Offering B.F.A. and B.S. degrees, the ceramics program prepares students to produce work of professional competence in various clay media focusing on mastery of relevant technical skills and creative expression with a strong emphasis on concept, craftsmanship, design, and aesthetics. We offer wheel-throwing, handbuilding, mold making, slip-casting, clay formulation, glaze formulation, kiln theory, and studio practice. Our focus is to promote creativity, conceptual development and individual expression in both functional and sculptural ceramics.
The ceramics program occupies a 10,000-square-foot, well-equipped studio space including three primary classrooms/studios, glazing area, clay mixing room, glaze mixing room, mold making room, computer lab, resource room, photo area, and two indoor kiln rooms with nine electric and three gas kilns. All indoor areas utilize electrostatic and/or HEPA ventilation. Connected to the main studio is a covered outdoor kiln area with raku, pit, soda, and wood-fire kilns.
Primary equipment includes 30 pottery wheels, two slab rollers, two extruders, clay mixer, two clay mixing puggers, slip mixer, slip casting table, jigger/jolly, wet lap grinder, various grinders, tile saws, band saw, drill press, sandblaster, two spray booths, electric drying cabinets, ball mill, gram scales, electronic scales, along with various smaller hand tools.
One of the primary aims of the ceramics program is to challenge the art/design student to think creatively, both critically and self critically; to inquire, create, learn, and grow in a quest for personal expression within the field of visual art/design. A second goal is to provide an energetic atmosphere that will enable the art/design student to develop to the fullest of their creative intellect and potential. This includes expanding and broadening their skills and discipline, strengthening their confidence in their abilities, and developing problem solving capabilities. Excellence and the commitment to excellence is instilled in the students ‑ not to accept the "standard solution" but to seek to go beyond, to take risks.
Another goal is to instill in the students the verbal/visual vocabulary of the artist/designer, and how to use this vocabulary to translate their ideas and feelings into a synonymous three-dimensional form that reflects these ideas and feelings. This development is rooted in a strong foundation of the fundamental techniques which are necessary for personal experimentation and investigation of clay as an individual statement.
The program seeks to give the student these basic principles, not merely standard technical solutions, so that he/she has the training, judgment, and flexibility to perform competently in the field. Thus, the ceramics program has a twofold aim: to acquaint the student with the technological knowledge necessary; and to challenge the student to seek their individual identity as a visual designer/artist, whether it be functional or sculptural ceramics.
In trying to foster an atmosphere of learning in the studio and in the program the studio is open seven days a week, allowing virtually unlimited access to the facilities during the academic year.
The Coalition of Ceramic Designers (C2D) student organization is a USG funded club focused on educating those interested in the ceramic arts. Through the club, the students are able to bring in nationally known ceramic artists for demonstrations and lectures, host kiln firing events, and collaboratively present their work in local galleries. They also build community through monthly themed potlucks.
Past visiting artist demonstrators include: Brian Giniewski, Christina West, Brad Schwieger, Heather Mae Erickson, Peter Pincus, Tom Bartel, Melissa Mencini, Peter Beasecker, Kensuke Yamada, Daniel Teran, Tim See, Mike Jabbur, Frederick Bartolovich, Shane Keena, Susan Beiner, Gail Heidel, Gary Schlappal, Jason Briggs, Richard Aerni, Chris Dufala, Ben Wilton, Chanda Glendinning, Carrianne Hendrickson, Rick Nickel, Jerry Smith, Ann Perry-Smith, Jeff Kell, Lori Mills, Bill Stewart, Marvin Bjurlin, Carl Shanahan, Dick Hay, Mitch Messina, Bryan Hopkins, and Moi Duggan.
The ceramics program offers a year-long resident artist program for recent Buffalo State B.S., B.F.A., M.S. or M.A. ceramics alumni, allowing them time to work on expanding their portfolio in preparation for graduate school or for further career development.
Tina Vu was accepted into the MFA ceramics programs at RISD, Syracuse, Virginia Commonwealth, Ohio University and SUNY New Paltz. She selected Ohio University in Athens, Ohio and began in the Fall of 2014. Ohio University’s MFA ceramics program is currently nationally ranked 4th.
Senior Ceramics major Rachelyn Spry’s ceramic piece was accepted into the 2014 NCECA National Student Juried Exhibition, part of the National Council on Education for the Ceramic Arts conference that approximately 5,000 people attend every year. The NCECA National Student Juried Exhibition has quickly become one of the premier exhibitions of student ceramic work in the United States. The 2014 NSJE features 59 works out of 593 pieces submitted by undergraduates, post-baccalaureates, and graduates across the country representing 39 schools. The exhibition features emerging talent in the field and highlights the variety and caliber of student work from across the country. The selected pieces were on display at the Frederick Layton Gallery at the Milwaukee Institute of Art & Design.
Senior Ceramics major Suzie Molnar, along with Ceramics alumni Sarah McNutt, Scott Losi, and Carrianne Hendrickson have their work featured in the book 500 Figures in Clay, Volume 2, by Nan Smith, Lark Books, 2014.
Leeann Catanzaro's work was accepted into the 20th San Angelo National Ceramic Competition held at the San Angelo Museum of Fine Arts in San Angelo, Texas. This national exhibition also included artists from Mexico and Canada and was juried by Leoplold Foulem from Montreal Canada.
Senior Ceramics major Jessica Widmer and recently graduated major Francesca Di’Angleocs were selected as emerging artists on the Internet blog, Musing about Mud.
2011 Ceramics graduate and 2011-12 Ceramics program resident artist, Emily Chamberlain, was accepted into the MFA in ceramics program at Wichita State University.