In our Ceramics Studio Area we provide opportunities for students to become a part of one of the best undergraduate programs in the United States. The integration of process, materials and meaning are the goals of this studio experience in the ceramic arts. There are several levels of studying the ceramic arts within the art department at River Falls.

In our well-equipped studio, high fire gas reduction, soda, wood firing and low fire electric and primitive processes are studied. Vessels and sculptural concepts are options that students are exposed to in both Introductory and studio classes.

An approach to making pottery within traditional techniques and concepts covering the use of the wheel and constructing forms by altering thrown pieces and by using slabs, pinching, extrusion and patterns is part of the foundation provided to ceramic students.

Conceptual perspectives associated with ceramics as well as idea, symbol, metaphor and meaning of process are begun in the first classes and carried through to advanced studies.
Advanced students are encouraged to explore their own directions and to experiment with the possibilities of clay, glazes, and various techniques and ideas that are presented in the classroom.

There is a strong goal in this program to develop an active dialog between students and the professors, and to build a foundation and expand their working knowledge of contemporary and historical ceramics relative to the context of our modern lives. Students will engage in professional artist practices and develop a positive appreciation of the visual arts.



Introduction to Clay (Art 227)

The Introduction to Clay class will deal with the processes, techniques, and concerns of ceramics as a studio art medium. Hand building methods such as slab, pinch, coil and carving, as well as wheel forming techniques will be used to explore the elements of three dimensional design and aesthetic criteria that is relevant to ceramic art. Students will be introduced to mixing clay and loading and firing kilns. The use of low and high temperature clays and firing techniques will include slips and glazes, and the process of reduction and oxidation firing.

An equal emphasis will be placed on the development of ideas and abstract thinking, aesthetic appreciation, and verbal exchange. Students are required to do outside readings, library research, and participate in-group critiques.

Objectives will be reached through lectures and demonstrations, with the majority of class time spent working on projects. Visual lectures will be given on a regular basis to introduce new assignments.

Studio Clay (Art 327)

Studio Ceramics will continue skill development and the experimental uses of ceramics and clay processes concerned with function and non-function. Students will utilize multiple firing methods, earthenware and stoneware clays and glazes and un-fired practices. There directed projects each semester with an emphasis on idea (conceptual development) building. Students will be encouraged to explore and experiment with their own ideas under the guidance of the faculty instructor.

Students will have experience with the following questions:

  • In what way, does the use of clay, glaze, and alternative processes affect the decision–making process in regards to studio problems?
  • What research can be done to support and explore your ideas from other perspectives and depths?
  • How does the critique process engage your problem-solving abilities and promote future explorations?


  1. Creative, sensitive thinking and problem-solving skills—generating multiple ideas
  2. Self-expression—discovering what to communicate
  3. Personal aesthetics—developing and revealing your own sensibilities
  4. Technical and manual proficiencies—creating strong techniques in clay
  5. Research skills—learning to find sources to support your explorations
  6. Analytical and critical thinking—learning to self-motivate and self-challenge
  7. Appreciation of visual art
  8. Professional artist practices—learning what it means to be a professional in the field of art

Studio Ceramics (Art 427–627)

  • Summer Undergraduate and Graduate Level Ceramics
  • Anagama Firing Course
  • Pigeon lake Outreach course

Contact Us

Art Department
M–F, 8 a.m.–4:30 p.m.
172 Kleinpell Fine Arts
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