Ceramics – Raku and Related Techniques



Instructor:                        Ken Turner

Telephone:                        206-241-7058

Email Address:                 ken_turner@antiochsea.edu or ken@turnerpottery.com

Website:                           www.kenturnerpottery.com

Credits:                             3 - 4

Quarter:                            Summer Qt. 2007

Location:                          Antioch University Seattle

Prerequisites:                   None

Day & Time:                    Fridays – July 6, 13, 20 August 3, 10, 24 & Sept 7th

                                          9:30 – 12:30. - Saturday August 25th 10:00 AM to 7:00 PM

                                          No Class Fridays July 27th, August 17th & 31st

Teaching Liaison:            Jayashree George, DA., A.T.R.-BC


The purpose of this course is to foster a creative self-awareness, kindling the creative spirit in each student through various hands on assignments.  Students will develop a working knowledge of ceramic studio vocabulary, while learning the basic principals of hand building.  Students with developed ceramic skills will be expected to push themselves and the material to test their limits.  Special emphasis on Raku firing and spin-off techniques will be covered in this course.  Experiential learning takes students off campus to the instructor’s studio where they will directly participate in the firing process.  No previous experience is necessary.



  1. To become familiar with the potential of their creative spirit through the medium of clay and fire.
  2. To recognize the physical, emotional, and spiritual benefits of working with clay, and to recognize clays humbling qualities.
  3. To gain an entry-level understanding of the ceramic process, creating an awareness of the benefits of clay as a useful tool in art therapy studies and other practices.
  4. To learn introductory ceramic vocabulary, basic hand building, the Raku firing process and related techniques.  Perhaps learning something new about themselves, and communicating an idea or emotion through their artwork.


  1. Regular attendance at class lectures, discussions and off campus meetings;
  2. Participation in class exercises and discussions;
  3. Completion of assignments;
  4. Utilizing studio time;


1.       Class attendance:  Students are expected to attend all classes and satisfactorily complete all assigned work.  Failure to attend 90% of the classes for a course will adversely affect a student’s assessment unless appropriate make up work is completed.  Failure to attend 80% of the classes for a course will result in no credit for the course unless otherwise determined by the course instructor.

2.      All papers must be submitted to the instructor electronically.

3.       Participation in class discussion and activities.

4.      Completion of assignments

5.      Clean up, and consideration of others.

6.       Cultural diversity assignment:  Write a short paper related to Raku ceramics and submit electronically.  Biographies of artists, potters, craftsman working in this traditional / nontraditional art form or related techniques.  Review a book, an article, a gallery / museum show, or video.

7.      Late assignments:  Assignments are to be submitted on their due date.  If the assignment is not satisfactorily or thoroughly completed, you may have the opportunity to re-do the assignment.  Credit is granted for this course upon satisfactory completion of all course assignments.

8.       Students will be expected to learn the following techniques and complete the related assignments by the due date:

·          Cultural Diversity assignment. (Due 8th week)

·        Several examples of simple “pinched” clay forms (pinch pot) including a “Ritual Rattle” and the use of terra sigillata. (Due 8th week)

·          Several examples of soft slab formed sculpture or pot. (Due 8th week)

·          Sacred icon figurine. (Due 8th week)

·          Representational Mask (Due 8th week)  

·         Create a “Personal Altar” combining techniques covered in class.  (Due     10th week)

·         Totem or musical instrument.  (Due 8th week)

·         Display a working knowledge of basic ceramic vocabulary.

·         Display care and craftsmanship in all work produced throughout the course.

·        Self evaluation; a written paper describing what you learned in this course and submit electronically.  (Due10th week)


Students wishing to receive an extra credit for this class must apply for it through the registers office and must complete an extra 30 hrs. of approved work by the instructor in order to receive the credit.  BA students may receive 1 extra credit only.  MA students may receive 2 credits if applied for and completed the required 60 hrs. of approved work.  Students may complete the extra credit assignment suggested by the instructor, or they may chose to submit a written syllabi and a request to the instructor for approval of a special project.  This request should be presented to the instructor during the second class meeting.  Students may withdraw their request for an extra credit up to the sixth week of classes, but will be subject to a financial penalty if they do so; consult your adviser or the registers office for further information.

All students seeking a 4th credit must present a written syllabus outlining their extra credit project and should include the following if applicable:

  1. Quarter, year, and number of credits.
  2. Your intentions.
  3. Your learning goals.
  4. Your experiences.
  5. Demonstration of learning.
  6. Reading materials.

Instructors extra credit assignment 1: 

Research a historical, or contemporary ceramic artist, or movement and write a paper describing their contributions and affects on the art world.

Instructors extra credit assignment 2:

Research in depth a specific ceramic technique.  Write a paper on your findings and produce physical examples.


Students will be expected to learn the following techniques and complete the related assignments by the due date.  All written assignments are to be submitted electronically.

Week One Class 1    

7/6/07         Distribute and discuss syllabus.  Make notations of possible modifications based on class feedback.  If revisions are necessary, students will receive revised syllabus on week two.  Explain studio policies, safety, and clean up.

                    Discuss ceramic Terms and Definitions hand out.

                    Discuss specifics on “Cultural diversity assignment”. (Due 9th week) Demonstration of constructing simple pinched clay forms, and making suitable attachments. Creating a rattle.  (Due 9th week)

                    Inform students of “No Class Dates” Fridays July 27th & August 17th & combined classes Saturday August 25th.

                    Assignment one: “Create a “Ritual Rattle” and six small forms using the pinch method.”  At least four of the forms should have a smooth surface. Bring these unfired, bone dry pieces back to class three (week 3) to learn about the application of terra sigillata.

Week Two Class 2

7/13/07         Soft slab demonstration.  Discussion of Raku and related firing techniques.

                    Assignment 2: Create a clay sculpture or pot using the soft slabs.

Week Three Class 3

7/20/07        Discussion and demonstration of terra sigillata application and burnishing effects.  Demonstration of coiling method.

                    Assignment 3: Gods and Goddesses, Sacred Icon Figurines. Sculpt a small figure representing your interpretation of a mythical God, Goddess, or Deity of your choice.

Week Four

7/27/07            No Class

Week Five Class 4

8/3/07          Mid-Quarter Evaluations handed out and collected.  .

                     Assignment Four:  "Representational Mask" Soft slab construction.       


Week Six Class 5                

8/10/07         All Work must be bisque fired (^05) by next class 8/24/07.

                   Stiff slab construction techniques demonstrated.

     Assignment five: Create a personal altar or shrine combining three or more of the techniques you have learned.  You may also use other techniques, and add elements other than clay.  For example:

                    Feathers, branches, flowers, paper, candles, oils, etc.  Be prepared to talk    about your altar, your choice of elements and their symbolism.  Did you discovery anything about yourself while creating your alter?   (Due week, 10)

Take advantage of the next 3 weeks to get caught up and create fine work.  Remember to allow time for drying prior to the bisque fire.

Week Seven    No Friday Class


Week Eight Class 6  

8/24/07        All Green-ware must be bisque fired to cone 05 by this date to Raku fire. Discussion based on mid-quarter evaluation of previous week. Hand out directions to my studio. Cultural diversity assignment due.  Electronic please

Week Eight Classes 7, 8 & 9 Saturday Meeting, 10:00 AM to 7:00 PM

8/25/07        Meet at my studio for glazing and raku firing.  Discussion and critical evaluation of fired work.  

WHAT YOU NEED TO BRING:  All of your bisque fired stoneware, a small sponge and, any of your own special tools or glazing utensils, along with a dish for the potluck!

WARDROBE:  Close-toed shoes are a must!  Leave your jewelry at home.  I recommend long pants and a long sleeve shirt (preferably 100% cotton or wool).   No straw hats and light on the hairspray!  Think non-combustible clothing!

Week Nine
8/31/07        No Class
Week Ten Class 10

9/7/07          Personal Altar presentations.

                    Self evaluation s due; a written paper describing what you learned in this course.  Electronic submission please

                    Private and group discussion of “Personal Altars” assignment.  End of Quarter Evaluations Due.  All assignments due.

                    Group critique of assigned and extra credit work.  End of quarter Evaluations collected by a student and returned to Jack Johnston, Office Manager’s, box in the front office.

Notification to the school of any and all types of personal needs involving physical, emotional, and learning difficulties and / or needs related to the Americans With Disabilities Act is the sole responsibility of the student.

While all reasonable efforts will be made to accommodate individual needs, it is conceivable that some conditions and circumstances are beyond the University’s ability.