The Ceramics program at CMU is a state-of-the-art facility and professional environment where students are introduced to a broad range of strategies and techniques in clay handling and firing. Students have access to a variety of ceramic processes, including hand building, wheel throwing, and glazing techniques, while simultaneously developing a contextual understanding of ceramics and it's historically rich culture within society. With a basic understanding of mold making, wheel throwing, wood, gas, and electric kiln firing, students then apply their knowledge to more independently directed projects; integrating their personal interests and giving deeper meaning to their work. Experienced faculty offer students a first-hand insight to sustaining a career as a practicing artists, while demonstrating effective strategies for sustaining a profession in the arts. Communication is emphasized as students develop the basic vocabulary required to convey their ideas and find meaningful exchange within the ceramics community.
Students are exposed to a broad range of clay bodies, working techniques, and firing methods as they progress through the ceramics curriculum. Traditional processes of low-fire vessels and sculptures, wheel thrown, reduction fired pottery, mold making, soda vapor glazing, and wood-fired stoneware and porcelain are taught in conjunction with alternative and digital processes, drawing a connection between the long tradition and current models of instruction.
The ceramics studio is comprised of a large hand-building and throwing area, glaze mixing room, clay mixing room, indoor kiln room, and outdoor kiln yard. Equipment includes clay mixers, an artillery of electric and manual throwing wheels, clay extruders, slab rollers, spray booths, balances and scales, ball mill, talisman, and multiple top-of-the-line large capacity electric, gas, raku, soda vapor, and wood fire kilns. Students also have access to a range of 3D printers, a vacuum former, and a CNC router for the creation of their work.