Life In Clay: Mixed Media Artist, Harold W. Miller

Wind figure by Harold W Miller

I’m a fan of Harold Miller, a contemporary sculptor, who works in mixed media with a focus on clay and ceramics. His largest works are staged on 3D surrounds that have more in common with a theatre set than a traditional frame. Heads and figures, often embellished with tin or jewellery, emerge from textural backgrounds made from clay, stone and/or beautifully stained driftwood.

These two smaller figures show Harold’s technique and storytelling ability. The figures look self-contained, but their silence is lyrical. The man above is one in a series of wind figures wearing stylised, windswept cloaks. It’s almost impossible for the viewer not to imagine the story of his life, as if the clay could have its own history.

Woman by Harold W Miller

But when I first saw Harold’s work exhibited at Chimneyville Crafts Festival, it was this lady, captured in prayer, that I admired most. Her slim frame seems vulnerable and she is rapt in her faith. Though she is made of clay, she overflows with humanity. I can’t tell you her story, but I seem to feel the strength of her heart.

Harold is a fellow of the Craftsmen’s Guild of Mississippi and often works to private commission. The Guild is a talented group of men and women, many of whom make the line between Fine Art and Craftsmanship seem very slim indeed. I was sorry not to see Harold exhibiting at Chimneyville in 2017. I hope he’ll soon be back.

22 Replies to “Life In Clay: Mixed Media Artist, Harold W. Miller”

  1. I loved these sculptures. My husband was an amateur sculptor in clay and plaster and we always looked for sculptors when we were on holiday. These are lovely.

    1. It must be wonderful to be able to deftly handle clay. I imagine it being relaxing and pleasurable, compared to stone which resists, although I am sure things won’t always go to plan. 🙂

    1. These pieces made me think about the idea that art can be prosaic (it shows things as they are and may inspire emotion but doesn’t set out to express it) or lyrical (created with emotion/conveying emotion). Harold seems to fit the latter category perfectly.

    1. From me too! I’m fascinated by his work and the powerful faces he creates. They are rooted in history, but timeless.

  2. Your re-blog yesterday quoted someone who said that photography helps her talk. I’ve been thinking about that ever since I read it. And now comes this reflection from you about the stories in these figures. Words seem so limited sometimes and a silent image so eloquent. Lots to think about. Again, thanks.

    1. I thought about adding more words but the best art makes a direct relationship with anyone who sees it. I could have tried to explain how these figures speak to me, but I would just be making myself an intermediary where none is needed.

  3. Thanks for showing these. I particularly find that lady to be full of life and emotion. To be able to impart such emotion to a lump of clay is an amazing talent.

    1. It is. Not all craftspeople or artists welcome photographers, but Harold was happy for me to take some pictures, perhaps because he does not fear imitation. Anyone with the skill to copy him would not need to be derivative.

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