Southern Illinois University, Carbondale: From the CM MFA Factor Series

The ceramic program at Southern Illinois University, Carbondale, places emphasis on each student expressing their unique personality through their work. The program encourages a diverse range of attitudes including utilitarian pottery, figurative work, mixed media, and sculpture. Students are expected to explore ideas, materials, and processes, and to engage in critical dialog with the faculty and each other. Each student receives an individual studio space within a shared working studio environment and is expected to contribute to the overall health and well being of the community. Through group and individualized instruction, the faculty shares ideas with students and assists them in their creative endeavors. Visiting artists will also assist in this activity. The student is expected to develop and engage in a personal artistic practice that leads to the development of essential work and an artistic identity, culminating in a thesis exhibition.

Check out the Program Details and Facilities Highlights


Harris Deller This and That photo

Harris Deller professor of ceramics, states, “My work is based on the
traditions, concepts, and techniques associated with pottery making.
Pottery is an abstract and universal idea; however, pottery making is a
function of forming a personal aesthetic and a tactile response to clay
and glaze. For me, the challenge and intrigue is to develop work that
embodies provocative contradictions; pottery where function is not the
sole content, nor the past and present, or this or that.” Deller
received his BA in art from California State University, Northridge,
and an MFA from Cranbrook Academy of Art, Bloomfield Hills, Michigan.

Left: This and That, 12 in. (30 cm) in height, slab-built porcelain with inlaid glaze, reduction fired to cone 10, 2009.

Pattie Chalmers Three More Collections photo

Pattie Chalmers, assistant professor of ceramics, holds a BA in history
and a BFA in printmaking from the University of Manitoba and an MFA in
ceramics from the University of Minnesota. She works mostly in terra
cotta and porcelain and focuses predominantly on figurative sculpture
and collectable objects for small installations based on curio
cabinets. She also works in other media, including drawing, video,
printmaking, and embroidery. Chalmers exhibits regularly at Creative
Electric Studios in Minneapolis, Minnesota, and Lafrenière and Pai
Gallery in Ottawa, Canada.

Left: Other Collection, 4 ft. (1.2m) in
height, wheel-thrown, press-molded, handbuilt porcelain, with glaze,
luster, underglaze, slip, and decals, fired to cone 10, 04 and 018,

This post was excerpted from Graduate Programs in Ceramic Art: Profiles of Several Top Institutions for Obtaining an MFA in Ceramics, which is free to Ceramic Arts Daily Subscribers.

Graduate Students
noel bailey pot photo

noel bailey
I became a full-time potter after graduating.
Working solo was very grounding and it gave me time to feel my way into
my work. It also gave me time to figure out exactly what I wanted to
get out of grad school.

ceramic artist keith carter bottles photo keith carter
I decided to attend
Southern Illinois University, Carbondale, because of the faculty,
facilities, and the past grad work. When I visited the campus and met
with the grads and faculty, I was encouraged to find that working
across disciplines was supported.
ceramic artist amy chase unequal balance photo amy chase
I took seven years
off between graduating and applying for graduate school. During this
time, I worked, taught ceramics, and continued to make art while
building my portfolio. These years were crucial for me to grow as an
artist and as a person. I wanted to make sure I was focused and ready
to commit my life to graduate school before applying.
ceramic artist summer joy hills-bonczyk photo summer joy hills-bonczyk
took three years off between graduating and coming to graduate school.
That time was incredibly important to me but very isolating. Grad
school has provided me with a community of artists who are committed
both physically and intellectually to making art and connecting with
the faculty has been paramount in my grad school experience.
chris scamehorn ceramic installation photo chris scamehorn
chose Southern Illinois University, Carbondale because of the multiple
teaching opportunities and the reputation of the professors.
matt schiemann teapot set photo matt schiemann
wanted a school that valued both sculptural ceramic objects as well as
functional pottery. When I first visited Southern Illinois University,
Carbondale, I felt very welcomed by both the faculty and the grad
students. I also knew I wanted time to experiment while in graduate
school. A two-year program would not allow for this and I am happy that
I chose a three-year program.
nick toebaas cup caddy photo nick toebaas
The strength of the
work made here, by both faculty and graduate students, was very
compelling in my decision to apply. At Southern Illinois University,
Carbondale, the opportunity to enter into a critical dialog about the
changing world of ceramics in particular, and art in general, allows me
to more fully discover what kind of artist I want to be.
molly uravitch sculpture photo molly uravitch
me, taking time off between undergraduate and graduate studies allowed
me to be more focused upon my return to school. I chose to attend
Southern Illinois University, Carbondale based on the faculty. I think
it is important to study under people whose work you respond to, whom
you respect and from whom you feel you have things to learn.
Ceramic artist Joey Zhao photo joey zhao
Before applying to graduate
school, I worked in Jingdezhen, China, and coming to Southern Illinois
University, Carbondale, has given me the opportunity to spend
uninterrupted time developing my work and ceramic skills.

Program Details (back to top)

3-year program

Solo thesis exhibition required

2-5 graduates accepted per year

All accepted graduates awarded a 25% assistantship with a tuition waiver and salary


Facilities Highlights

200-square-foot private studios

24-hour, 365-day access to facilities

2 forced-air Bailey down-draft gas kilns

2 up-draft gas kilns

90-cubic-foot gas car kiln

4 electric kilns

Outdoor kiln area with raku kiln, 50+ foot wood kiln, and a new 40+ foot soda kiln

Ventilated clay mixing room

Dedicated stoneware and porcelain Soldner mixers and 2 pug mills

Several slab rollers and extruders

Ventilated, fully stocked community glaze room

Ball mill, bench grinder, and spray booth

Access to sand blasters, wood shop, computer lab

Ceramic seminar/lecture room

This was published in the October 2009 issue of Ceramics Monthly magazine. To get great content like this delivered right to your door, subscribe today!



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