Surface Decoration: Personalizing Your Work

the artist at work
butter dish
carved plate
 three vessels

Date: June 19-23, 2023 (Summer)
Medium: Ceramics
Instructor: David MacDonald (email)
Skill Level: All Skill Levels

The “Leatherhard Stage” of the ceramic process is a stage that offers a multitude opportunities to personalize your ceramic forms through surface decoration. This workshop will introduce a variety of decorative techniques designed to be executed during the leatherhard stage of drying. You will be introduced to a variety of carving techniques, and the use of stamps, as well as a variety of ways to use engobes (slips) for decorative effect. The aim of the experience is to open up possibilities to make your work more expressive and uniquely personal.

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Undergraduate Credit

Graduate Credit

Tuition does not cover the cost of supplies and materials. Many of the workshops require you to bring specific materials or tools with you.

Supply List

Supplies are subject to change. A final list will be emailed to each participant before the first day of class.

Estimated cost for items to purchase and bring: $50


Bring any tools that you regularly use to create your work.
2. Xiem Applicator Kit (SKU-127-310) $18.65*
3. Kemper Mini-ribbon Tool Set (SKU-090-001) $13.55*
4. Assorted Paint Brushes: - Bamboo 3 brush (SKU: C-070-032)$7.42* - Chinese style multi-stem hake brush (SKU:C070-032)$2.06* - Chinese style multi-stem hake brush (SKU:C070-033) $4.17*
5. Hair-dryer to speed up drying (optional)
*These items are available from: Bailey Ceramic Supply 62-68 Ten Broeck Avenue Kingston, NY 12401 1 800 431 60667

Studio Fee

All workshops have a studio fee. Fees are collected at the end of the workshop and payable by check or credit card. MU no longer accepts cash.

Estimated studio fee for this workshop: $TBD*

*The final cost may vary depending on the actual cost of materials at the time of the workshop. It is possible for fees to be less or greater than the range indicated depending upon individual student usage.

Studio supply fees are an estimate and can be subject to change due to supply chain issues or transportation cost.

About the Instructor

A native of New Jersey, Professor David MacDonald received his undergraduate degree from Hampton University, where he studied under the noted African American ceramic artist Joseph Gilliard. After receiving his Master of Fine Arts degree at the University of Michigan in 1971, he joined the faculty of the School of Art and Design at Syracuse University.

Professor MacDonald’s creative work is mostly inspired by his investigation of his African heritage. Looking at a variety of design sources in the vast creative traditions of the African continent; Professor MacDonald draws much of his inspiration from the myriad examples of surface decoration that are manifested in the many ethnic groups of sub-Saharan Africa (such as pottery decoration, textiles, body decoration and architectural decoration).

Professor MacDonald’s work is represented in many public and private collections throughout the nation. His work has also been featured in several ceramic textbooks and magazines; and he has been featured in several nationally televised TV programs such as HGTV's "Modern Masters" and PBS's "Craftsmen's Legacy". After retiring from Syracuse University in 2008, he was awarded Emeritus Professor status; and in 2011 he was given the Excellent in Teaching Award from The National Conference for Education in the Ceramic Arts. Since his retirement, he has been active lecturing across the country and working in his studio.