2009-10 OFA Flashback: Ceramics' Mid-Year Workshops

by Ceramics

This is the third in a series of posts on the past academic year's programming in ceramics, reported by Forrest Snyder, Education Coordinator for the OFA's Ceramics Program.

The New Year initiated Harvard’s longer January break, which provided a month-long time for academic study and exploration. The Ceramics Program offered an intense core of courses ranging from introductory "Basics and Challenges" to "Print Transfer Techniques on Clay" taught by instructor Kathy King. King applied traditional printmaking techniques to the ceramic surface including, mono-printing, silk-screening, and decals, among others. The results were astounding.

Not to be outdone by the popular undergraduate event "Clay All Night," the Arts Society of the Harvard Business School sponsored its own clay event, "Clay ‘Til Midnight."

Over 100 MBA’s in the making put aside their case studies and calculators to venture into the studio. Donning their "fashion forward" protective plastic outerwear, the group threw bowls and mugs on the wheels while emerging sculptors produced pinch pots and figurative busts.

Professional practices also played an important role for another January workshop, "Photographing Work." Spanning an afternoon, longtime studio artist Dr. Chris Adams ‘96 explained all aspects of shooting three-dimensional artwork. He emphasized a do-it-yourself approach that appealed to many. The workshop culminated with a live photo shoot and discussion.

In a similar vein, Massachusetts’ artist Kristen Kieffer shared her experiences during an evening workshop titled "Marketing by Yourself in the Digital Age." Playing to a packed house, Kieffer provided examples of online venues that she utilizes in her own art marketing, as well as methods to promote oneself in the online world.

Later in the spring term, on a rainy Thursday afternoon in March, fifteen anthropology students, their TA’s, and faculty members moved their studies across campus from lab to studio. In their lab, they had been cleaning, examining, identifying, and classifying artifacts for "Archaeology of Harvard Yard II: Laboratory Methods."

Newly experienced at identifying bits of Wedgewood china, utilitarian crockery and colonial tobacco pipe stems pulled from the Yard’s hallowed ground, they sought out a hands-on experience to further their understanding. Covering clay formulation and mixing, decoration techniques like tissue-transfer printing and slip-trailing, throwing, hand-building, glazing, and firing, everyone became intimately familiar with processes used to create the historical artifacts.

[Caption: Harvard Business School's Clay 'til Midnight, hosted at the Ceramics Studio]

[Caption: Glazing]