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Diploma of Arts (Ceramics)

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  • Objectives
    This course is undergoing change during 2008/2009. Please call or check the Chisholm website for further information. Graduates become studio potters competent in various construction techniques with a capacity to design, create, decorate and fire ceramics of commercial and exhibition standards. Work is directed towards achieving industry standards as well as meeting personal expectations through an analytical and interpretive process. This course includes industry visits and workshops by practising potters.
  • Entry requirements
    Year 12 (VCE) or Mature Age Entry
  • Academic Title
    Diploma of Arts (Ceramics)
  • Course description
    This course is undergoing change during 2008/2009. Please call  or check the Chisholm
    website for further information.

    This course enables students to become studio potters competent in clay many construction techniques with the capacity to design, make and decorate ceramics of a commercial or exhibition standard. The course focuses clay and glaze technology, decoration, design, kilns building and firing and marketing. It explores the variants between the ceramics industry, which extends from the hobby potter through to self-employed artists and ceramics production companies. There is ample scope within this course for students to select from the elective units, a course tailored to their preferred direction.


    Full-time: 2 years
    Part-time: Available

    Total Course – 1500hrs.

    Full-time – February
    Part-time - Ongoing

    Year 12 (VCE) or Mature Age Entry

    Folio Presentation & Interview

    Full-time - VTAC.
    Part-time - Contact Institute Direct.
    Apply for an interview in October (Dandenong Campus). Interviews take place during November & December for admission into the following year's course.

    Student Service Levy - This fee varies depending on the course and is used to provide extra-ordinary materials and for the promotion of students work through public exhibitions.
    The students provide their own tools of the trade.

    Supervised classroom/studio delivery, lectures, kiln firings, field trips, workshops and an exhibition in the final year.


    First Year

    Ceramic History & Culture 60hrs
    Clay, Slips & Engobes 30hrs
    Decoration Techniques (Clay & Glazes) 60hrs
    Design 93hrs
    Drawing 90hrs
    Glazes 60hrs
    Handforming 120hrs
    Moulds 36hrs
    Occupational Health & Safety 16hrs
    Presenting Information 20hrs
    Wheelforming (1,2&3) 240hrs
    Focus on Industry 16hrs
    Mechanical Forming 12hrs

    Second Year
    Comm Skills for Marketing & Selling 40hrs
    Ceramics Industry Design Trends 24hrs
    Firing 24hrs
    Drawing 2 48hrs
    Business Practice 16hrs
    Glazes Advanced 90hrs
    Marketing & Sales Promotion 20hrs
    Kiln Studies 50hrs
    Photography 16hrs
    Using Moulds 24hrs
    Design Principles Ceramics 2 45hrs

    Decoration for Marketing & Exhibitions 30hrs
    Production Ceramics 60hrs
    Decoration for Production 30hrs
    Computer Aided Design 32hrs
    Handforming – Advanced 60hrs
    Contemporary Art & Design 32hrs
    Handforming - Extruder Techniques 30hrs
    Wheelforming- Comp Forms 90hrs
    Handforming - Life Forms 30hrs
    Plaster Moulds & Slip Casting 30hrs
    Handforming - Marketing & Exhibition 60hrs
    Life Drawing 32hrs
    Wheelforming - Marketing & Exhibition 90hrs

    First Year

    Ceramic History and Culture
    This module addresses changes in the course of ceramics over the course of human history: the social, cultural history of each period and its influence on the development in ceramics. We look at the important historical development of clay bodies, making, decorating, glazing and firing. This is done through classroom activities and gallery visits.

    Decoration Techniques (Clay & Glazes)
    Enables participants to develop the skills and knowledge to produce an aesthetic effect with glaze and colouring agents on a clay or fired surface of a ceramic body.

    Addresses the drawing process through a series of assignments undertaken with particular emphasis on ceramics and the development of a personal style.

    A series of assignments addressing basic handforming skills and the processes undertaken with particular emphasis on concepts and development of a personal style.

    Occupational Health & Safety
    The purpose of this module is to provide participants with the skills, knowledge and attitudes required to identify, assess and control chemical, physical, psychological and biological hazards in the working environment.

    Participants will develop the various skills in using a potters’ wheel to produce open, closed, symmetrical and nonsymmetrical ceramic shapes.

    Focus on Industry
    Focus on industry investigates the studio, gallery and industry components of ceramics by discussing the work of contemporary Australian ceramic artists, gallery visits, reviews, visiting and interviewing a practising potter/ceramic artist.

    Presenting Information
    Develops planning, research and writing skills with appropriate acknowledgment of source material, written and oral exhibition reviews, the interview of a potter and the planning and delivery of an oral presentation based on the interview.

    Mechanical Forming
    To produce or observe the production of ceramic ware using mechanical means such as jigger and jolly, rampress, rola moulding etc. This module is conducted off campus at various ceramic industries.

    Clay Slips and Engobes
    Through a progression of lectures practical exercises and possible excursions participants will explore what clay is, where it comes from, its physical properties, how it is prepared, modified used and fired. This module investigates such clay processes as: ‘raku,’ earthenware, bonechina, stoneware, porcelain, mid fire and terracotta.

    Through lectures and practical testing, participants will explore what glazes are and how they are weighed, mixed and tested. Students will learn about and become familiar with common glaze materials, their chemical formulae and how to use them safely. This module covers the application of glazes as well as understanding firing and glaze faults. A number of tests and samples are produced that can be kept as a record of how glazes behave.

    Provide participants with the skills, knowledge and attitudes to produce, from a range of appropriate materials, moulds or forms against which clay can be formed or in which slips can be cast.

    Second Year

    Communication Skills for Marketing & Selling
    Looks at oral and written communication skills to support successful marketing and selling strategies when dealing with a variety of clients, selling and promotional situations within the ceramic industry.

    Participants will become acquainted with the program’s extensive range of kilns and how to load and fire them safely. To successfully complete this unit students should have at least fired one gas kiln for bisque, an oxidation firing and a reduction firing as well as an electric kiln with bisque. Other possible firing types include black firing, wood firing,’ raku’, sagger firing and specialised firing cycles such as for copper red glazes and crystalline glazes. This will be supported through a range of theoretical and practical exercises.

    Business Practices:
    This module shows the participants how to establish a business plan, adopt basic business practices, requirements by law, taxation obligations and procedures, basic book keeping and establishing a niche market.

    Marketing and Sales Promotion
    Through gallery visits, class participation and assignments the students will be shown how to assess the market place, to promote work and to establish oneself in the industry.

    Produce photographic images of ceramic ware. Present these images in a format suitable for publication.

    Ceramics Industry Design Trends
    Aimed to provide participants with the skills to identify local and global trends in design concepts and materials and incorporate features of these trends into their work.

    Drawing 2
    This subject area is explored using clay, working directly from life models for a major part of interpreting the Drawing 2 curriculum. 3D pieces are produced, working from observation and sometimes other references, as well as 2D pieces. Surface texture, proportion, scale, balance, personal expression and style are all encompassed as per the Drawing 2 curriculum with the use of clay emphasising these elements in ceramic work. Work is also produced by drawing on clay surfaces with tools or coloured slips or carving.

    Glazes Advanced
    Students will extend their knowledge of different glaze types, recipes and firing cycles through a progression of lectures, practical group activities and research projects. As the course progresses participants are encouraged to pursue testing glazes of their own design and/or interest in consultation with the lecturer. These tests usually relate strongly to the students own work journal, influences and aspirations. Use may be made of computer programs, Seger formulae and advanced blending techniques. In conjunction with the firing module students will be involved with firing procedures relevant to the tests performed.

    Kiln Studies
    Participants will gain the knowledge and skills to design and build kilns for various clay related purposes.

    Using Moulds
    Students will produce articles using slip casting techniques, mixing and adjusting clay slips and identifying and remedying casting problems.

    Design Principles and Elements - Ceramics 2
    Encompasses the design of work both on paper and in the making process to produce a folio of work to be made in the production of ceramics. Emphasis will be placed on the student developing an individual style of work.


    Decoration for Marketing & Exhibitions
    This module will enable participants to select and use decoration skills to produce ceramics of marketable or exhibition quality.

    Handforming - Advanced
    Students will develop separate and combined skills to produce utilitarian, decorative and sculptural handformed ware incorporating design considerations of form, function and aesthetics.

    Handforming - Extruder Techniques
    Investigate how to produce a variety of forms using an extruder.

    Handforming - Life Forms
    The development of skills, knowledge and attitudes to produce forms modelled from life.

    Handforming - Marketing & Exhibition
    Using handforming techniques the students will design and produce forms of a marketable and/or exhibition standard.

    Wheelforming - Marketing & Exhibition
    Through wheelforming participants will develop the skills, knowledge and attitudes to produce ceramics of a marketable and/or exhibition standard.

    Production Ceramics
    Encompasses the planning, making, finishing and decorating, glazing and firing of multiple quantity items as demonstrated and discussed. Students will be encouraged to develop and pursue their personal style of work.

    Wheelforming- Complex Forms
    Addresses design and making skills of a complex nature. Ware is decorated according to the design requirements and bisque fired (if applicable). Ware is glazed and decorated if required by the design and loaded into the appropriate kiln and glaze fired. Post-glazing decoration is applied (if applicable) and refired.

    Plaster Moulds and Slipcasting
    Involves designing and making a series of models, working moulds in plaster, identifying mould faults, their causes and remedies.

    Life Drawing
    A range of approaches will be used to broaden skills and knowledge of the figure. This module provides for delivery in a studio/classroom, which enables the life-model privacy within the context of the class. Students will be encouraged to develop a system of accepting visual information and translating that information in a graphic format.

    Assessment will be through class participation, progressive assessment, presentation of folios at the end of each semester, assignments and a written test.

    Delivery is offered in a collaborative studio based environment & includes workshops, gallery visits, kiln firing activities and a final year exhibition. Staff are not only fully committed teachers but are ceramic practitioners and exhibit on a regular basis as well as having indoor facilities and an outdoor environment that is accessible for kiln construction and specialist firing applications.

    The majority of students can go on to be self employed studio-based potters or support personnel in a ceramic based occupation.

    Pathways exist for those wishing to go on to further study. There are arts ceramics degree courses at a university level.

    Where applicants can show evidence of prior qualification or experience in a related field, they may apply for RPL (Recognition of Prior Learning) or credit transfer consideration.
    There is an opportunity to apply for recognition to be given for:
    • Previous study
    • Knowledge
    • And/or skills resulting from work or life experience relevant to the course

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