CHEM 12
The Practice and Science of Pottery Winter 2022

Class Details

This class will introduce students to exploring creative ways of working with clay and glazes, and to the science behind the processes of making pottery. This course will take place in a working Williamstown pottery studio with potter’s wheels and space for hand-building and on-campus for lectures, discussions and experimental explorations of your creations. Studio time is designed to stimulate creativity and discovery, with instruction and projects tailored to each student’s interests, and experiences. Students will be encouraged to consider how value and beauty can be found in that which is incomplete, impermanent, and/or imperfect. Genuineness and authenticity will be encouraged and valued. Lab-based explorations will explore the molecular processes involved in firing clay and glazing. We will discuss the properties of clay and glaze materials and how combinations of materials and high temperature processes result in mature clay bodies and glazes. We will experiment with major components in glazes and examine how these materials change during the process. Evaluation for this course includes a final project, and the critical review of the same. Assessment will take place during individual discussions with the instructors during the construction and finishing processes and in a group critique where finished work will be evaluated by all members of the class through a group discussion led by the instructors. No previous experience is necessary. The only prerequisite for this course is an honest interest in learning about the making and chemistry of pottery. Studio time is likely in the afternoons or early evenings, with an optional weekend session to accommodate schedules. Class time is about 12 hours weekly, split approximately between 6-9 hours of studio time and 3-6 h of lecture/experiment time, with some 1-2 h of additional outside-of-class assignments (readings, video viewing, writing).
The Class: Format: lecture
Limit: 10
Grading: pass/fail only
Requirements/Evaluation: final project or presentation
Prerequisites: none; no pottery making experience or science background are necessary; students are encouraged to submit a brief description of their interest in participating
Enrollment Preferences: level of enthusiasm for learning the craft and science of pottery
Unit Notes: Tim Duncan has been making pottery for over 30 years. He teaches in a home studio that accommodates up to 12 students, and focuses on creating lessons that stimulate creativity and discovery, while promoting the philosophies of how beauty and value can be found in that which is incomplete, impermanent, and imperfect. Tim holds a B.S. in Psychology, a clinical M.S.W., and an M.Ed. His pottery education can be traced back to the influences of Bub, Soldner, Voulkos, Pearson, and Temple.
Materials/Lab Fee: $40

Class Grid

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