One of the course offerings from the Hood College Ceramic Arts graduate program is entitled Plates and Platters. The college catalog states “Plates and Platters is an in-depth study of the throwing and finishing of plates and large platters, including structural strength concepts for low open forms, methods for centering, a variety of throwing techniques, information on trimming, finishing, firing and composition.”
Plates and platters are a difficult form to create successfully, with many problems showing up in the final firing. Students learn to use a variety of procedures for throwing, shaping and trimming plates, platters and low open forms, with specific emphasis on problem solving and aesthetics. The focus of the one credit class is skill building and problem solving, which resulted in the creation of beautiful forms, which now line the shelves in the wheel studio.
Spring 2017 saw thirteen students enroll in the course with instructor Kristin Muller, an MFA graduate of Hood. Kristin is a wood fire potter who well versed in the creation of platters that survive wood fire.
One of the participants, Jafar Alhamar, expressed his desire to learn to create large platters due to the tradition of meals served from a large platter in the center of the table in his home country, Kuwait. Proof of his success in the class is the large platter he created.
Professor Muller adds, “It is always a pleasure to teach such a dedicated and focused group of students. The keys to successful skill building are developing excellent basic core skills through repetition upon which more advanced skills can developed. The program at Hood has clearly articulated techniques and concepts coupled with high-level design principles that are the foundation for every course. This allows students to build their skills incrementally and instructors to point out specific areas for improvement. The immersive 3-day course format facilitates this growth to happen rather quickly because everyone is focused for several days at a time. It was a joy to see so many examples of their success!”