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Ceramic Arts

Program Head: Christopher Miles

The Ceramic Arts Program, overseen by Professor Christopher Miles, is an academic unit focused on instruction in the ceramic arts. The CSULB Center for Contemporary Ceramics (CCC), overseen by Professor and CCC Director Tony Marsh, is a special ancillary unit—a combined entity and site housed within the CSULB Ceramic Arts studios—focused on education and experience beyond the curriculum, supporting special projects, and bringing visiting artists and scholars, and artists in residence, to work, present, and teach among our community. The Ceramic Arts Program and the Center for Contemporary Ceramics operate in conjunction and constant collaboration. We also enjoy close and collaborative relationships with the School of Art’s other material and spatial arts programs including Fiber, Metal & Jewelry, Sculpture/4D, and Wood, as well as regular exchange with all discipline areas within the school.

The Ceramic Arts Program is dedicated to the mission of fostering advanced production and dialogue, an expansive understanding of ceramic arts and contemporary art, and an inclusive, diversity-embracing community of learning, teaching, making, and exchanging ideas. We are committed to assisting, challenging, and propelling students toward fully realizing their individual voices and visions via working in clay as well as other media, and toward achieving full agency in critical/analytical discourse. The program is intent and equipped to get students making, thinking, discussing, and writing in ways that are:

  • more ambitious, more intentional, and more informed;
  • more specific in both conceptualization and crafting;
  • more considered with regard to matters of form, material, genre, style, presentation, and contextual engagement;
  • and more conscious and deliberate regarding the artists’ participation, propositions, and positions within the fields and discourses of contemporary ceramic art and contemporary art in general.

Students work with a faculty comprised of active artists and scholars who also are engaged, committed, and generous teachers. Core faculty members maintain studios in the ceramic arts area and work alongside our students. Part-time faculty also are encouraged to work on the premises, and students benefit from being able to work alongside artists in residence who are invited to our campus as part of our Center for Contemporary Ceramics programming.

Together, the Ceramic Arts Program and the Center for Contemporary Ceramics have evolved into a special institutional presence in the field of higher education in the ceramic arts. We strive to embrace and engage a diverse group of students, faculty, staff, visiting artists and scholars, and community participants in the production and discourse of the arts – empowering the artists, scholars, educators, audiences, and advocates who will shape the culture of the twenty-first century.

Programs of Study

  • Minor in Ceramics
  • Bachelor of Fine Arts — Option in Ceramics
  • Master of Fine Arts in Art — Ceramics Track

Faculty and Staff

Ceramics Arts Core Faculty

Jay Kvapil — Professor Emeritus
MFA, San Jose State University

Tony Marsh — Professor, Director, CSULB Center for Contemporary Ceramics
MFA, New York State College of Ceramics at Alfred University

Christopher Miles — Professor, Ceramic Arts Program Head
MFA, University of Southern California

Chris Miller — Assistant Professor (Foundation 3D faculty with additional teaching in Ceramic Arts)
MFA, School of the Art Institute of Chicago

Ceramic Arts Current & Recent Lecturer Faculty

  • Doug Blechner — MFA, CSU Los Angeles
  • Stephanie Hanes — MFA, Rhode Island School of Design
  • Anna Sew Hoy — MFA, Bard College
  • Ben Jackel — MFA, UCLA
  • Anabel Juarez — MFA, UCLA
  • Jennie Jieun Lee — Studio Certificate, School of the Museum of Fine Arts Boston
  • Diane Linquata — MFA, CSULB
  • Ruby Neri — MFA — UCLA
  • Tanya Batura — MFA, UCLA
  • Elsa Flores — MFA, New York State College of Ceramics at Alfred University
  • Myungjin Kim — MFA, Seoul National University
  • Gerrardo Monterrubio — MFA, UCLA
  • Meghan Smythe — MFA, New York State College of Ceramics at Alfred University

Ceramic Arts Staff

Joe Hoffman, Ceramic Arts Technician

Ceramic Arts and Diversity

Clay and ceramics, variously employed in the service of the functional, practical, ritual, sensual, and intellectual, have been integral to essential aspects of living in nearly all societies and cultures since human prehistory, and have been integral as well to the expressions of, and exchanges between, diverse individuals and groups. This connection to diversity is a legacy to be valued, explored, enjoyed, celebrated, and sustained.

Our program, like our university, serves a highly diverse student population on a campus situated on a boundary between two counties, in a city that is home to the largest port on the west coast, and is known for very broad racial, ethnic, cultural, and socio-economic diversity and a large LGBTQ community. Additionally, our campus is located literally next door to a Veterans Affairs Medical Center, and we commonly serve veteran and reservist students. We work with many community college transfer students, many first-generation college students, and many financially challenged students.

The CSULB Ceramic Arts Program and Center for Contemporary Ceramics define, interpret, and embrace diversity broadly, including but not limited to diversities of race and ethnicity, gender identities and expressions, sexualities and sexual orientations, bodies and appearances, socio-economic backgrounds and circumstances, religious and spiritual beliefs, philosophies and belief systems, politics and affiliations, nationalities and immigration statuses, life experiences and educations, lifestyles and life circumstances, family structures and family educational histories, cultural heritages, languages, ages, abilities, and statuses of civilian, veteran, and/or active-duty, as well as other matters of origin, identity, expression, affiliation, orientation, and status.

As a creative community of learning, teaching, making, and exchanging ideas, we embrace additional diversities of talents and skills, prior training and exposure, approaches to teaching and learning, inspirations and influences, aspirations and trajectories, areas of scholarly inquiry, aesthetic sensibilities, creative endeavors and agendas, and both individual and shared voices and visions.

We draw upon the great diversities of our university and the fields of ceramics and art as sources of strength, wealth, depth, and breadth. We recognize that respect, openness, and inclusiveness are essential to creating a productive and constructive place for our students, faculty, and staff to teach, learn, study, create, and expand their practices and their fields.

Ceramic Arts Undergraduate Studies

Most undergraduate courses offered in the Ceramic Arts Program are open to all undergraduate students, regardless of major. Students wishing for a deeper immersion in ceramics can pursue the following options:

  • Minor in Ceramics in addition to the student’s undergraduate major;
  • Bachelor of Arts (BA) in Studio Art major with focus on ceramics courses;
  • Bachelor of Arts in Studio Art major plus Minor in Ceramics;
  • Bachelor of Fine Arts (BFA)—Option in Ceramics major.

Students are admitted to the BFA degree program based on portfolio review, with between twenty and thirty students enrolled in the BFA program at any given time. The BFA degree is specifically structured as a pre-professional and pre-MFA program, with a core foundation art curriculum and a general curriculum in both studio art and art history combined with ceramics-specific coursework including paired three-semester (beginning, intermediate, advanced) sequences of courses in wheel-thrown/wheel-derived and hand-built/sculpted ceramics totaling six courses. Students also take courses in plasterwork, glaze and clay formulation, as well as coursework for BFA Ceramic Arts majors only, including a two-semester culminating course sequence focusing on advanced independent projects, contextualization, presentation, analysis, and discussion, as well as a supervised independent study course focused on the development of a culminating BFA exhibition.

While it is understood that not every undergraduate student aspires to go on to study in a Master of Fine Arts program or pursue a ceramics-related profession, it is a basic goal of the program to bring all graduating BFA majors to a level where they would be competitive in seeking admission to an excellent MFA program and/or begin participating professionally in the field.

Students who wish to enjoy extensive technical training in ceramics without the requirements of the two-semester culminating course sequence or the mounting of a culminating exhibition are encouraged to pursue the Minor in Ceramics in combination with an undergraduate degree program, or to enroll in the BA Studio Art degree program and focus course selections on ceramics.

Ceramic Arts Undergraduate Preparation for Graduate Study

The Ceramic Arts Program maintains an exceptional success rate in preparing students to apply to and gain admission to MFA programs.

Over 42% of students who have completed BFA or post-baccalaureate ceramic arts studies at CSULB since 2008 have gone on to MFA programs. The significance of this success rate is put into sharper focus when one considers that nearly half of our BFA graduates opt not to apply to MFA programs in order to pursue other paths and goals after graduating. Of those who have applied to MFA programs since 2008, over 93% were offered admission.

In recent years, our BFA and post-bac students have been offered admission to excellent MFA programs in ceramics, material studies, sculpture, and interdisciplinary and transdisciplinary art studies around the country including those at Arizona State University, the New York State College of Ceramics at Alfred University, Kent State University, Notre Dame University, the Royal College of Art in London, Rutgers University, the School of the Art Institute of Chicago, Tyler School of Art, the University of Arkansas, the University of Nebraska at Lincoln, UC Irvine, UCLA, UC Riverside, Virginia Commonwealth University, Yale University, and others.

Ceramic Arts MFA Studies at CSULB

The Ceramics Track in the School of Art’s Master of Fine Arts degree program provides an opportunity for graduate students to develop highly individualized programs of study supervised by core faculty.

MFA students are admitted on a highly selective, individual basis. We usually have no more than two or three graduate students focusing on ceramics at any given time. Typical residency for a graduate student is three years.

MFA students consult individually with Ceramic Arts faculty, and work with graduate committees comprised of faculty from the Ceramic Arts Program as well as other discipline areas within the School of Art. Graduate students work independently, and participate in a cross-disciplinary cohort of MFA students within the School of Art.

Ceramic Arts MFA students have the special benefit of working side-by-side in a shared studio location with artists in who are in residence as part of the programming of the CSULB Center for Contemporary Ceramics.

CSULB Ceramic Arts Highlights

  • a highly active, engaged, collegial, collaborative core faculty committed to teaching, program support, and individual artistic practice;
  • excellent adjunct faculty who are also active professional artists;
  • opportunities for students to interact with, learn from, work alongside, and even assist wonderful visiting artists and scholars, and artists in residence who are drawn to our community as part of our Center for contemporary Ceramics programing;
  • a highly diverse and inclusive learning community with BFA and MFA students coming from broadly varied backgrounds, and students from all over the School of Art and the university taking ceramics courses as electives;
  • day-to-day exchange, collaboration, and instructional crossover among students, staff, and faculty across 3D areas including Foundation 3D, Ceramic Arts, Fiber Arts, Metals and Jewelry, Sculpture/4D, and Wood, as well as immediate proximity of all of these areas located in a pair of buildings surrounding the School of Art’s gallery complex and central courtyard;
  • collaboration and exchange with all of the School of Art studio discipline areas, as well as Art History and Art Education;
  • opportunities for MFA students to work not only in consultation with faculty, but literally alongside a steady rotation of visiting artists who share the Center for Contemporary Ceramics work space with MFA students;
  • a highly organized, active Ceramic Arts Student Club, and a constructive, critical, collaborative, competitive, energized community of ambitious, focused students;
  • a very high success rate in placing BFA Ceramic Arts graduates in quality MFA programs;
  • undergraduate curriculum balancing immersive technical training with development of highly diverse, personal creative explorations by students;
  • frequent student and faculty educational travel opportunities, and a very high success rate in assisting students with finding the resources to travel;
  • facilities designed to foster a very broad range of scale and method in ceramic arts production.

Ceramic Arts Facilities and Equipment

The Ceramic Arts studios are designed to facilitate innovative, ambitious, and diverse production in the ceramic arts. Facilities include:

  • over 17,000 square feet of total indoor and outdoor workspace
  • fully-equipped wheel-throwing studio
  • fully-equipped hand-building studio
  • dry glaze compounding area
  • wet glazing room
  • clay and slip mixing area
  • dedicated studio for advanced-level Ceramic Arts BFA majors
  • dedicated Center for Contemporary Ceramics studio shared by visiting artists, artists in residence, and Ceramic Arts MFA students
  • two galleries for display of student work within the Ceramic Arts area, in addition to the five student art galleries maintained by the School of Art
  • four gas kiln yards / outdoor work areas
  • electric kiln area
  • two loading zones

Key Equipment

  • nine Geil natural gas kilns and seven additional gas kilns, all totaling over 900 cubic feet of setting space
  • 12 Skutt Electric kilns of various sizes
  • 24 Brent CXC pottery wheels
  • two Soldner clay mixers
  • two slip mixers
  • slab roller
  • extruders
  • jiggering machine
  • digital color ceramic decal printer
  • large spray booth for glazing
  • sandblaster
  • forklift

Ceramic Arts Education and Experience Beyond the Curriculum

Beyond what is offered in the standard curriculum, the Ceramic Arts Program has a long, sustained record of efforts to expand and enhance the education of our students through a variety of experiences. These include supporting student and faculty travel experiences every year since 1995 with informally organized individual and group trips as well as structured study-abroad courses. Students also benefit from a variety of on-campus activities involving visiting artists and scholars, and artists in residence, which are now consolidated under the Center for Contemporary Ceramics.

Ceramic Arts Student and Faculty Travel

Every year since 1995, the Ceramic Arts Program has facilitated student and faculty travel to attend art exhibitions, visit historical and cultural sites, and work at locations in the United States and abroad. International travel has included individual student excursions to twenty different countries, and both informally organized group trips and structured summer study-abroad courses with destinations including China, Korea, and Italy.

While around 2% of college students in the United States study abroad, 51% of all Ceramic Arts BFA students since 1995 have traveled abroad during their time at CSULB. This percentage has climbed during the last decade, and over the last five years, 77% of all Ceramic Arts BFA students have traveled abroad with support from Ceramic Arts Program fundraising and planning efforts. This percentage actually would near 100% were it not for the fact that some students simply opt out. Because our goal has been to see to it that any student who aspires to travel is able to do so with our assistance in group fundraising and individual student fundraising efforts, we believe it is accurate to state that over the last five years, nearly 100% of Ceramic Arts BFA students who have aspired to travel overseas for educational purposes have been able to realize this aspiration. MFA students also have taken advantage of these opportunities to travel.

Though our students and faculty have traveled all over the world, we have a special fondness for Italy, and specifically Venice—an endlessly fascinating city for its history, historical art, architecture, and growing presence of contemporary art venues, and home to the Venice Biennale, the longest running (since 1895) International Art Exhibition in the world. Since 1997, the Ceramic Arts Program has sponsored seven group trips that included visits to Venice.

Simply put, the goal of these ongoing endeavors has been to connect advanced students with life-changing experiences in viewing international contemporary and historical art. We have witnessed first-hand how direct exposure to other cultures and to a broader sampling of international contemporary art have inspired and informed the creative practices of our students in truly transformative ways.

Center for Contemporary Ceramics

The CSULB Center for Contemporary Ceramics (CCC), overseen by Director and Professor Tony Marsh, operates in conjunction and constant collaboration with the Ceramic Arts Program, which is overseen by Professor Christopher Miles.

The CSULB Center for Contemporary Ceramics is a combined entity and site dedicated to the mission of fostering exchange, creative production, and learning beyond the curriculum among CSULB Ceramic Arts faculty and a highly diverse group of students, visiting artists and scholars, and artists in residence, with a goal of inspiring and empowering all participants to expand the limits of their own work to the benefit of both the participants in our community and the broader field of contemporary ceramics.

Though the formal establishment of the CCC is recent, the kinds of activities that define the center have been going on in the CSULB Ceramic Arts area for over three decades as part of a culture of education and experience beyond the curriculum cultivated by Professor Tony Marsh, who first began inviting guest artists and scholars to participate in our community in 1985 when he was teaching at CSULB as an adjunct instructor. Over the years, our guest artists and scholars have interacted with our students and faculty in a variety of ways:

  • Giving lectures and demonstrations;
  • Conducting “master” classes and leading experimental workshops;
  • Working in both short-term and long-term residencies alongside our students;
  • Participating in special work-intensive programs in which multiple guest artists work as a group in our studios for two to three weeks alongside our students;
  • Working both on- and off-site on ceramic projects with the consultation, assistance, and/or collaboration of CSULB Ceramic Arts students and faculty.

These activities both benefit students with life-changing exposure to intellectual and creative role models, and benefit the broader field of contemporary ceramic arts by providing a forum for expanded discourse and a site for advanced creative production. On November 15, 2017, in recognition of these important contributions, CSULB President Jane Close Conoley approved a comprehensive proposal from Professors Marsh and Miles, and Professor Emeritus Jay Kvapil, and officially authorized the establishment of the CSULB Center for Contemporary Ceramics.

Visiting Artists and Scholars, and Artists in Residence

The activities that have laid the foundation for the CCC, and continue to comprise the core activities of the CCC, have been motivated by three primary goals:

  1. to move beyond conventional instruction and provide a context in which our students can be inspired by and learn directly from an always changing and diverse group of the most interesting artists and scholars in the field;
  2. to provide students with opportunities to observe behaviors and practices of professional artist role models within our learning community so that students may more fully consider their own approaches and strategies, and, in the most informed manner possible, chart their own creative, educational and professional paths;
  3. to encourage, enable, and assist students, faculty, and artists in residence in expanding the limits of their own work, thus raising the entire field of ceramic arts to a higher level for all participants, and further establishing CSULB’s status and role as a center of higher education, discourse and innovative production in the field of contemporary ceramics.

With the establishment of the CCC, which incorporates the awarding of scholarships and project support grants within its planned activities as we build the CCC endowment, we add to the above three goals a fourth goal of recruiting excellent students, rewarding excellence, providing tangible material support for creative endeavors, and furthering the broader CSULB goal of combining educational excellence with access and affordability, and reducing student debt.

Artists and Scholars Who Have Given Lectures and/or Demonstrations at CSULB as Guests of the Ceramic Arts Program and Center for Contemporary Ceramics

  • Ann Agee
  • Clayton Bailey
  • Tanya Batura
  • Susan Beiner
  • Amy Bessone
  • Tim Berg & Rebekah Meyers
  • John Bird
  • Sandow Birk
  • Doug Blechner
  • MaryJoe Boles
  • Mark Burns
  • Margarita Cabrera
  • Merek Cecula
  • Ching Yuan Chang
  • Jiman Cho
  • Jeff Chown
  • Garth Clark
  • Susan Collett
  • Cristina Cordova
  • Rafael Corzo
  • Patsy Cox
  • Nathan Craven
  • Wouter Dam
  • Richard Deacon
  • Roseline Delisle
  • Ben DeMott
  • Stephen De Staebler
  • David East
  • Kathy Erteman
  • Morton Lobner Espersen
  • Adam Field
  • Leslie Ferrin
  • Neil Forrest
  • Leopold Foulem
  • Howard Fox
  • Michael Fugita
  • Lauren Gellaspie
  • John Gill
  • Shannon Goff
  • Phyllis Green
  • Gerit Grimm
  • Del Harrow
  • Roger Herman
  • Tony Hepburn
  • Dace Hicks
  • Anna Sew Hoy
  • Hsu Yung Hsu
  • Ben Jackel
  • Doug Jeck
  • Peter Christian Johnson
  • Seth Kaufman
  • Myungjin Kim
  • Cindy Kolodziejski
  • Paul Kotula
  • Nick Kripal
  • Jay Kvapil
  • Jean Pierre Larocque
  • Inchin Lee
  • Jae Won Lee
  • Jennie Jieun Lee
  • Kanghyo Lee
  • Steven Lee
  • Frank Lloyd
  • Linda Lopez
  • Michael Lucero
  • Kirk Mangus
  • Graham Marks
  • Tony Marsh
  • John Mason
  • Gareth Mason
  • Paul Mathieu
  • Kate McDowell
  • Mathew McConnel
  • Walter McConnel
  • Rebekah Meyers
  • Christopher Miles
  • Paul Milette
  • Richard Milette
  • Jeffry Mitchell
  • Gerardo Monterubbio
  • Kristen Morgin
  • Thomas Mueller
  • Ron Nagle
  • Yum Dong Nam
  • Andy Nasisse
  • John Neely
  • Ruby Neri
  • Peter Oakley
  • Casey O’Connor
  • Elizabeth Higgins O’Connor
  • Walter Ostrom
  • Vince Palacios
  • Michael Parker
  • Zemer Peled
  • Albert Pfarr
  • Allesandro Pessoli
  • Jeanie Quinn
  • David Regan
  • Anton Reijnders
  • Chris Robinson
  • John Roloff
  • Annabeth Rosen
  • Jerry Rothman
  • Kitty Ross
  • Anders Ruhwald
  • Elsa Sahal
  • Adrian Saxe
  • Richard Shaw
  • Bobby Silverman
  • Linda Sormin
  • Meghan Smythe
  • Vipoo Srivilasa
  • Linda Sikora
  • Suzanne Staubach
  • Beth Cavener Stichter
  • Akio Takamori
  • Carlos Runcie Tanaka
  • Cheryl Ann Thomas
  • Tip Toland
  • Ehren Tool
  • Javier Toubus
  • Kukuli Velarde
  • Matt Wedel
  • Tetsuya Yamada
  • Amy Yao
  • SunKoo Yuh

Ceramic Arts Program / Center for Contemporary Ceramics Artists in Residence

  • Gary Amerigian
  • Sylvie Auvray
  • Amy Bessone
  • Cristina Cordova
  • Rafael Corzo
  • Adam Feld
  • Juan Granados
  • Gerit Grimm
  • Roger Herman
  • Satoru Hoshino
  • Anna Sew Hoy
  • Hsu Yung Hsu
  • Peter Christian Johnson
  • Seth Kaufman
  • Myungjin Kim
  • Jennie Jieun Lee
  • Brook LeVan
  • Gareth Mason
  • Paul Milette
  • Christopher Miles
  • Gerardo Monterubbio
  • Yum Dong Nam
  • Ruby Neri
  • Janet Neuwalder
  • Soe Yu Nwe
  • Michael Parker
  • Zemer Peled
  • Allesandro Pessoli
  • Meghan Smythe
  • Joshua Stein
  • Cheryl Ann Thomas
  • Matt Wedel
  • Amy Yao
  • SunKoo Yuh

Ceramic Arts Program / Center for Contemporary Ceramics Work Intensive Artist Participants

  • Sylvie Auvray
  • Ray Barsante
  • Craig Clifford
  • Cristina Cordova
  • Gerit Grimm
  • Karin Gulbran
  • Roger Herman
  • Dave Hicks
  • Satoru Hoshino
  • Anna Sew Hoy
  • Anabel Juarez
  • Ryan LaBar
  • Jennie Jieun Lee
  • Hwa Jin Lee
  • Myungjin Kim
  • TaeHoon Kim
  • Debbie Kupinski
  • Andrew Martin
  • Christopher Miles
  • Peter Morgan
  • Kristen Morgin
  • Gerardo Monterubbio
  • Ruby Neri
  • Nobu Nishigawara
  • Jennifer Rochlin
  • Meghan Smythe
  • Beth Cavener Stichter
  • Tip Toland
  • Tam Van Tran
  • Matt Wedel
  • Amy Yao
  • SunKoo Yuh

Artists Who Have Worked on Projects with Collaboration, Consultation, and/or Assistance from CSULB Ceramic Arts Students and Faculty

  • Lita Albuquerque
  • Vanessa Beecroft
  • Amy Bessone
  • Tony Brown
  • Kim Dickey
  • Roger Herman
  • Anna Sew Hoy
  • Gareth Mason
  • Melodie Mousset
  • Ruby Neri
  • Kely Nipper
  • Michael Parker
  • Allesandro Pessoli
  • Kyungmi Shin
  • Fran Siegel
  • Joshua Stein
  • Cheryl Ann Thomas
  • Amy Yao