College of Arts & Sciences

Art Department


The Ceramics Program
Ceramics at MSU Billings provides an area of study for Art majors as well as servicing general education courses for the adventurous. The historical place of Ceramics in the history of humanity is a significant part of study in this program. Students are instructed in the role of ceramics products in our society from ancient burial urns to the tiles of the space shuttles to the fabrication of ceramic engines.


Aesthetics and design are an essential part of the instruction. Problems presented in the courses require focused attention to resolve through design. Advanced students develop their own glazes, help design and build kilns. Various firing processes available in the Ceramics lab include: reduction stoneware, raku, soda vapor, saggar, and oxidation. Experiential Learning has assisted students in deciding their career choices. Several students have apprenticed with local potters. This has given them insight into what is required to become a professional studio potter as a career.


Interesting Ceramics Sites, Resource Data Bases and Virtual Ceramics Exhibitions

The Potshop
There are fourteen potters' wheels including one for wheelchair access. Fabrication tools include a 36" Brent Slab Roller, a 4" extruder, and a small extruder. and large work tables. A wide variety of glaze chemicals allow students to experiment for the desired results on the surface of their work. A ball mill assists students in experimental glaze preparation and in preparing terra sigilatta. The firing power is provided by a 27 cu.ft gas kiln, 60 cu.ft. car kiln, 21 cu.ft. soda vapor kiln, 21 cu.ft raku kiln , and four electric kilns.


Student Activities
The ASMSU Potters' Guild is an active student organization which has pottery sales each semester to promote a professional standard in their work. Proceeds go to a scholarship fund, a guest ceramics artist or lecturer and also to sponser a child on the Giving Tree in December. In addition, the Guild has attended conferences of the National Council on Education of Ceramic Arts and several conferences of the Alberta Potters Association in Canada in such places as: Tempe, AZ.; Las Vegas, NV.; Minniapolis, Mn.; Champaign, Ill.; Calgary and Medicine Hat, Alberta. The Guild has helped sponsor several guest artists from the former Soviet Union: Vladimir Petrov from Moscow; Sergei and Sasha Illiev of Krasnoyarsk, Siberia; and El Natan Abramov from Tashkent, Uzbekistan.


Career Opportunities in Ceramics

  • Professional Potter
  • Tile Designer
  • Ceramic Muralist
  • Ceramic Sculptor
  • Teacher
  • Ceramic Engineer