The ten-month Professional Potter advanced diploma is designed for individuals who want to establish their own workshop based business and make a living as a practicing professional potter. The program allows students to progressively develop their design and production skills, while integrating the technical knowledge of clays, glazes, and firing processes. Students also learn how to analyze and evaluate their design and process choices in order to optimize productivity, produce work of quality and character, develop a marketing plan for the work, and more.
Students who already have a workshop and want to develop their work will have the opportunity to tailor their program learning towards that goal. Others will find that the program provides both the exploration, flexibility, and support needed to narrow down their interests and clearly define their business direction.
During the first term, students are immersed in studio practice. A series of short, intensive courses allow students to progressively master fundamental to advanced elements of Throwing for Production, Design and Practice, Clay Technology, Surface Enrichment techniques, Kilns and Firing technology, Mold Making, and Hand-building Techniques for Production. In this term students will focus on technical skills, best practices, and defining their production preferences and business direction.
In the second term, students will continue to develop their design, making processes, and technical skills, and also begin producing work aimed for the market and portfolio development. Business courses provide a detailed range of business skills specific to planning, maintaining, and marketing a pottery business. Topics include market research, developing a business plan, legal issues, bookkeeping and accounting procedures, and marketing strategy as they apply to a pottery business. A digital media course also gives students enough digital photography and computer skills to develop, manage and maintain their own website.
In FIN-348 Kilns and Firing technology IV, a highlight of the second term, students will spend three days on Denman Island, BC, firing a Tozan-style Anagama wood-fired kiln, one of only three in existence in North America.
Finally, students will complete a mandatory two-month practicum with two options:
- An approved internship with a practicing professional potter, which will be structured as either volunteer or paid and give the student invaluable experience.
- Or, a two-month residency at the Medalta International Residency Program in Medicine Hat, Alberta where students will come into contact with other aspiring and established potters. Students taking this option would have the opportunity to begin developing their work and testing out markets. Residency fees may apply.