Publication Date


Document Type


First Advisor

Canon, Charles (Professor of art)||Strawn, C. G.

Degree Name

M.S. Ed. (Master of Education)

Legacy Department

Department of Art


Ceramic materials


The art program in the public school is often limited by large classes, short class periods and low budgets. Specific art activities, such as ceramics, are included only as a fragmentary part of the total program. The problem arises as to how the quality of this art experience can be improved within the limits of the program. As non-specialists in ceramics, handicapped by lack of time and funds for equipment, the teacher often must rely on commercially prepared clay and glazes. These products have many shortcomings, the most important being the lack of student involvement in the basic processes of the ceramic art. The purpose of this project is to explore the possibility of altering a single clay and glaze, such as those obtained from school supply sources, to obtain improved results. This may be defined as deeper involvement of the student in manipulating the materials, gaining greater knowledge, satisfaction, and better ceramic pieces. The procedures described in the experiments are of primary importance. They will illustrate a method of arriving at many different results using only one clay, one glaze and a relatively small number of ceramic materials to alter their character and appearance. THE EXPERIMENTAL PROCEDURES The experiments were organized into four consecutive parts. (1) The alteration of a clay. (2) The alteration of a glaze. (3) Coloring the basic glaze. (4) A practical test of the clay and glazes. Part One of the Experiment. A common earthenware clay was selected and ten raw materials were added to it, singly or in combination. The purpose of the alteration being to change or improve the clay. Ten sample clays were tested for shrinkage, warpage and porosity when dried and fired. The results were then compared with the unaltered clay body. The tests proved that one of the experimental clays had working and fired qualities superior to the original clay. Part Two of the Experiment. A basic glaze was altered by the addition of twenty single ingredients. The twenty samples were test fired producing variations including changes of color, texture and transparency. Part Three of the Experiment. One of the experimental glazes was chosen and to this seven coloring agents were added. The seven colored glazes were then intermixed by a process called a line-blend. The glazes produced in this part of the experiment were uniformly good in color and surface quality. Part Four of the Experiment. A number of small pots were thrown from the experimental clay body. These were glazed with the experimental glazes and fired at normal earthenware temperatures. Both clay and glazes fired well to produce ceramic ware of good quality. CONCLUSIONS The experiments produced an improved clay body and a wide range of glaze colors and textures from the original clay and glaze. This is important only as an illustration of the great variety and individuality that can be achieved using a minimum of materials. The procedures demonstrated could be useful to anyone working in ceramics with limited facilities.


Includes bibliographical references.||Includes illustrations.


3, vii, 42 pages




Northern Illinois University

Rights Statement

In Copyright

Rights Statement 2

NIU theses are protected by copyright. They may be viewed from Huskie Commons for any purpose, but reproduction or distribution in any format is prohibited without the written permission of the authors.

Media Type