Studio Projects

As part of this course we will be working in clay at C.R.E.T.A. Rome.  This is a chance to translate the experiences you are having in Rome into a work of art. Maya Lin, the artist who designed the Vietnam Memorial in Washington D.C. as well as many other monuments and works of art, once said, “I think with my hands.”  The studio is a place to quiet the mind and think with our hands.

Studio projects are worth 30 of the 100 pts that make up your total course grade.

Four Tiles

Create four tiles, each 4” or 6” in size, related by theme and style.

Grade rubric: 

–The tiles are related by theme and, at least in part, inspired by things seen in Rome or in the course readings and videos. 

–The tiles employ the use of relief.

–Attention the craft

–Use of pattern, repetition or narrative

Relief is a technique in which sculpted areas remain connected to a wall or solid background. The term relief is from the Latin verb relevo, to raise. The sculpture is essentially raised from the background and intended to be viewed from the front and sides but not the back. 

Plate or Cup

Create a plate or cup using the coil method or other hand-building method.  Add some relief work to the surface of the plate or cup. 

–The cup or plate is carefully crafted

–The piece employs the use of relief

Studio Timeline:

3 Jan. 2pm: introduction to the CRETA Rome studio & neighbourhood orientation

While walking around the neighbourhood, as well as other areas of Rome, have your sketchbook and camera handy so you can document things that catch your eye and might influence your work in the studio. Look through your photos at the end of each day with the goal of identifying patterns in the things you photograph.  This will start to give you a sense of your aesthetic sensibility. There is no shortage of inspiration in this city!

4 Jan. 9am: Studio work: CRETA Rome

-Introduction to studio materials

-Sketch tile designs and the design for cup or plate and draw cartoons for tiles. Here is a short paragraph on how Michelangelo transformed his sketches into the large paintings of the Sistine Chapel.

The drawing is a rare survivor from the many hundreds that Michelangelo made to prepare the ceiling. How did he transform these small-scale figures into their gigantic counterparts on the ceiling? The normal method of enlarging a drawing was to overlay it with a grid of squares, which allowed the design to be copied into larger squares on a cartoon. Michelangelo then transferred the figures to the wet plaster, either by cutting through the outlines on the paper with a knife, or by dusting charcoal through holes punctured in the cartoon.

“Studies for the Battle of Cascina and the Creation of Adam.” Khan Academy, www.khanacademy.org/humanities/renaissance-reformation/high-ren-florence-rome/michelangelo-studies-for-the-battle-of-cascina-and-the-creation-of-adam.

Though we will not be changing scale as Michelangelo did, we will use the drawn cartoons to prepare for the clay work.

7 Jan. 2:30pm: Studio work

Create tiles utilizing relief and pattern, repetition or story. Use your cartoon drawings as a guide for your design.

8 Jan. 2:30pm: Studio work: CRETA Rome

Build cup or plate using coil or other hand-building methods.

9 Jan. 9am: Studio work: CRETA Rome

Complete clay work on all four tiles.  Complete your cup or plate.

Jan. 11     Bisque firing

14 Jan. 9am: Studio work: CRETA Rome

Glaze tiles and plate or cup, glaze firing

16 Jan. 3pm

Pack up studio work.


Leave a Reply