ceramic arts

Ceramic Arts (MFA)

  • Certificate
  • Master's

About this Program

Hood’s MFA program prepares students to contribute original knowledge and creativity to the field of ceramics.

Program Overview

Become a visual communicator through art

Courses are designed to guide the artists far beyond the hobbyist stage to the role of visual communicator of ideas, concepts and passion through art. Students explore the subtle nuances and detail of aesthetic expression as they refine the practical application of science and technology in their work, conduct advanced thesis research and prepare for a solo gallery exhibition.

Fuel creative expression under the tutelage of renowned artists

Faculty members are accomplished ceramic artists and well-known specialists in areas such as East Asian coil techniques, structural strength, wheel techniques, large-scale stoneware and porcelain, ceramic engineering, wood firing, exhibition development and public art. Special course topics taught by distinguished guest artists add another dimension of experience and research. Small classes assure personal attention. Outstanding facilities include a kiln pavilion that has five atmospheric kilns: exploratory research, production soda, large-scale sculpture, hybrid gas/soda/wood, and Sanderson ECO wood train.Through study and studio work, and hands-on experience with these kilns, students produce a comprehensive body of work.

Study at your own pace 

A variety of class formats accommodates working adults and long-distance commuters: evenings; weekends; and four-day, one-week and two-week intensive courses. The program can be completed in two calendar years with full-time study, or longer on a part-time basis to allow time for other life commitments. Another option is to complete the requirements of a Hood M.A. in ceramic arts, and apply those courses to the longer-range goal of an MFA.

Workshops and events

The Hood College Graduate School also offers workshops, studio courses and events designed to allow ceramic artists, both experienced and aspiring, to gain specialized knowledge in the field. 

Program Contact

Chaz Martinsen

Program Director

Nick Masucci

Assistant Director of Graduate Admission


Degrees Offered

  • Certificate
  • MA
  • MFA
Lillian Ding, MFA

Graduate Alumna Focus | Lillian Ding

Lillian Ding, MFA Alumni Graduate School Graduate Student

Lillian Ding graduated from Hood College with an MFA in Ceramic Arts in September 2020. She received First Prize in 2018 and the President’s Choice Award in 2019 at Hood’s Annual Juried Student Art Exhibition Awards Ceremony.

  • Academics
  • Alumni Relations
Faith Ku

Graduate Student Spotlight | Faith Ku

Faith Ku, Ceramic Arts MFA Graduate School Graduate Student

"Hood College’s ceramics program is so unique as it offers a robust spectrum of classes that teach graduate students everything from the most basic to the more advanced aspects of ceramics."

  • Academics

For students applying to the MFA in ceramic arts program, please submit the following to the Graduate School:

  • One copy of official transcripts from each institution of higher education attended
  • An essay (500 words or less) discussing previous academic and personal experience with clay, current work and professional goals in relation to the MFA
  • Two letters of recommendation from individuals familiar with recent work (letters can be emailed to gofurther@hood.edu)
  • A portfolio of high quality images in PDF format  to include:
    • 20 images of current work
    • A corresponding image list stating title of work, medium, size and dates of completion
    • An artist statement about the portfolio work addressing concept, objectives and process
    • Résumé.

Candidates for the MFA in Ceramic Arts program must have a baccalaureate degree or equivalent training in the ceramic arts. Students with an undergraduate degree in an area other than ceramics who provide evidence of life experience and skill in the ceramic arts may be accepted with permission of the program director.


Program Requirements

The Master of Fine Arts in Ceramic Arts requires candidates to complete a studio emphasis in ceramic arts with a G.P.A. of 3.0 or greater.

60 credits are required for graduation:

19 credits of core requirements

17 credits of required research

15 credits of general electives

9 credits of art history, aesthetics and criticism

Students studying full time will normally spend three years earning the degree. Successful completion of ARTS 570 and a 3.0 grade point average will serve as an interim evaluation for continuing studies. Strong candidate for the M.F.A. will have earned a grade of A- (3.67) or higher in ARTS 570. Students may transfer 9 credits earned from an accredited program to their course requirements for the M.F.A.

Core Courses - 19 Credits Required

ARTS 501Glaze Application


ARTS 502East Asian Wedged Coil Technique


ARTS 505Ceramic Wheel: Masters' Throwing Concepts


ARTS 508Ceramic Sculpture


ARTS 523Ceramic Materials


ARTS 525Electric Kilns


ARTS 530Kiln Technology & Firing Theory


ARTS 540Clay/Glaze Chemistry Theory & Practice


ARTS 574Advanced Studies in Ceramic Arts


 Total Credit Hours:19.0

Art History and Criticism Courses - 9 Credits Required

ARTS 543History of Ceramic Arts


ARTS 564Aesthetics and Criticism


 Three credits Art History (ART) at 500 level


Additional graduate level humanities courses may serve as elective credit with approval of the program director.

Research Courses - 17 Credits Required

ARTS 569Survival Skills for Visual Artists


ARTS 570Seminar in Personal Studio Research


ARTS 576MFA Thesis Preparation


ARTS 580MFA Thesis Research


ARTS 595MFA Thesis Exhibition


 Total Credit Hours:17.0

Elective Courses – 15 Credits Required


ARTS 504Ceramic Decoration


ARTS 506Ceramic Wheel: Masters' Throwing II


ARTS 507Plates and Platters


ARTS 509Throwing Large Forms


ARTS 512Eastern & Western Tech in Trimming


ARTS 517Dynamic and Asymmetrical Wheel


Handbuilding and Sculpture

ARTS 542Modeling the Figure


ARTS 545Large Scale and Composite Sculpture


Kiln Technology

ARTS 531Wood Firing Theory


ARTS 532Firing Large Scale Wood Kiln


ARTS 533Soda Firing Theory and Practice


Special Topics Courses

ARTS 520Photographing Ceramics


ARTS 547Creating with Porcelain


ARTS 590Teaching Assistant in Ceramic Arts

1.0 - 4.0

ARTS 599Special Topics in Ceramic Arts

1.0 - 3.0

Independent Study

ARTS 575Independent Study

1.0 - 3.0

To register for any of the below workshops, enter our secure registration site.

ARTS 500: Ceramic Sculpture/Hand Building – Instructor: Jenny Reed – 3 Credit/$675 Workshop Fee - Stacked with ARTS 508

Class Times: Mon-Thurs, 9 AM-5 PM, 7/19-7/29

Teaching Modality: Traditional

An in-depth study of materials, skills and procedures relating to a variety of hand building techniques in a sculptural direction in clay, with an emphasis on form, surface, transitions and terminations, considerations for surface finishing and firing, and the development of aesthetics in the sculptural ceramic form.

ARTS 508: Ceramic Sculpture – Instructor: Jenny Reed - $675 Workshop Fee - Stacked with ARTS 500

Class Times: Mon-Thurs, 9 AM-5 PM, 7/19-7/29

Teaching Modality: Traditional

Applied three-dimensional ceramic design and construction covering a variety of methods of hand-forming with clay to take a sculptural direction. Techniques include tile relief, eastern coil, slab construction, modeling the figure, the portrait bust, structural strength concepts for sculpture and firing considerations for sculptural forms.

ARTS 504: Surface Decoration – Instructor: Jenna Gianni – 3 Credit/$675 Workshop Fee

Class Times: Wednesday-Sunday 7/14--7/18, 9 AM-5 PM

Teaching Modality: Traditional

An in-depth study of materials and techniques suitable for the enrichment of clay and glaze surfaces, decoration in the forming process, the bisque fired stage, the use of firing technologies, post-firing techniques, and three dimensional design concepts that evoke appropriate decorative treatments for works in clay.

ARTS 509: Throwing Large Forms – Instructor: Kevin Crowe – 3 Credit/$675 Workshop Fee

Class Times: Monday- Saturday, 7/26 – 7/31, 9 AM- 6:30 PM

Teaching Modality: Traditional

The workshop will focus on the techniques and aesthetic perspective employed to produce large-scale pots. Participants will develop alternate methods to throw and center large pots. Throwing large allows a more elastic understanding of the relationship between object and the space it occupies.

ARTS 517: Dynamic and Asymmetric Wheel – Instructor: Yoshi Fujii – 3 Credit/$675 Workshop Fee

Class Times: Monday-Friday, 7/19 - 7/23, 9 AM-5 PM

Teaching Modality: Traditional

The course will provide the student with experience in alternatives to simple wheel throwing by combining wheel and handbuilding techniques. Procedures to alter forms include shaping, paddling, faceting, combining separately thrown forms, and integrating coiling and throwing. Work may be in stoneware or porcelain.

ARTS 599 CN: Creating Narrative – Instructor: Lynne Hobaica with visiting artist Rickie Barnett – 3 Credit/$675 Workshop Fee

Class Times: Mon-Thurs, 9 AM-5 PM, 8/2-8/12

Teaching Modality: Traditional

This course will explore narrative in ceramics. Students will examine clay as a language to tell a story, and will discover contemporary and historical examples of how narrative has been used to illustrate the human experience. Through handbuilding and various types of surface decoration, students will explore storytelling, and how these two elements - form and surface - can tie together and inform one another.

To register for any of the below workshops, enter our secure registration site.

ARTS 501: Glaze Application – Instructor: Chaz Martinsen – 1 Credit/$225 Workshop Fee

Class Times: Saturday, Sunday 9/18-9/19, 9 AM- 5 PM

Teaching Modality: Traditional

A study of basic and advanced information and techniques for successful glazing of the ceramic form. Learn to analyze the bisque form to make appropriate finishing choices to balance or strengthen the composition, learn techniques that will facilitate the glazing process and discuss procedures to standardize to achieve consistent glaze results.

ARTS 503 Ceramic Wheel: Intensive Throwing – Instructor: Yoshi Fujii – 3 Credit/$675 Workshop Fee

Class Times: Tuesdays, 5:30 PM-9:30 PM

Teaching Modality: Traditional

An advanced study of the production of ceramic ware using the potter’s wheel as a primary tool. Through exercises, personal research and practice, the student will create open and vertical forms at the potter’s wheel, understand the basic nature of clay, throwing, trimming, glazing and firing techniques to produce finished glazed pieces for critique.

ARTS 504: Surface Decoration – Instructor: Jenna Gianni – 3 Credit/$675 Workshop Fee

Class Times: Mondays, 5:30 PM-9:30 PM

Teaching Modality: Traditional

An in-depth study of materials and techniques suitable for the enrichment of clay and glaze surfaces, decoration in the forming process, the bisque fired stage, the use of firing

ARTS 506: Master’s Throwing II – Instructor: Kristin Muller – 2 Credit/$450 Workshop Fee

Class Times: Thursday-Sunday, 10/21-10/24, 9 AM-5 PM

Teaching Modality: Hybrid

A concentration on advanced throwing skills, to develop the confidence and strength which frees the student to move toward individual aesthetic expression. The course provides a more in-depth coverage of specific concepts with focus on individual needs for building skill, efficiency and personal direction.

ARTS 512: Eastern/Western Trimming Techniques – Kristin Muller – 1 Credit/$225 Workshop Fee

Class Times: Saturday, Sunday, 11/6 - 11/7, 9 AM-5 PM

Teaching Modality: Hybrid

The importance of the finishing of the thrown work by turning the foot and the trimming of excess clay to refine the form has often been overlooked. The details of trimming enhance or destroy the structural integrity of the form. It is critical for the potter to understand the qualities essential for the structure and aesthetics of the completed piece.

ARTS 542: Modeling the Figure – Instructor: Toby Mendez – 3 Credit/$675 Workshop Fee

Class Times: Wednesdays, 5:30 PM-9:30 PM

Teaching Modality: Traditional

The study of structure, proportion and movement as seen in the human figure is key to the understanding and appreciation of balance, design and the interaction of objects within nature. An in-depth study of the figure in clay, including anatomy and articulation using the life and costumed model, and considerations for finishing and firing figurative work.

ARTS 545: Large Scale and Composite Sculpture – Instructor: Chaz Martinsen – 3 Credit/$675 Workshop Fee

Class Times: Saturday, Sunday 10/2-10/3, 10/16-17, 9 AM-6:30 PM

Teaching Modality: Traditional

Directed study in design, construction and finishing of composite and architectural ceramics with emphasis on specific engineering requirements for construction, drying and firing. Topics will include construction methods for slab, coil, composite, mural and architectural projects.

ARTS 547: Creating with Porcelain – Instructor: Natalia Kormeluk – 3 Credit/$675 Workshop Fee

Class Times: Thursdays, 5:30 PM-9:30 PM

Teaching Modality: Traditional

An in-depth study of the characteristics and techniques for working with porcelain, including exploration of classical porcelain, low open forms, plates and platters, horizontal throwing, and advanced glazing procedures.

ARTS 569: Survival Skills For the Artist – Chaz Martinsen – 1 Credit/$225 Workshop Fee

Class Times: Saturdays 8/28, 9/11, 10/9, 11/6, 12/4, 9 AM-5 PM

Teaching Modality: Traditional

ARTS 599 CD - Computer Aided Design and 3D Printing – Instructor: Chaz Martinsen – 1 Credit/$225 Workshop Fee

Class Times: Saturday, Sunday, 11/13-11/14, 10 AM-4:15 PM

Teaching Modality: Hybrid

The course will explore 3D modeling solutions of simple to complex forms with intent to 3D print the solutions for immediate use or for mold making and casting processes to translate into other materials. You will use Computer Aided Design software to create models and parts that are functional and sculptural. There will be a primary focus on the technical and conceptual fundamentals of CAD and 3D printing.

ARTS 599 RK – Raku Firing and Theory – Instructor: Natalia Kormeluk – 2 Credit/$450 Workshop Fee

Class Times: Saturday, Sunday, 9/25-26, 10/30-31, 9 AM-6 PM

Teaching Modality: Traditional

An in-depth study of the origins, theory and practice of the Raku firing process. Historical and contemporary techniques will be explored while experimentation with surface and t forms will be encouraged. Multiple firings will be conducted due to the relative quick firing times when compared to contemporary electric and gas fired kilns.

Our advisory board...

provides support and assistance in the development of new programs, serves as ambassadors for our program and identifies best practice standards.

All Faculty

Chaz Martinsen

  • Visiting Assistant Professor of Ceramic Arts
  • Interim Director, Ceramic Arts