Class Levels

Class Levels

This page gives you an outline of the different levels of classes at the Donn Zver School of Pottery. We encourage you to go over these outlines to best determine where you fit in. If you have questions, please phone the school (519-647-2117) and we would be happy to assist you.

Beginner Level 1

The School of Pottery encourages discovery, artistic development, and inspiring our students.

We do this in our classes by developing the skills of the students and encouraging them to enjoy their involvement in the art of Pottery Making. Your educator infuses their own ideas in developing the skills of our students.

The teaching of safety and studio protocols as outline in the school's guidelines provided to the educators entitled “Best Practice Guidelines”.

Tour of the School of Pottery and the Donn Zver Pottery Studio.

Introduction to tools, equipment, and kilns.

Introduction to wheel throwing, demonstrating basic techniques, such as wedging, centring. opening and pulling the clay to form cylinders and bowls.

Instruction in trimming and finishing their work, including signing and stamp making for signing.

Introduction to basic hand-building, such as pinch pots, coiling methods, slab building, and using texture tools for decoration.

Proper recycling of the student's clay. Proper storage of clay and drying finished pieces.

The importance of goal setting and the use of a sketchbook and drawing.

Beginner Level 2

The School encourages educators to continue to develop the skills of their students. In Level Two (the second session of 8 weeks) we continue developing the student's skills. We encourage the students to either practice at home or taking advantage of the Open Studio time provided by the School.

The School encourages the expansion of wheel throwing making cylindrical forms and small bowls. Challenging the students to produce multiple items of similar shape and sizes, for example, 6-inch cylinders.

How to load and fire the kiln. Showing the various firing schedules, bisque and glaze firing, and the differences.

Continuing in hand building, showing new techniques such as carving, handles, and surface enrichment.

Dipping, pouring glazes using multiple dips, and use of oxides in or on glazes surfaces.

Expanding the use of different tools, expanding decorating techniques on their work, record keeping of firing glazes, and sketching in their books.

Beginner Level 3

In level three, we continue to develop the skills of the students. At this point, the students should have developed a good vocabulary of Pottery terms and skills. Expanding their skills is important to their development as a potter.

Kiln Terminology and firing basics will be discussed. A team (Class firing) should be encouraged at this point of their development.

Demonstrate and encourage Decorating techniques such as slips, underglaze, and oxides,

Produce 4 bowls properly thrown and trimmed.

Making 1 pound to get a 4 inch cylinder, and 2 pounds to get a 7 inch cylinder.

Intro to mugs, vases, and bottles (collaring) use of the extruder for handles and hand-made handles.

Encourage refinement of the forms, the lip, and the foot of the pieces.

Continuing to develop their sketchbooks and planning.

Intermediate Level 1

By this time in the student's development, they should be able to throw easily, centring, opening and pulling. If there are students who are not at this level, the School encourages the Educators to have the student repeat level 3 of the Beginners Course.

In level one of the intermediate section, we encourage the educators to expand the student's horizons and challenge them to a new level.

The making of a variety of mugs forms, thrown and hand-built. Using different techniques for handles pulled and extruded and a discussion in form and function.

Move on to pouring vessels, pitchers, and handles.

Various techniques for using slips.

Hand building wall hanging.

Development of a critical eye, design, form, and function.

A display of their work and critique of their work at the end of the session.

Intermediate Level 2

The critique held at the last level should indicate to the educator the level of all of the students. Some at this point will be further along than others and should be encouraged with more challenging projects. Those who are not at this level should be encouraged to repeat Level on of Intermediate Classes.

The throwing of flat items such as plates, as well as larger bowls (up to 5 pounds) Teaching different shapes of plates and sizes,

Sculptural object.

Discussion of types of Clays and their use in Pottery making.

Sgraffito and wax resist decoration.

Photographing your work and keeping records.

The business of Pottery, selling, and marketing.

Studies in form and function.

Intermediate Level 3

This is the end of nearly two years of development for the student. We encourage the educator to continue to develop the student's knowledge and love for the craft of Pottery making. Challenging them and supporting them in the quest being Potters.

Level three continues to develop the skills of the students. Covered Vessels are the focus of this Intermediate level. Lidded vessels and the various types of lids will be discussed and practiced. The student shall produce three different kinds of lids for covered jars.

Development of form and function especially in regards to lidded vessels.

Further development in the firing of the kilns will be a focus in this course.

Platters and in particular Dinnerware will be explored. Training for consistency and production techniques.

Marketing will be discussed and explored. Preparing the student for the selling of their work.

Sketchbook work in design and function.

Advanced Level 1

Our students have been guided through a range of studies and projects with a view to bringing the students along in his or her development. Advanced studies is a time for the student to spread their wings and continue to deepen their commitment to Pottery making.

Self-directed studies are an important part of the development of the students of the school. This is a time for self-discovery with consultation with the educators.

Projects will continue to be set including the study of Teapots, both thrown and hand-built.

Kiln loading and firing of the kilns.

Glaze testing for surface enrichments and colour blending.

Studio design and working at home.

Advanced Level 2

Deepening the student's relationship with Pottery is the goal of Level Two. Finding their style and expression in form and function.

This advanced study level two is set to encourage the student's development in his or her own style of work. Projects are personally set by the students to encourage them to find their own personal expression and style.

A major show in the Schools gallery will be the goal of the student at this level. Self-expression and design will be encouraged.

Handbuilding Beginners

An introduction of the basics of hand-built pottery construction using coil, slab, and pinching techniques, and using those new skills to create functional or whimsical pieces, (sometimes one and the same!) that you will cherish.

You will learn to experiment with texture, creating your own texture-making tools, and have an introduction to slip trailing and carving. Basic glazing skills will be covered. Your educator will include a demo at the beginning of each class of a particular technique, with lots of tips and tricks to try yourself. Bring your sense of humour - this is going to be a fun class!

Handbuilding Intermediate

To build on the skills learned at the beginner level, with an increased focus on form and function. You will be encouraged to explore surface finish including more in-depth experimentation with textural elements, combined with glaze treatments for interesting results.

At the beginning of each class, Your educator will demonstrate a particular technique or the making of an object, that you can try during class. Or if you prefer, you can work on your own projects with the Educators guidance as required.