CCA Ceramics professor Kari Marboe helps a student structure their clay work_hero image_MB

BFACeramics

Explore the dynamic field of ceramics, from figurative sculpture and objects to industrial applications and functional ware.

Overview

Make the provocative and unexpected

Ceramic art at CCA incorporates a wide range of disciplines, including printmaking, sculpture, and glass. Students learn to develop an intensive studio practice that incorporates many different perspectives, materials, and techniques.

Under the mentorship of our award-winning faculty, including Nathan Lynch, Arthur Gonzalez, and Nancy Selvin, students embrace risk-taking and master fundamental skills—drawing, sculpture, design, and research—that will prepare them for lifelong careers as ceramists.

Studios + Shops

Blur the boundaries between art, design, and architecture

Ceramics students talking after doing a spray glaze in the CCA glazing studio

Our BFA in Ceramics program is nationally recognized. We train students to become interdisciplinary artists and nimble collaborators. Students investigate the history of ceramic arts, contemporary theory, and material possibilities within the context of an art and design school. The college’s ties to the Arts and Crafts movement and the Bay Area’s thriving contemporary art scene attracts many renowned visitors for our yearly lecture series. Students also benefit from project-based work that introduces them to architects, geologists, painters, writers, and more.

BFA Ceramics professor Cathy Lu consults student on their large scale ceramic sculpture_horizontal image_MB

Students learn to develop work for different environments, like outdoor installations, restaurants, galleries, and architectural builds. They have access to all the tools they need in the Treadwell Ceramic Arts Center, which has dedicated areas for hand building, wheel throwing, and slip casting. Treadwell’s kiln room, glaze room, and personal student studios are open 22 hours a day. A light-filled lounge with a small kitchen offers space to eat and socialize while artworks fire in the kiln.

Treadwell Ceramic Arts Center resources

  • 3D clay printer
  • BLAAUW computerized gas kiln
  • Glaze room with raw materials
  • Private studios for seniors
  • Icebox Gallery for student exhibitions
  • Outdoor areas with specialized equipment
  • Spray booth
  • Decal-printing station
  • Dedicated slip casting area

Faculty

A creative community at your fingertips

Our faculty—such as Kari Marboe, Erik Scollon, and Maria Porges—are practicing artists whose works include figurative sculpture, painting, site-specific installation, ceramics fabrication, and more. They help students understand and challenge the role of ceramics in history, culture, and contemporary society.

“We take the West Coast tradition of rule breaking seriously, crafting a distinctive ceramics program that is often more experimental, interdisciplinary, and performative than others.”

— Nathan Lynch

Chair of Ceramics

Nathan Lynch making ceramic cups with clay at Ano Nuevo Nature Preserve, sustainable ceramics

Nathan Lynch, Chair of Ceramics; photo: Maggie Beasley

Chair Nathan Lynch is a ceramicist, sculptor, and performance artist. While his work operates at the intersection of several disciplines, clay has been his primary material for a number of years. The Seabird Nest Program, which Lynch leads in collaboration with Oikonos Ecosystem Knowledge, is focused on designing and fabricating ceramic nesting modules for bird species on California’s Año Nuevo Island.

Curriculum

We think with our hands

Every undergraduate student participates in the First Year Core Program, an opportunity to explore a wide range of materials and tools. Faculty from many different disciplines guide studio projects, group critiques, and discussions on foundational theory to help set students up for success.

BFA Ceramics

Core Studio

Drawing 1
3 units
2D, 3D, and 4D
9 units
Ceramics 1
3 units
Ceramics 2: Glaze Technology
3 units
Contemporary Issues in Craft Theory
3 units
Craft Workshop
3 units
Ceramics Workshop
6 units
Digital Tools: 3D
3 units
Advanced Ceramics Workshop
6 units
Junior Tutorial
3 units
Senior Project: Ceramics
6 units

Additional Studio Requirements

Interdisciplinary Critique
3 units
Interdisciplinary Studio
3 units
Diversity Studies Studio
3 units
Studio Electives
15 units

Humanities + Sciences Requirements

Writing 1
3 units
Writing 2
3 units
Introduction to the Arts: Antiquity to Early Modern
3 units
Introduction to the Modern Arts
3 units
Foundation in Critical Studies
3 units
Media History: Ceramics
3 units
Literary and Performing Arts Studies (200 level)
3 units
Philosophy and Critical Theory (200 level)
3 units
Social Science/History (200 level)
3 units
Science/Math (200 level)
3 units
Visual Studies (200 level)
3 units
Humanities and Sciences (300 level)
9 units
Diversity Studies Seminar
3 units
Humanities Sciences Electives (200 or 300 level)
3 units

Total 120 units

Careers

Reinventing the role of ceramics

After graduation, alumni are ready to work as interdisciplinary artists and challenge the limits of ceramic art. They establish studio practices, oversee galleries, design products, venture into teaching, and pursue interesting projects that engage with pressing social and environmental causes.

Potential career paths

  • Pottery and ceramic studio owner
  • Art school educator
  • Self-employed artist
  • Gallery owner
  • Designer and fabricator
  • Clothing/jewelry small business owner

News + Events

What’s new for the ceramics discipline?

How to Apply

Begin the professional life of an artist

Our applicants are often just as excited about research and writing as they are about building sculptures. Some already have experience making figurative pottery, but just as many are completely new to ceramics. We look for promising artists who are interested in collaboration and pushing boundaries.

Find your creative community at CCA

Apply now