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MAD Summer Workshop:Making a Ceramic Water Filter
Museum of Arts + Design
New York, NY
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MAD Summer Workshop:Making a Ceramic Water Filter
NOTE: This workshop takes place from July 19-22 & July 25

This five-day workshop will inspire environmental awareness and water sustainability, in creating water filter using ceramics, a wonderful sustainable material. Participants will build a ceramic water filtration system with the potential to clean and remove bacteria and other pollutants from water. They will participate in the special preparation of clay, learning how to building ceramics, and decorating the wares using under-glazes and texture techniques. Join this workshop and come away with a deeper understanding of the function, science and art of clay and ceramics in our daily lives.
Daily Project Activities:

Day 1:  Students will begin with a spirited dialogue about the use of clay and ceramics in their lives, and then discuss the origins of clay. They will make simple pinch pots as an exercise in the mechanics of clay  to gain a clearer understanding of the nature and abilities of the material. Participants will learn to prepare clay by hand as they mix sawdust into the clay body, which is essential for making the ceramic filters. In the process students will gain a first hand knowledge of what the material is like in an unprepared state, what it takes to make it workable and the importance of a clean and contamination free environment from which we can harvest clay for creating works of art and useful objects.
Day 2: The importance of water in clay and glazes is emphasized. Students will learn about different clay preparations for specific projects, the necessity of clay recycling, and proper kneading and wedging. Students may conduct some independent research into traditional uses of clay and ceramics. The production and importance of the ceramic water filter will be explained and discussed further. How can it be used? What are its benefits? Who can benefit from such an item? How many workshop participants use water filters at home now or in the past? After watching demonstrations by their instructor, students will learn coiling and slab building methods. They will begin to create their projects by drawing a profile outline of the forms they want to create, and then cutting the profile design of their shapes using scissors and paper. Participants will start building projects based on their design cutouts.

Day 3: The group will continue to build their projects (2 forms, filter and optional base) with the hope of finishing them, adding surface design and texture.
Day 4: Students will prepare and apply traditional finishing techniques like slip and under glaze painting and surface burnishing before bisque firing. This process teaches natural and effective ways of surface decoration while avoiding expensive or toxic oxides that may end up causing environmental contamination. Burnishing, which is commonly used in traditional ceramic making, adds a shiny and smooth finish to the porous surface of clay, which allows for easier cleaning and better retention of liquids.
Day 5:  Students will learn glaze application as the final step in completing their project. We will discuss traditional approaches and explore advances in glaze technology, which have progressed from toxic lead based glazes, to food-safe mineral clay based glazes which can be used to eat and drink from. A pre-made ceramic filter will be tested to demonstrate functionality. An evaluation will be done to determine how much the participants are taking away from workshop.


Museum of Arts + Design
2 Columbus Circle
New York, NY 10019
United States



Kid Friendly: Yes!
Dog Friendly: No
Non-Smoking: Yes!
Wheelchair Accessible: Yes!


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