Rivers of Clay

Spring 2022
Freshman - Sophomore
Class Size: 46
16 Credits per quarter
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Taught by

This program is co-taught by a ceramic artist and a river scientist. We will delve into the similarities between artistic and scientific processes of inquiry while learning about the practical applications of ceramic art and stream ecology. We will explore the complicated relationships between rivers and clay – how each can help to create and shape the other. We will learn about how rivers work, how to measure them to better understand them, and we will learn about the diverse organisms that call rivers home. As a working group, students will gain experiences in the science laboratory, learning the fundamentals working with microscopes, lab equipment, and a variety of stream ecology field measurements. Students will also gain some proficiency with quantitative reasoning and problem-solving. Students will also learn about ceramic art making practices, ceramic art history and learn to create pieces of ceramic art from start to finish. We will also learn the basics of clay and glaze chemistry: the physical and chemical structure of clay, glazes, and their mineral elements.

To support this learning, students will discuss assigned readings in seminars, will engage in active writing exercises, field research, and in two-dimensional and three-dimensional visual art work in ceramics and drawing. There will be several day trips and an overnight field trip to local environments to learn about natural history, examine and collect sources of clay, and to implement a variety of field methods in stream ecology. No prior art or science experience is necessary, but enthusiasm, curiosity, and a strong work ethic are required. Students should be prepared to dedicate at least 40 hours per week to class time and homework outside of class. This program is designed for students who are willing to work long hours on campus in the ceramics studio and science labs. Students who fully engage in the theory and practice of this program can expect to leave the program prepared for more intermediate studies in the visual arts and further study in the sciences.  


Spring 2022 Registration

Academic details

Preparatory For

art history, art education, biology, ecology, environmental studies, and visual arts

Maximum Enrollment
Class Standing

$175 for an overnight field trip to cover room and board 


In Person or Remote
In Person
Time Offered
Schedule Evergreen link
see Schedule Evergreen for detailed schedule