Three-dimensional Art: Ceramics



Today's ceramic artists draw from a wealth of technical and conceptual traditions, as well as from high-tech industrial applications. Such a multifaceted medium calls for similar versatility in the classroom, and that is what Western State Colorado University's ceramics department provides.

Course offerings center on technical and conceptual issues, incorporating both traditional and contemporary concerns. Discussions, critiques, and lectures emphasize content and the development of personal expression. The department's approach is one of breadth rather than of narrow specialization. Because ceramics deals with the illusionary space of painting and the real space of sculpture, this medium inspires infinite options. The possible transformations of clay are so many, in fact, that students must maintain flexibility and openness to new ideas. Often, a student's exploration of clay sculpture and studio pottery-making becomes a springboard for more personal and contemporary image-making. In beginning pottery courses, students develop skills in hand building, throwing, learn the complexities of glazing and firing, and develop a vocabulary in vessel aesthetics. In sculpture courses, students explore clay's potential in its many forms - fired, unfired, ready-made, plastic, or powder. Traditional boundaries expand and new issues arise as the student's perception changes.

The department offers several multilevel courses in pottery, sculpture, and theory. Beginning and advanced students meet together with the same instructor; beginning students meet as a group, while advanced students receive independent instruction. Complete clay facilities are available for students: several styles of wheels, bulk materials (clay, slip, and glazes); plus free firing and the assistance of a shop technician. The department also features extensive sculpture process equipment. Most styles of kilns are available, including salt and raku, and there are separate facilities for electric and reduction firing. Although equipment and help are readily available, ceramics students are responsible for helping to stack the kiln, and handling and storing their own pieces.

Next Steps

If you're interested in Western's Ceramics Program, we invite you to take the next steps towards becoming a part of the Mountaineer family. 

Share your interest with friends and family: 
  1. Email this to your friends or family    Share on LinkedIn    Share on Google+    Twitter    Share this on Facebook

  2. Get more information about the program.
  3. Schedule a campus visit so you can meet professors, see the beautiful Gunnison Valley, and find out if Western is the perfect school for you.
  4. Start the online application process - apply online now.
  5. Find scholarships, grants, or financial aid that match your interests and situation.


Scholarships associated with academic programs usually have a specific scholarship application form that can easily be obtained by contacting that academic program's office or visiting that academic program's web page. If you have any questions, please contact the Financial Aid office at 970.943.3085 or 800.876.5309. To find scholarships based on year of study (e.g. - Freshmen Scholarships), please see the navigation to the left.

 Caniff, Al Art Scholarship

Caniff, Al Art Scholarship is available to:

Must be a full-time Western senior student majoring in Art with an overall GPA of 3.0 or above. The student must exhibit service to the Art program by involvement with Art League or other co-curricular art activities. Preference will be given to BFA Senior Veterans of the United States Armed Forces.

Art Scholarship Provided by: 

Established by Dr. Al Caniff

Scholarship Amount: $1000

Scholarship Recipient Selected by:

Art Faculty in consultation with the Financial Aid Office.

Scholarship Application:

Spring 2016 available in the Escalante main corridor, black magazine rack.

Faculty & Staff


Professor of Art
B.F.A., M.A., M.F.A., Western Michigan University; , Ed.M., Nazareth College, , Ph.D., Canbourne University.
Phone: (970) 943-3083
Office Location: Quigley Hall 234