Hood College Ceramics Program has Passion and Potential

Unit4media recently created promotional materials for Hood College Ceramics Program in Fredrick Maryland that features a passionate ceramics department with expansive facilities, multitudes of electric and gas kilns, great instructors, a flexible distance learning curriculum and a rich visiting artist component. Unit4media was able to create some promotional media created to market the program at the upcoming national ceramic conference in Houston Texas, NCECA 2013.


Joyce Michaud Ceramic Director


unit4media, Hood College Ceramics

Joyce Michaud Working. Hood College Ceramics Director.

Joyce Michaud narrates one of the videos with fantastic information about the program she has developed over the years, which include some unique attributes. First she brings a technique unheard of by some potters, which is the East Asian coiling technique to create her signature bottles and vessels. Her program also relies on visiting artists coming to the classroom exhibiting their methods and skills for students, hobbyists, enthusiasts and professional alike. Included in the video are great ceramic artists such as Phil Rogers who visited Hood College for a workshop along with the sculptor Ian Gregory.

Ian Gregory Sculpture

Ian Gregory Sculpture

During their time there they not only awed students with their mastery of clay, they also built one of the gas kilns in the kiln yard. When asked about the kiln Phil said,”It was a long story and would get back to me on that.” I’m sure it was all kilns are labors of love but labors none the less.  Priscilla Mouritzen is another artist featured in the narrative

Priscilla Mouritzen Cup

Priscilla Mouritzen Cup

by Joyce who came to Hood College to display her techniques with wood fired porcelain. Pete Pinnell also graced the program as a visiting artist educating students with his infinite

Pete Pinnell Teapot

Pete Pinnell Teapot

understanding and experience of forms and glazes. He said, “I was a visiting artist for Hood College and found it to have a vibrant ceramics program with talented, engaged students.” One of his comments I found interested while corresponding with him were his Thoughts on Cups. Toni Ross is also featured in the video as a visiting artist to the program that happened to be exhibiting at the time in the

Toni Ross Ceramic Vessel

Toni Ross Ceramic Vessel

Whitaker Gallery. Her work recalls the influence of Michuad with the use of the East Asian coiling techniques to create these beautiful tall vessels. Yixing Teapot artists Zhengzhong Zhang and Hui Wang visited the Hood College Ceramic Program showcasing their techniques for creating the teapots for the students. Jason Bohnert was the visiting artist during my arrival to the campus. His work is heavily influenced by the Yixing Tea Culture due to his first hand experience studying and living in Yixing. I also know first hand that he can brew some really good Pu Er tea with the same rituals of the Chinese Tea Ceremony.

Hood College Ceramic Staff and Facilities

Phil Berneburg Stein

Staff and facilities were also a major feature of the video. Phil Berneburg assists the department by teaching classes on kiln firing and glaze formulation. Brad Birkhimer is another teacher in the program maintaining the kilns along with assisting student kiln firings. During my time there Brad escorted me around the campus and all of the facilities. He described the various work rooms, glaze labs, kiln areas and opportunities to create ceramic art in the program. Facilities were expansive, and well stocked. They have access to multiple large rooms to create work with plenty of wheels and tables to create and store their wares. I saw pug mills, spray booths, extruders, slab rollers and plenty of

Brad Birkhimer ceramic mugs

shelving. The glaze rooms were well stocked with materials for low and high fire composition. There were nine electric kilns of varying sizes and abilities along with three outdoor kilns.  The walls in between the wheel room and the hand building room were covered with posters after poster of visiting artists, exhibitions and program achievements which created some interesting shot opportunities.

The students working during the Jason Bohnert workshop seemed comfortable and at home in the studio when I found them not only working hard but heating up their food in the microwave between sessions.

Overall the program is unique and accommodating on many personal and professional levels.

The interviews with some of the students repeated what was already being described by Joyce Michaud. Hood College has distance learning programs with flexible classes for students seeking their MFA. The Graduate Certificate creates academic recognition and opportunity to be a special student in a program. Here the student concentrates on a body of work and learns the business of being an artist as Joyce put it so well. Undergraduates have access to an incredible campus that has a beautiful surface. The ceramics program offers exposure to unique techniques and traditions along with ample space to create. The program also has a great community of ceramic artists ready to welcome the next generation of clay artists.  Hood deserves a look from everyone interested or involved in clay.

  Images of Hood College Ceramics Program

Special thanks to all the artists that helped me on this project and allowed me to showcase their work and talents. Please feel free to leave your comments and input.

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