VisArts Ceramics

What Your Class Tuition Includes:

Your tuition covers the cost of your classes. If you miss a class, there are no make-up classes. However, you may contact Education Director Lisa Gallant (lgallant@visartscenter.org) to see if a class may be scheduled with another teacher during the enrolled session. Make-up classes are not guaranteed.

Open Studio is included as part of your registration. Open studio is a time when the studios are open for independent practice. All time in Open Studios must be scheduled using this link: https://www.signupgenius.com/go/9040f4eada92baa8-ceramic1

VisArts Firing Pass:

VisArts offers monthly and multi-month Firing Passes. The Firing Pass is for people who have studios at home. There is absolutely no Open studio time for those students using a Firing Pass. You may use studio glazes but you must sign up along with regular students:  https://www.signupgenius.com/go/9040f4eada92baa8-ceramic1

Tools and Materials:

Clay must be purchased from VisArts. We have a variety of clay bodies available (the exact list changes occasionally based on availability from our supplier.) We usually have the following clays: Standard Clay 553 (Light Grey), Standard Clay 266 (Dark Brown), Standard Clay 308 (Brooklyn Red), Little Loafers (White), and B-Mix (White). Please check here for more specific details on the clay:  https://www.visartscenter.org/clay/ If we have other clays, it will be listed for purchase there. 

If you purchase clay online before your class, please check on the cart in the hallway to see if it is there with your name on it. If not, we will get it for you then.

VisArts provides some basic studio tools for community use. If you desire, you may purchase a set of beginner’s tools from the office or online where clay is purchased.

Type and Quantity of Student Work:

This is an educational facility. This is not a production studio. Production work is not allowed.

Work produced must be proportionate to the number of classes enrolled. Students may glaze up to 2,000 square inches in an 8-week session. The number drops relative to the number of classes. If you exceed this amount, the overage charge is .04 a square inch.

Size limitations: Work should not exceed 14” in length, 14” in width, and 18” in height. Large pieces will take longer to move through the bisque and firing process as they will be accommodated as kiln space allows.

Storage:

Each student is assigned one storage shelf for each class. Take your work, tools, and leftover clay home with you on your last day of class, if you are not taking a class the following session. All items left behind on your shelf will be discarded before the next session begins.

Bisque/Wet Work:

After you have finished your work and it is ready to be finished, it must first go into the bisque kiln. Please place your pieces on the shelf in the outside kiln room. Because every bisque kiln is run with a preheat, pieces need not be fully dry. However, they must be able to be moved without deforming them. Do not move other people’s pieces on the bisque (also called greenware) shelves. If there is no room for your pieces, please let an administrator know and we will make room. 

You may make work wet (make new pieces) up until the last two weeks of the classes so that there is time for your pieces to be finished by the end of your session. If you are taking a consecutive session and will continue, then you may work wet through the entire series.

Glazing:

Glazes are kept in the Glaze Room and may be used during your scheduled class time or by appointment only. Finished pieces are put on the shelf in the Glaze Room. VisArts glazes to Cone 5. You may use commercial glazes only with permission from your instructor. No piece will be fired without a glaze ticket. Fill it out completely. If it is not filled out completely, it will sit on the shelf.

Beginners: Please wait until your instructor does a glazing demo (generally a week or two before the end of your series) before you glaze. Glaze is not paint and it is important to understand the basics of glaze application before you glaze. If you improperly glaze a piece, it will be placed on the “Problem Shelf” and will not be fired. Check with your instructor or a ceramics tech to fix your issue and then put it back on the shelf. If the glaze is too close to or on the bottom of a pot, it will be placed on the “Problem” shelf. If you find one of your pots there, clean up the bottom and put it back on the glazeware shelf.

If your glazed piece has an issue with running, sheeting or really anything that has affected the kiln shelves, it will be marked with a glaze issue sticker. Please use this as an indication that you need to discuss this piece with your instructor or a ceramics tech. You may not be able to learn from the experience if you do not know what happened.   and how to make changes to avoid a repeat.

Clean-Up Procedures:

Few things are as important to the cohesion of a community as shared adherence to standards.

It is very important to keep the classrooms and glaze areas clean. Clay and glaze left on the floor will dry and become a fine, nearly invisible silica dust, which is circulated and suspended indefinitely in the air. Although not a problem for visitors, this dust can cause health problems for people who spend a lot of time working in the studios. Please make sure you clean up your trimmings and spills before they become dust. 

Here are some cleanup guidelines:

No sanding of greenware or bisque in the studio. 

Clay should never be discarded in the sink. Pour off water and put heavy slip in large slop buckets in the sink.

Thoroughly clean wheels, catch pans, bench, stools, tables, and bats. Put all of these away.

After the wheel is clean, make sure it is turned off.

Put the stool upside down on the wheel head and place the foot pedal on the wheel. This lets the next person know that the wheel was cleaned properly and makes mopping up easier.

Scrape and clean wedging and plaster tables after using them.