Ceramics / Intermediate Handbuilding for Function

This course expands upon basic hand building skills by introducing more complex applications of techniques and surface treatments as they specifically relate to making functional objects. Students in this class will learn to use a variety of ceramic production methods including; modeling, coil and slab building, extruding, press and slump molding, slip trailing, sprig and stamp molds and glaze decoration. The focus in this class is on the design of functional objects and ceramic forming methods. This class will serve as a platform for exploring product design methodologies used to research, design and develop tabletop wares and functional objets d'art.
Learning Outcomes and Assessable Skills
Class Meetings

Greenwich House Pottery
16 Jones St, 3rd floor back room, New York, NY 10014
April 07 through June 23, 2017
Meets Fridays from 10:00 AM-1:00 PM EDT
The first portion of each class session will generally include demonstrations and discussion format.
The second half will generally be used for project work and one-on-one consultations.


Students are invited to develop an independent project of their own design. Projects which incorporate considerations of functional utility are encouraged but are not required. Using design research methods we can explore not only how we make functional ceramic wares but also what, where and why we make them and who we are making them for. The goal of this exercise is to simultaneously challenge our selves with ceramic making methods and learn about the principles and methods of design through handbuilding methods.



1. April 7: Orientation, course logistics.
Project kick off: we will discuss the methods and processes used for product development as well as important questions for us to consider such as who, what, when, where, why and how will our designs be used.
• Demo wedging, slab, slab roller, slump drop molds
• Materials exploration, states of clay, test tiles

2. April 14: Creating a collection. Discuss design proposals, considering form, function, context and complimentary materials.
• Tar paper construction
• Begin design research, explore techniques

3. April 21: Review design research and sketches, discuss form and function
• Demo modeling and coil surface decoration.
• Begin maquette explorations, explore forming techniques

4. April 28: Discuss kiln types, firing atmospheres and cones
• Demo slump and drape molds
• Project development

5. May 5: Surface texture and design.
• Demo applique, sprig and stamp molds

6. May 12: Color in clay
• Demo stains, oxides, agateware

7. May 19: Surface color and design
• Demo slip, engobe, terra sigillata and sgraffito

8. May 26: Surface glaze color, texture and types; food safe glazes
• Demo glaze application methods, brush, wax resist, dip, pour, spray…

9. June 2: Surface under-glazes
• Demo mason stain painting

10. June 9: Majolica
• Demo majolica glaze painting

11. June 16: Surface over-glazes, luster-glazes, decals
• Demo decal application

12. June 23: For our final class we will take some time to look at and discuss our projects. We will also have an opportunity to document our work and take time to put our wares to use and break bread together.
• Looking, assessing, and photographing our work.

Methods & Movies

Sasaki Sensei from 松楽 (Shoraku www.kiraigama.com) in Kameoka, grants us the amazing privilege of showing all the steps needed in order to create a japanese black raku tea bowl.

Slab forming sculptural vessel by Jerilyn Virden.

Terra sigillata is an ultrarefined clay slip that can give a soft sheen when applied to bone-dry wares and, if polished or burnished while still damp, may give a high gloss. more

A short video demonstrating the use of paper or plastic templates used to support clay slab vessel forms.

A film by the potter Hsin-Chuen Lin, demonstrating spiral wedging, a technique used to prepare clay and remove air bubbles before you begin to throw or form with in.

A Film demonstrating how to create an agate ware vessel, based on an artifact at the Victoria and Albert Museum.

Color Blending with Stains, Oxides and Opacifiers on test tiles with John Britt




Featured Exhibitions
Museums and Galleries

Faculty: Andrew Robinson

Andrew spent the better part of his life working with ceramics starting with an apprenticeship in his youth in a production pottery. He went on receive his B.F.A. in ceramics at the Maryland Institute College of Art and the Glasgow School of Art, Scotland. He received an M.F.A. from the School of Visual Arts in New York City. He has taught and done projects with the Craft Students’ League, Parsons School of Design, Columbia University, Cooper Union and Greenwich House Pottery. He is the principle of the Arts and Crafts Research Studio acrStudio.com, an interdisciplinary studio specializing in independent and collaborative work at the cusp of art, craft and design. He exhibits extensively in the United States and he was a featured artist at the United Kingdom’s Crafts Council in London. His art has brought him to work on collaborations and exhibitions in England, Scotland, India, Haiti, Dominican Republic and across the United States. He lives and works in New York City.

© 2017 acrStudio is the arts + crafts research Studio, an atelier of Andrew Cornell Robinson
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