Millard Mangrum

Clay / Natchitoches, LA

Artist Statement

For the Love of Clay
In January of 2012 I started the journey into ceramics. My training and lifelong occupations have been centered in Industry, Biology and Education. Entering the ceramics arena gave me a very therapeutic outlet. I credit my interest in clay and the ceramics art to Mr. Matt Deford, Head of the Art Department at Northwestern State University. He first offered a not for credit ceramics class which was one night a week in the winter of 2012. From that time on I have been drawn to the allure of mud. Pinch pots and coil building were first adventures and then on to the potter’s wheel. I find that my thoughts and spare time center on creating and fabricating new forms of clay application techniques. Primarily my interests are focused in incorporating material additions to clay bodies such as oatmeal, rice, grits and various seeds. Forms and textures which are out of the normal applications peak my interest and curiosity. Over the past two years I have been profoundly inspired by the works of George E. Ohr, the “Mad Potter of Biloxi”. His works have captured my imagination and driven me to work towards bending and folding forms. I am constantly on the hunt for new additions which give added variety and new perspectives to ceramic pieces. In addition to incorporation of organic items into clay, the quest for use of natural clay has also been high my agenda. The Natchitoches area has a mixed topography which offers some types of clay which work well for ceramic application. One type of clay found locally is called “chalk clay”. It is somewhat sandy in nature and can be amended to make it kiln worthy. It works well on the potter’s wheel and gives a somewhat grainy texture when fired to mid-range. As I continue to apply new techniques the variety of finished work is continuing to evolve. The use of traditional colorants such as metal oxides in combination with surface etching techniques has expand the horizon and opened many possibilities. My work with clay is a driving force which challenges me in so many ways. Clay has become my passion and I continually look for new avenues to explore.

Millard Mangrum


Included in Artist statement