NSU is hosting a ceramics class


Alaina Atnip

The class’s teaching assistant, Brandon Cagle, smiles as he shows the bowls made during class.

On Jan. 26, the office of Electronic and Continuing Education at Northwestern State University of Louisiana hosted a beginning ceramics class, “Playing in the Mud.”

Matthew DeFord, a professor of art in the Fine and Graphic Arts department, teaches the class. For 11 years, DeFord has helped students learn how to use a potter’s wheel, as well as hand building and slab work. He says that the students can choose what they want to focus on for the duration of the class.

DeFord claims that some students take the class because “it is the cheapest therapy.”

“Students attend this class to explore their skills and to relax,” DeFord said.

Brandon Cagle, a graduate assistant, assists DeFord with instructing the class. Cagle has been helping with the class for two years, and teaches students how to use the potter’s wheel.

Cagle noted that many students attend the class multiple times and that there is a wide variety of students who “want to make and be creative.”

The class is held in the ceramics lab of the New Fine Arts building at NSU. The lab has multiple kilns for students to use, as well as many pottery wheels and an array of different glazes.

Millard Mangrum, an assistant professor of biology, has attended the class since it began in 2012. Mangrum originally took the class to expand his skillset, but now he volunteers in assisting students in exploring clay art

“Biology and Clay have been driving forces in my life,” Mangum said. “The clay art has endless pathways to travel. Working with clay has been very rewarding, developing technique, and exploration. It is a skill set that develops over time and for me it has become a life-changing hobby.”

There are 18 students in the night class. The students have already begun to construct plates and other small sculptures with the clay. The class is a non-graded class, available to any and everyone and does not require any experience.

The class will be held every Thursday from 6 p.m. through 8 p.m. until March 2.