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harleyweigle

Ceramics Mfa Thesis Statments

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Hello Everyone,

 

At the campus I currently attend I work with multiple graduate students that come from different areas of the college (I, myself, am a ceramics major) . Each and everyone one of them have a thesis statement that they are currently working on for their studies whether it be to do with biology, chemistry, or etc. 

 

As someone who would like to the pursue the possibilities of continuing my education in ceramics by attending a graduate program; my question is do Ceramic graduate students also create a thesis question? If so, have any of you created a thesis when you went to obtain you MFA, and if you wouldn't mind sharing what was your thesis when you went to graduate school?

 

 

Thanks,

 

Harley

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I attended Graduate school from 1970-72, 1973-74. I took a year off and worked in Boston and upstate New York. My thesis project was on Macro Crystalline glazes and I researched in the library at U of Ill., at the time the largest University library in the US.and the smaller research library in the UI School of Ceramic Engineering where hand written documents, kiln logs, etc were kept. I was a student at Southern Illinois University-Carbondale.I used much of the information from 1900-1915 which covered development of crystalline glazes, holding temps, oxides, etc. as well as history of Adelaide Robineau and Tactile Doat when they were both teaching at the Women's University in St.Louis.

My MFA Thesis and the resulting exhibition that reflected the culmination of that research were what was required for the MFA degree.

Marcia

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Marcia:

Sorta weird reading your history: I have been in SIU-C and SIU-E many times. Have been to and read many papers that came out of Campaign/Urbana. I have walked through and read papers at the University Museum, which use to be the University Pottery 1904-1917. The pottery industry goes through major turning points every 50-60 years it seems from my reading of its history. I really do believe we are at that threshold of yet more major changes.Doat, Tullity and a few others revolutionized pottery from 1870's to 1910's. Herbert Sanders and Bernard Leach changed everything again in the 50's and 60's. They used the Wendt scale of 1922 to determine particle sizes and distribution.  Read an article the other day about magnet "milling": passing clays and other materials over giant magnets programmed to certain voltages to pull out iron and other heavy materials.  Now technology knows in exact terms particle sizes, compositions, and distributions. Industry has capitalized on this knowledge:but I suspect it is coming to local pottery house near you---soon.

Nerd

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Marcia:

Actually I do recall reading an article about that: but it has been many years back. If memory serves: he was placing magnets around the exterior of the kiln in order to "arrange" metal oxides. I also recall a crystalline friend who was talking about that: I think he even played with it himself. In theory, I suppose it is possible if iron and copper are used in high percentages. I actually did a test based on a variation of that: using magnetite in the glaze. Magnets lose their polarity at a certain temp: but magnetite keeps in polarity (orbital) even at high temps. I put it on one corner of the test piece, and yes it did pull the crystals towards it, and arranged them in a stacking order (for lack of better terms.)

Nerd

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This discussion triggered a bunch of memories and forced me to make a couple of comments.

 

I, too,was attending the U of Ill during the some of the same years as Marcia.  A different department, however, working on my PhD in chemistry.  I won't even elaborate on my thesis topic other than to mention we used a new technology involving magnetism that has since developed into what we now call MRI (the magnetic imaging commonly done in medicine).  It wasn't until years later that I began my graduate studies in Ceramics.  I  came to the program with no formal background in art and only a few undergraduate courses in clay. My professor was interested in my Chemistry background as he was clueless regarding chemistry and was trying to develop a clay body with some specific properties.  My chemistry background allowed me to do all the calculations he needed, but I never explained to him that I was an Organic Chemist and every material I had experience with was burned or destroyed by 450 degrees.  

 

I recall vividly my research proposal to my ceramic professor.  I wanted to assemble large forms out of some basic building blocks.  I wrote probably six pages of descriptions, ranging from examples of molecular structures of some common polymers and their basic units to DNA and the nucleic acids that make up the double helix chain.

 

After plodding through my description and proposal, my professor took his red pen, put an X through all I had written and put the words "repetitive design in ceramics" across the front page.  All my efforts reduced to just 4 words!  

 

It was a good lesson in simplification and distilling ones ideas to the max.

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