This course expands upon basic hand building skills by introducing more advanced forming techniques, surface treatments and design considerations. Students in this class will learn to use a variety of ceramic production methods and gain an understanding of the elements and principles of three-dimensional design. The focus in this class is on the design of hand built ceramic forms. This class will serve as a platform for exploring design methods, materials and strategies in the creation of functional and/or sculptural form.

Featured Exhibition: Masterpieces of French Faience
October 10, 2018 to September 22, 2019

At the Frick Collection, 1 East 70th Street, New York, NY 10021 www.frick.org

Intermediate / Advanced Handbuilding
with Andrew Cornell Robinson

Class Meetings
Greenwich House Pottery
16 Jones St, 3rd Floor Front, New York, NY 10014
Tuesdays, January 15, 2019 - April 02, 2019, 10:00 AM-1:00 PM

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.

Learning Outcomes and Assessable Skills

  • Develop an independent body of work in ceramics that demonstrates competence in hand built ceramic methods and a coherent visual vocabulary.
  • Competence with a set of tools, methods and materials.
  • Awareness of the importance for designer / makers to coordinate multiple, interdisciplinary tasks to achieve a clear objective.
  • Reinforcement of craft knowledge and design principles through practice and reflection.
  • An understanding of firing processes and the effects of different kiln temperatures and atmospheres.
  • Demonstrate creative and craft research through material and aesthetic experimentation.

Prerequisite skills for this class include:

  • Wedging
  • Basic working stages of clay: wet, leather soft, leather hard, bone dry
  • Pinch, slab and coil construction
  • Slump and drape mold application
  • Scoring and slipping
  • Basic glazing methods: painting and dipping

Students are invited to develop an independent project of their own design. Using art and design research methods we can explore not only how we make ceramic forms but also what, where and why we make them and who we are making them for. Your challenge is to employ various ceramic hand building and sculpture methods in the creation of new functional and/or sculptural work. The goal of this exercise is to simultaneously challenge our selves with ceramic making methods and learn about the elements and principles of design.

Lesson Plans

Week 1: Orientation, course logistics.
Project kick off
Discuss principles and elements of three-dimensional design.

Week 2: Discuss inspiration and mood boards and research
Discuss design proposals, considering form, function, context and complimentary materials.

  • Begin design research, explore techniques
  • Simple slump mold vessel forms with surface textures
  • Related Links: Stefan Scholten and Carole Baijings (Scholten & Baijings Studio) ;

Week 3: Review design research and sketches

  • Demo extruder, coil and pinch
  • Maquettes: design and method explorations

Week 4: Discuss surface design

  • Demo Stencil, transfer, and printing on clay

Week 5: Discuss kiln types, firing atmospheres and cones

  • Demo modeling and decoration.
  • Ceramic Saggar Firing

Week 6: Surface texture and design.

  • Demo, armature, modeling, sprig and stamp molds

Week 7: Color in and on clay

  • Demo stains, oxides

Week 8: Surface color and design

  • Demo wash, slip, terra sigillata and sgraffito

Week 9: Surface color and types of glazes

  • Demo glaze application methods, brush, wax resist, dip, pour, spray…

Week 10: Over Glazes

  • Demo majolica glaze painting with washes and mason stains

Week 11: Other Finishes and Materials

  • Discuss and Demo after the kiln and glaze fire, surface and form explorations with other tools and materials, the dremel tool, acrylic, tool tip, epoxy, metal leaf, assemblage, fiber, paper, etc.

Week 12: 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 break bread and celebrate our accomplishments.

  • Looking, assessing, and documenting our work.



Demos and Ideas

Collection Paper Porcelain by Stefan Scholten and Carole Baijings (Scholten & Baijings Studio


Kate talking about her project for the design and development of the tile facade of a Saville Row building.

A video demonstrating one approach to sculpting a human head using a simple paper and wood armature.

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.

Making of a Blueware Vase from Glithero on Vimeo.


Recommended Readings

Related Links

Makers and Studios

Collections and Exhibitions



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