of contemporary and historical ceramic practice. Juniors move beyond the studio and into the world through commissions and community-engaged projects. Digital technology is central in the Materials Research class for clay, glaze and advanced kiln firing approaches.
Graduates of the four-year BFA program are prepared to:
- demonstrate proficiency in ceramic construction skills (hand-building, slip-casting, mold-making, and wheel-throwing) along with clay and glaze composition and effects of the firing sequence.
- develop work for different contexts, including indoor and outdoor installation, tile-work and tableware for restaurants.
- articulate the effects of ceramics in various environments (gallery, home, restaurant, architectural), including consideration of visual, functional, environmental and political aspects.
- understand the effects of new technologies on the field.
- identify and commit to focused study of a particular field in ceramics, such as sculpture, environmental arts, architecture, pottery or design.
A small department of around 10 undergraduates and 10 grad students, Ceramics offers strong individual support from faculty mentors. Every year a wide range of professionals in the field visit to offer demonstrations and workshops, along with critical feedback and new perspectives.
Ceramics majors work in private and communal workspaces on the third floor of RISD's Metcalf Building, where the studio environment fosters a ready exchange of ideas among both undergraduate and graduate students. The department also supports an outward focus through everything from its relationship with the Providence-based industrial art nonprofit The Steel Yard to studios designed to connect students with members of the off-campus community.
Ceramics majors often work on interdisciplinary projects with Architecture and Interior Architecture classes, install site-specific installations for various locations on campus and in the city, and design and fabricate tableware to complement a specific restaurant's cuisine and décor.
During senior year, students create an independent body of work, supported by individual tutorials with faculty, group critiques and discussions. Professional practice is emphasized, with coaching on presentation skills, documentation, marketing, exhibitions and residencies.