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Academic Year: Spring/Summer 2014

Term: 1

Day/Evening: D

Instructor: Prof. Carmela Laganse


Office: Togo Salmon Hall 430

Phone: 905-525-9140 x 23926

Office Hours: Mon.,Wed. Fri. 4:00-4:30

Course Objectives:

The objective of this course is to utilize a team-based approach that connects student learning with community through the process of collaborative creation and production in the ceramic studio.

Throughout the week, students will be engaged in working intensely with members of the community and each other acquiring an understanding of ceramic materials and processes. At the end the course, students will have built partnerships that foster an exchange of ideas though experiential, tactile learning that is beyond the classroom.

“In an age where technology tends to form more physical detachments than connections, there is a cultural longing to experience something tangible and handmade. It is this reason that a medium such as clay continues to appeal today. Touch is absorbed into clay, leaving a record of the artist’s presence on its surface. In recognizing these imprints as the mark of its maker, the viewer becomes conscious of his or her own hands and body. In examining ceramics through a phenomenological lens, we are challenged to consider the role our bodies play in perceiving the world around us.”- Allyson Unzicker


By the end of this course, students will:

  • learn how to build/construct vessels, particularly the bowl, using ceramic material in the communal work environment of the studio. Students will have learned and demonstrated basic skills in how to produce a functional ceramic object through processes specific to the medium
  • work collaboratively with each other and members of the Hamilton community in producing ceramic objects.
  • acquire an awareness and understanding of the vessel as it relates to culture and community and contemporary ceramic practice. This understanding will include the history and interations of the vessel and the significance of ceramic materials
  • learn about production methods and visual techniques specific to ceramics. Students will be able to apply acquired skills to what they produce throughout the week.
  • consider and exercise alternative, environmentally responsible approaches to ceramic production.
  • be aware of the aesthetics and formal visual language as it relates to the ceramic object
  • produce a series of ceramic objects that demonstrate a basic understanding of aesthetic and function


Textbooks, Materials & Fees:

The lab fee is 75$ which will cover the cost of materials including , clay, glaze, firing, decals. You will be expected to purchase or bring ceramic ware (5-7 objects) that will be upcycled.

Method of Assessment:

Your final grade will be based on the following:


Participation, investment in communal studio environment, collaboration, professionalism, communication/ interaction, working performance

15% Project one

25% Project two

Projects will be due: Monday, May 12.

Projects will be evaluated based on the following:



problem solving

use of technical skill to convey visual idea

personal investment in work and studio community

Due to the nature of this one- week intensive workshop course, perfect attendance is expected. Missed class will be reflected in your evaluation and missed demonstrations cannot be repeated. There will be demonstrations everyday and you are required to keep notes on demonstrations and lectures.

I will indicate your progress with a mid-course grade on Wed. May 7.

Final firing of work will be Friday, May 9. All work should be complete or in the kiln for firing by this date. 

Policy on Missed Work, Extensions, and Late Penalties:

McMaster Student Absence Form (MSAF)

This is a self-reporting tool for undergraduate students to report absences DUE TO MINOR MEDICAL SITUATIONS that last up to 5 days and provides the ability to request accommodation for any missed academic work. Please note, this tool cannot be used during any final examination period. You may submit a maximum of 1 Academic Work Missed request per term. It is YOUR responsibility to follow up with your Instructor immediately (NORMALLY WITHIN TWO WORKING DAYS) regarding the nature of the accommodation. If you are absent for reasons other than medical reasons, for more than 5 days, or exceed 1 request per term, you MUST visit your Associate Dean's Office/Faculty Office). You may be required to provide supporting documentation. This form should be filled out immediately when you are about to return to class after your absence.

Please Note the Following Policies and Statements:

Academic Dishonesty

You are expected to exhibit honesty and use ethical behaviour in all aspects of the learning process. Academic credentials you earn are rooted in principles of honesty and academic integrity.

Academic dishonesty is to knowingly act or fail to act in a way that results or could result in unearned academic credit or advantage. This behaviour can result in serious consequences, e.g. the grade of zero on an assignment, loss of credit with a notation on the transcript (notation reads: "Grade of F assigned for academic dishonesty"), and/or suspension or expulsion from the university.

It is your responsibility to understand what constitutes academic dishonesty. For information on the various types of academic dishonesty please refer to the Academic Integrity Policy, located at

The following illustrates only three forms of academic dishonesty:

  1. Plagiarism, e.g. the submission of work that is not one’s own or for which other credit has been obtained.
  2. Improper collaboration in group work.
  3. Copying or using unauthorized aids in tests and examinations.

Email correspondence policy

It is the policy of the Faculty of Humanities that all email communication sent from students to instructors (including TAs), and from students to staff, must originate from each student’s own McMaster University email account. This policy protects confidentiality and confirms the identity of the student.  Instructors will delete emails that do not originate from a McMaster email account.

Modification of course outlines

The University reserves the right to change dates and/or deadlines etc. for any or all courses in the case of an emergency situation or labour disruption or civil unrest/disobedience, etc. If a modification becomes necessary, reasonable notice and communication with the students will be given with an explanation and the opportunity to comment on changes. Any significant changes should be made in consultation with the Department Chair.

McMaster Student Absence Form (MSAF)

In the event of an absence for medical or other reasons, students should review and follow the Academic Regulation in the Undergraduate Calendar Requests for Relief for Missed Academic Term Work. Please note these regulations have changed beginning Fall 2015. You can find information at If you have any questions about the MSAF, please contact your Associate Dean's office.

Academic Accommodation of Students with Disabilities

Students who require academic accommodation must contact Student Accessibility Services (SAS) to make arrangements with a Program Coordinator. Academic accommodations must be arranged for each term of study. Student Accessibility Services can be contacted by phone 905-525-9140 ext. 28652 or e-mail For further information, consult McMaster University's Policy for Academic Accommodation of Students with Disabilities.

Academic Accommodation for Religious, Indigenous and Spiritual Observances

Students requiring academic accommodation based on religion and spiritual observances should follow the procedures set out in the Course Calendar or by their respective Faculty. In most cases, the student should contact his or her professor or academic advisor as soon as possible to arrange accommodations for classes, assignments, tests and examinations that might be affected by a religious holiday or spiritual observance.

Topics and Readings:

Other Course Information:

Please be aware of these important deadlines:

Tues., May 6:

  • you must email a jpeg file to Angela by 6pm. Your jpeg must be 8 x 10”, 300 dpi, cmyk

Wed., May 7:

  • please bring in ceramic ware to be upcycled
  • First bisque firing
  • Members of L’arche and Homestead may work in studio

Thurs., May 8:

  • Decal firing
  • Members of L’arche and Homestead may work in studio

Fri., May 9:

  • Final glaze firing

Mon., May 12:

  • Unload kiln and submit projects for evaluation

Wed., May 14:

  • Your work will have been evaluated and available to pick up. Details will be explained during the course.