Ceramic Portraiture from the Inside Out – Our Head as a Vessel


Start Date





North 281

End Date


Meeting Day




In this course we enter the complex world of subtle relationships found within three dimensional portraiture, developing an anatomical and observational understanding of the human head and bust. Students explore ceramic portraiture experientially using the primitive technique of coil building the head and shoulders as a vessel, the surface of which is pushed in from the outside and out from the inside simultaneously, creating the concavities and convexities of the human face – a breathing in and a breathing out so to speak. 

The work is guided by basic proportions of the head as it is in classical portraiture. Attention is first given to the prototypical shape of the rounded head and the tilted neck followed by the anatomical details of facial contours, ears, nose, mouth, hair, eyebrows, etc.. All of the varying nuances that bring out the bust’s character and story. We will study human physiognomy, structural integrity, and exercise our artistic capacity to impart life and expression. students will have created several sculptural portraits and self-portraits, and a life-size ceramic bust.

Designed for students of all levels, no previous ceramic experience is necessary.


Clay tools of varying sizes and kinds
Clay carving tools of varying sizes and kinds
Small sponges – Round sponges and Elephant Ear sponges are great
Clear 12-18” Ruler
Drawing Pencil

*Bonus: You will carve your own wooden ceramic tools on an as needed basis!

Recommended: Short nails and clothes you do not mind getting dirty!

We urge you, if you are able, to be fully up-to-date on vaccinations, including boosters. Available vaccination sites can be found here.

No class February 19th, Presidents Day.

Kristin Powers is a sculptural installation artist focused on creating spaces while leaving room. for reflection. Working with multiple mediums, lens-based media, and sound, Powers explores an ever-evolving iterative landscape, looking for resonant frequencies where many feel. Powers holds a BFA in Ceramics from Rhode Island School of Design, and an MFA in Sculpture from … Read more