Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)

Semester of Degree Completion


Thesis Director

Billy J. Heyduck


It is the intention of this paper to bring to the pottery student an awareness of the concept of technician-potter versus artist-potter.

The introduction defines the technician-potter as one who learns the technical skills involved in pottery making without going further into the creative, artistic aspects of his craft. An artist-potter is described as one who not only masters the technical skills, but also strives to be creative and make personal artistic statements in clay.

A thorough discussion follows concerning technique and the relevance of technical skills to the potter. It is concluded that the potter must master the technical skills involved in making pottery with the realization that these are only the beginning. They are the tools necessary for self-expression. Artistic motivation and awareness are examined in correlation with personal growth and self-awareness with the conclusion being: it is essential that for the potter to become an artist-potter, he must develop and grow both as technician and man with an awareness and acceptance of the time and decidation this requires.

Chapter One examines the author's purpose and goals as a potter. The following goals were determined: perfection of technical skills, resolution of construction problems, reduction of production time, simplification of studio equipment and development of professional sophistication in the author's clay product. It was determined that realization of these goals would come about through production of ware to be fired in an electric kiln at cones 5 and 6 (2185°F to 2232°F), through the development of stains and glazes which exhibited suitable results at those temperatures, and through the development of alternate finishing techniques.

Chapter Two includes detailed descriptions of technical problems explored by the author. Color prints are included in each experiment description. Three approaches were chosen by the author: pressed coil clay drawings, bird and vehicle sculptures, with the following alternative procedures explored:

  1. To develop a cone 5-6 oxidation glaze with a limited palette and the richness of highfire reduction glaze
  2. To develop oxide stains and adjust them to cone 5-6
  3. To experiment with a variety of finishes, specifically: engobes, watercolor and acrylics (to be used on different clay godies in combination with glazes and stains arrived at in Items 1 and 2)
  4. To develop colored clay bodies (to be used with stains in Item 2)
  5. To attempt the raku process

In chapter Three, the function of the potter in today's society is discussed. It was determined that today's potter is free of the controls of tradition with the opportunity to unrestricted self-expression. He is in a time of new found freedom where the bonds of classic tradition, family tradition, utilitarian demands, material naiveté and current trends or movements are removed.

The remainder of the paper deals with the discipline and dedication required of a potter who decides to become an artist-potter and say through his work, something with integrity that he feels may have more than a passing interest for man. A series of plates are included to illustrate the progession of the author's technical and artistic growth.

Included in

Ceramic Arts Commons