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David Eichelberger - Visiting Arts Fellow in Ceramics

Ceramics is one of the oldest, most varied crafts and art forms for both utilitarian and aesthetic purposes. In the Marlboro visual arts program, the focus is on studio ceramics across a variety of firing methods and temperatures. This includes functional, sculptural and architectural ceramics.

Serious work in ceramics provides the opportunity for a unique conjunction of analytical thought and physical action. Acquired knowledge of materials, forming methods and techniques are complemented by a study of historical and contemporary ceramics history and craft discourse. Students will be encouraged to apply this knowledge to the growing understanding of their critical and aesthetic sensibility. The essential enjoyment and satisfaction of making things is central to ceramic exploration.

Some areas of particular interest to me include functional ceramics, surface decoration, low temperature atmospheric firing, contemporary craft criticism and discourse and modern design. There are many connections between the study of ceramics and work in other academic disciplines, and interdisciplinary Plans are encouraged.

Areas of Interest for Plan-level Work:

  • Studio work in ceramics
  • History and literature of ceramics
  • Craft theory and criticism

Starting Points (Basic and Introductory Courses)

This course will introduce students to the primary forming methods in ceramics as well as to creating the building blocks for a technical understanding. Students will be encouraged in a variety of making and finishing techniques, working both sculpturally and functionally. Materials fee required. Prerequisite: None Introductory | Credits: 4

Like stretching before the big race, this course is designed to get our creative juices flowing.  Focused on the formal elements of line, texture, shape, space and structure in a variety of materials, students will be asked to delve into developing a personal aesthetic vocabulary.  This is a foundation course for the visual arts designed to provide a base for further work in the visual arts curriculum. Additional Fee: $60 Prerequisite: None     Introductory | Credits: 4

Beginning with diverse assignments and concluding with self-directed projects, this course will develop material understanding and aesthetic choices. Ceramics history and contemporary issues will be discussed. There will be a presentation and written component. Prerequisite: Ceramics course at Marlboro or permission of instructor. Materials fee required.     Intermediate | Credits: 4

Functional forms and abstract design problems using the potter’s wheel; intermediate level study of materials, processes and history of ceramics. Materials fee required.  Prerequisite: Ceramics I or permission of instructor     Intermediate | Credits: 3

Building on basic wheel-throwing skills, assignments will examine the use of the wheel in the creation of both functional and sculptural work. Focus will be on component pieces and strategies for altering the symmetrical wheel thrown form. Materials fee required.  Prerequisite: Ceramics I or Wheel Throwing I or permission of instructor     Intermediate | Credits: 4

Pursuing Interests (Intermediate and Thematic Courses)

This workshop will examine all the components of a table service. Focusing on continuity and diversity within their designs, students will make settings that create a visual and functional feast. Making methods will not be limited to wheel-throwing. Readings will be drawn from material culture theory, contemporary craft theory and philosophy to expand the foundation of functional production ideas. There will be a written component and field trips required in this class. Materials fee required. Prerequisite: Two ceramics classes or permission of the instructor     Multi-level | Credits: 4

Beginning with diverse assignments and concluding with self-directed projects, this course will develop material understanding and aesthetic choices. Ceramics history and contemporary issues will be discussed. There will be a presentation and written component. Materials fee required.     Advanced | Credits: 4

This course focuses on two-dimensional and low relief work in clay tiles and panels. The study of architectural ceramics, appropriate materials and technical processes will be explored. Materials fee required. Prerequisites: Ceramics I or course background in drawing, painting or printmaking     Multi-level | Credits: 4

Two semesters required. Art Seminar Critique is a two-credit course required of juniors and seniors on Plan in the visual arts. It meets weekly and provides an opportunity for students to share the work they are doing on Plan and a forum for discussion of pertinent issues.     Advanced | Credits: 2

Good Foundation for Plan

A student anticipating a Plan involving ceramics should consult with faculty members during the freshman or early sophomore year. Developing the necessary background for Plan work in ceramics while bringing writing up to Plan level, acquiring a breadth of knowledge in the liberal arts, and meeting the general requirements for Plan work in visual arts requires careful planning. Ceramics I, Wheel Throwing I and an appropriate combination of intermediate courses are essential preparation for Plan work.

Sample Tutorial Topics

  • Methods for Multiples: Mold Technologies
  • Form and Content: Historical Surface and Design
  • 20th-Century Ceramics
  • Glaze Research and Empirical Formula Calculation