Glass & Ceramic Design

Ceramic is a broad term that includes a variety of materials like porcelain and terracotta. One of the most ancient industries on the planet, ceramics are created from clay that is mixed with water, shaped and fired at high temperatures. Ceramics designers (a.k.a. ceramicists) work with clay, porcelain, bone china and stoneware to design and create pottery items, sculptures, homeware (i.e. tiles and flooring), tableware and cookware. These artists don’t just make these pieces, however; they also glaze, paint and decorate the finished products.

A glass designer a.k.a Glass Blower works with glass to render it usable for various industries and for aesthetic purposes. They mould glasses to make glassware, stemware, and giftware, crafted glass windows, ornate items, glass instruments in laboratories and factories, and work with individual artists in their design studios.


Glass & Ceramic Design at a Glance

Evolution in Ceramics Design
  • Ceramics became part of the human existence on a regular basis as early as 24000 BC in the form of small figurines. Tiles and functional pottery vessels for food and water storage followed.
  • When the industrial revolution arrived, we were able to begin manufacturing ceramics in large quantities.
  • Fast forward to today and you can find ceramics throughout your home. From dishes to decorative pieces to flowerpots and lamps, ceramic is a natural material that appeals to the senses.

Evolution in Glass Design
  • The studio glass movement began in America during the 1960s and quickly spread around the world. While glass artists opened independent studios and experimented with new techniques in glass blowing, casting and glass carving, museums worldwide began to look at glass blowing as a serious art form.
  • The studio glass movement continues to evolve today and no doubt will continue to do so as newer technology emerges.
  • The work of Dale Chihuly is a well-known example of a team of glass artists working together.
  • Glass blowing has come a long way from those secretive beginnings as studio glass communities continue to share technology and ideas.

Ceramics & Glass designers tend to be employed by manufacturers of ceramic/glass products or work independently as freelancers.

  • Apart from carrying out hands-on ceramics design and creation activities, these guys research designs and new materials, build and promote a creative and vibrant portfolio and liaise with clients, other craftsmen, museums and galleries.
  • In order to drum up trade for their creations, they display their work at craft fairs, exhibitions and trade shows.
  • Some ceramics designers aren’t involved in the production process and therefore focus all their efforts on design. If this is the case, they’ll spend their entire professional life drawing and building scale models.
  • Glass Designers mould glasses to make glassware, stemware, and giftware, crafted glass windows, ornate items, glass instruments in laboratories and factories and work with individual artists in their design studios.
  • They can also work in museums and historic places to restore back age-old glassworks which can be of extreme importance to the national heritage of any country.
  • They are required to work with baking kilns, blowers, high temperature furnaces and art tools like stencils, engraving tools and so on.

Academic qualifications in art, design or ceramics tend to be the basic requirements for salaried ceramics designers, along with natural talent, creativity and imagination.

A professionally-presented design portfolio and evidence of previous experience through internships or participation in contests, art shows or craft fairs can provide an extra edge to a budding designer’s CV.

About Ceramic & Glass Design Schools

Sr No. College/Institute Location Certificate/Degree Offered Seats/Fees
1. NID Gandhinagar B.Des in Ceramic & Glass Design M.Des in Ceramic & Glass Design
2. IIT (Banaras Hindu University) Varanasi B.Tech. in Ceramic Engineering M.Tech. in Ceramic Engineering
3. Apeejay Institute of Design (AID) Delhi Certification in Ceramic Design (1 year) INR 52,000
4. Government College of Engineering & Ceramic Technology Kolkata B. Tech in Ceramic Technology (4 yrs.) M. Tech in Ceramic Technology (2 yrs.) Ph.D
5. Aditya College of Design Studies Mumbai Foundation Course in Ceramic Designing and Pottery (1 year)
6. University of Visva-bharati Santiniketan Design (Ceramic & Glass) Design (Ceramic & Glass)

Ceramic & Glass Design Courses covers the following :

  • The curriculum of the course is designed to provide a thorough knowledge about the structure, colour, composition, ergonomics, and the understanding of the core materials.
  • Various projects are given to the students in different semesters to ensure their functional and creative growth.
  • The students are provided exposure to the craft industry and get to learn about the production techniques and the challenges that the real working environments face.
  • Both the materials (ceramics and glass) become the major part of students’ learnings. They get to see the industries that manufacture these two materials. This is to cultivate the technical skills and knowledge along with the creative abilities of the students.

About the Work Industry/Job Market

As a designer working for a large company in industry you will be responsible for creating designs for mass production and may carry out the following activities :

  • Interpreting and working on a design brief, (which includes the materials to be used, e.g. bone china, porcelain, earthenware or stoneware, and the amount of money available) to design a new collection
  • Creating designs and liaising with clients to ensure the brief is met
  • Overseeing production to ensure the brief is met
  • Deciding on decorative techniques and glazes
  • Conducting market research to find out what competitors are producing and how well existing lines are doing.

Tasks for self-employed designers, or for those working for small companies, are likely to include :

  • Designing and producing one-off objects
  • Selecting materials appropriate to the design
  • Shaping clay by hand, thrown on a wheel or in a mould
  • Loading kilns, glazing, decorating and firing products
  • Preparing work for sale and exhibition
  • Selling products directly from a studio, market stalls or crafts fairs, online, by mail order or through specialist craft shops and galleries
  • Developing clear artistic objectives and a business plan
  • Attending appropriate courses to learn new techniques and to keep up to date with current trends
  • Teaching in further education and running community workshops

Self-employed designers also need to promote their work to generate business. Typical responsibilities here include :

  • Networking to connect with buyers and suppliers in their specialist market
  • Researching trends, markets and prices by visiting craft exhibitions
  • Demonstrating skills at craft fairs and exhibitions
  • Photographing designs for a portfolio, for websites and for catalogues to promote their work
  • Learning appropriate software skills to develop publicity materials and websites
  • Collaborating with other designers in a shared studio, joint exhibition, cooperative, craft guild or artists' organisation
  • Entering competitions and applying for funding

As trends come and go and materials fall in and out of favor, one material that never seems to go out of style is ceramic.

  • While they may not always be front and center, ceramic home accessories can always find a place in every room, from the kitchen to the bedroom. Whether it’s in a practical form or decorative one, this classic material’s versatility has something to offer for everyone.
  • In 2017, ceramics will be moving front and center again, especially in the form of home décor. Whether you want to add an earthy natural vibe to your room or an artisanal one, ceramic vases, pots, lamps, tableware and decorative objects will provide just the right look.

The majority of ceramicists/glass designers work on a freelance basis and only a small amount work as salaried designers. Their earnings can fluctuate and are entirely dependent on the individual maker’s network, reputation, level of experience and client base.

Following are the Best Companies / Studios in India for Glass/Clay Design :

  • Art-n-Glass Inc
  • Satyam Gartex
  • Monkey Business
  • Ochre Studio
  • Clay Fingers
  • Rain & Peacock
  • Sonia’s Glass Studio

Associations to Follow :

  • Natalie Weinberger Ceramics
  • Elephant Ceramics
  • BTW Ceramics
  • Curators of Clay

Personalities to Follow :

  • Dale Chihuly
  • Aman Khanna
  • Rahul Kumar
  • Sonia Sareen
  • Mudita Bhandari
  • Madhvi Subrahmanian
  • Adil Writer

Links to Follow :