The ceramics area is driven by an investigative synthesis of material, methods, and theories associated with ceramics and contemporary art practices. This is anchored by curriculum, facilities, and personnel that nourish a depth of inquiry, access, opportunity, and individuation. Sculptors, potters, installation artists, and interdisciplinary innovators work side by side in a nurturing non-hierarchical environment. Rich in investigation, experimentation, and creative avidity, the ceramics area emphasizes technical and formal proficiency, historic and theoretical literacy, and openness to mining parallel practices and the world at large.
The ceramics studio is located on the Northsite - a complex of art studios and classrooms scattered among trees along the Willamette river bike path and the flowering, fruiting patchwork of the Urban Farm. The ceramics area is a thriving community of about 100, serving students at the undergraduate, BFA, and graduate levels. Classes are held in the main studios. BFA students share a space, and graduate students work in shared and private studios. The ceramics area is unique in its focus on community and a shared regard for the individuality of the creative process.
The graduate program takes place within the larger context of the Art Department as well as within the ceramics community. Ceramics grads are encouraged to work with faculty outside the area, and engage in critical inquiry about one's own work and the work of others. Developing fluency in critical discourse, analysis, and writing are important parts of graduate life.
The MFA in ceramics is a 3-year period of intensive concentration. Emphasis is given to developing a course of study tailored to the needs of the individual student, while encouraging exploration and risk-taking. The context of the University affords a rich environment for investigation and discourse, which encourages thoughtful and reflective art practice.
MFA candidates are required to have the same level of proficiency in ceramic techniques, history, firing theory/practice, and glaze chemistry as U of O BFAs do. The program supports a thorough conversance with the processes and principles that are fundamental to the discipline, as well as an informed awareness of issues and practices within the larger art community. Visual literacy, a willingness to engage in critical discourse, and fervent art practice are expected.