Colorado Mesa University

Course Syllabus

Course name:  Kiln Construction    

Course number:          ARTS 442             Room: MSC Ceramics Lab

Hours:             1:00-3:15 p.m. MW   Semester credit hours: 3

Textbook:              The Kiln Book by Fred Olsen(Required)


Course description:    Creating in clay using various techniques and processes.  Explorations in clay including elements of the figure, representational and abstract, as well as 3-D forms as pure sculpture. Artwork based and finished for professional exhibition.  Independent work via student/professor contract.  This Fine art course is designed to give you a general introduction to the media, techniques, and history of hand built ceramic art and create a deeper appreciation of the creative ceramic process and unlock YOUR own potential for innovative thinking.    

Instructor name:                                   Jake Allee

Office Telephone number:                       (970) 248-1797


Office number:                                       Art Building 112

Office number:                                       Art Building 112

Office Hours :                                        8:00-9:00 a.m               Monday Wednesday

                                                            8:00-9:30 a.m               Tuesday Thursday

Please contact me with any questions, comments or concerns you may have.  I welcome your input.

Course grade: 100 point scale 90 and above = A, 80-89 = B, 70-79 = C, 60-69 = D, 59 or below = F.  Grades will be determined from the average of 5 to 6 projects given throughout the semester. 

Methods of evaluation: Evaluation is based on your ability to demonstrate learned topics, terminology and aspects from the course through hands on projects, class participation and discussions.  A test may be given at any time and will count as a project grade.

Methods of instruction: Topics will be covered by a variety of demonstrations, presentations, lectures, and reading assignments from handouts geared towards student production of assigned projects.  Suggested books and internet websites, videos, class discussions and trips to media related sites will be used to reinforce instruction.

Student purchased materials will be needed for exploration of ideas and different creative projects throughout the semester (example: clay, tools, etc.).

Student Learning Objectives:

1                     Develop a vocabulary of terminology associated with tools and construction of ceramic kilns.

2                     Develop  a vocabulary of terminology associated with refractory products used for kiln construction.

3                     Learn he design principals of kiln proportion, burner types, gas plumbing, Construction of kiln frames and safety equipment for kilns.

4                     Develop a  hands on understanding of kiln atmospheres associated with different types of firing.

5                     Develop a history and evolution of kiln design and associated ceramic wares from indigenous cultures around the world.

6                     Apply techniques of documentation for personal record, professional development, and presentation for administrative approval by institutions and safety inspectors.

7                     Learn the methods of 3-view drawing associated with making kiln plans.


April 29th             Last Bisque Fires Loaded              All work must be dry

May 5th                 last Glaze kilns Loaded                 No firing allowed after this point

May 11th              All portfolios due                            Grades lock at 4:00 PM

All students enrolled in this course are allowed to use the ceramics facilities as well as class glaze materials.  Use of the facilities and participation in this course requires adherence to all end of the semester firing and cleaning dates.  Some assignments associated with this course will require you to make artwork to be fired.