ARTS474 Advanced Ceramics, Lisa Nocentini, Summer I 2019 | SACI College of Art & Design Florence

ARTS474 Advanced Ceramics, Lisa Nocentini, Summer I 2019

The advanced ceramics course is designed for those students who are capable of working almost completely independently. They need to possess a high level of technical skill and competence and a clear idea of their aims for the semester.
Advanced ceramics students are expected to strive for quality. This means pushing idea limits, refining skills, understanding the behavior of ceramic materials and processes, creating an original and personal vocabulary in clay.
A complete body of significant, original and personal work is expected from an advanced student at the end of the course.
Advanced students must present images of their previous work to be assessed of the appropriate level.
After a discussion with the instructor, each student will be required to submit a written study proposal with attached sketches of the planned project/s. Dates for the assessment of the progress of the project will be established.

Formal critiques will be held on:
- May 29
- June 10
- June 19 (final critique)

In the SACI ceramics studio we use clays and glazing materials that are traditional in the Mediterranean area (low temperature earthenware).

Working Outside of Class Hours

Working only during class hours will not be sufficient to complete the amount of work expected from an advanced student. Therefore he/she is advised to allot at least 6-8 extra hours per week outside of regular class time to working with clay and glazing.


Students will be required to keep a sketchbook for class. Its purpose is to document ideas and artistic development. It will be a most useful tool in helping students to work out ideas and plans before starting projects, and during them. The sketchbook/journal will be checked on a regular basis and will be part of the final presentation.

Field Trips

The following field trips will take place during the course:

May 22 – Visit the room of the Majolicas at the Bargello Museum

June 5 – Field trip to Certaldo for a raku firing

June 17 – Field trip to Impruneta to visit traditional pottery and Lisa Nocentini's studio


Students are strongly recommended to take advantage of the ceramic books and publications (Ceramic Review, Ceramics Monthly, Pottery Making Illustrated) that we have in the library. Most books in the ceramics section are on reserve and can only be consulted in the library.

Cleaning Up

Students will be responsible for cleaning personal and shared areas and recycling his or her own clay. A messy, dusty studio is a HEALTH HAZARD for everyone. Advanced students may have to do their own firings.

General Safety & Emergency Instructions

Click here for a pdf of SACI's General Safety & Emergency Instructions.

Additional Safety & Studio Rules

VERY IMPORTANT! Studio Rules for Your Health and Safety

Do NOT use machinery unless you have been instructed in its use by the instructor of this course.

  • Access to the ceramics studio is allowed only to students enrolled in the class.
  • Always clean up at the end of class: do not leave without cleaning up your working space (table or wheel, tools and plastic containers), and putting away all tools and materials used.
  • Do not leave clay bags or clay bins open.
  • Dust formation should be kept to a minimum: do not let pieces of clay or clay slop fall on the floor (if this happens, clean it up immediately).
  • Do not use sand paper on raw clay.
  • Always use a dust mask if you have to sand bisqued clay or if you have to use colors and glazes in dry powder form.
  • Always use a protective dust mask and/or gloves whenever a particular glazing material's composition requires you to do so. In any case always follow your teacher's instructions.
  • Do not leave glaze bins or color containers open and always put them back in their storage area (inside the cabinets).
  • The glaze sprayer can only be used after appropriate instruction from the teacher.
  • Wear a dust mask provided by SACI when you use the glaze sprayer.
  • Wear gloves provided by SACI when using the kilns.
  • Do not smoke, eat or drink in the ceramics studio.
  • Do not wear flip-flops in class - only safe, closed shoes.
  • Never touch kilns unless authorized by the instructor.
  • Do not keep your cell phones on during class.
  • Floors need to be left free of objects so that the cleaning staff can vacuum the studio area.

Evaluation & Grading

Keep in mind that grading of studio work is necessarily a subjective process; however, the following points will give you an idea of the criteria I have in mind and their relative importance in determining a grade:

1) Generally, I will be looking for evidence of involvement with the problems presented, the dedication and effort applied to them, and the quality of their solutions.

2) In the ceramic process, problems of aesthetics and design are inseparable from the craft techniques that express them. A well-crafted work by itself does not constitute a work of art, but a great concept cannot be expressed without the adequate technical skill. Workmanship, therefore, is an important part of the final grade.

3) I will appreciate evidence of original thinking and of awareness of the possibilities of the medium.

4) Individual research is also a very important part of your work.

5) Proper handling of studio tools and equipment and correct safety and maintenance procedures are considered. Participation in studio maintenance and cleaning up are essential.

6) Participation in the critiques and the capability to verbalize ideas and concepts are also important components of your final grade.

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