WBU professor displaying "functional" side of artwork at library 

Release Date: January 9, 2009    

PLAINVIEW – Art is often used for decoration, beautification and enjoyment by connoisseurs. But one form of artwork preferred by Mark Hilliard has a more functional aspect to it.

A collection of Hilliard’s functional pottery is on display at the Unger Memorial Library in Plainview through January. Along with a few books from Unger on pottery and glazing, the collection shows the more practical side that artwork can take.

Hilliard is in his seventh year as assistant professor of art and art education at Wayland Baptist University and has many years of ceramics under his belt. While some of his work takes on a more artistic bent – an exhibit at Wayland’s Abraham Art Gallery last year dealt with agricultural and conservation themes using clay – Hilliard has also created some collections of dinnerware and other pieces that combine his artistic talent with functional use.

“I think the foundation (for clay) is learning functional pottery. That’s where the discipline to make art comes from,” he said. “It involves lots of repetition and guidelines and that helps you.”


Hilliard was trained as a functional potter at McMurry University and says his artwork now even reflects that background. He said the more sculptural aspect has only crept into his work in the past few years as he completed his Master of Arts at West Texas A&M University and the Master of Fine Arts at Texas Tech University two years ago.

The functional pottery was part of Hilliard’s income for several years while he also farmed full-time in Edmonson, before he entered the education field eight years ago as an instructor at Wayland.

Some of the work on exhibit was created at the Wayland art department’s ceramics studio, while the majority was done in Hilliard’s private studio on the remnants of C.C. Slaughter’s Runningwater Ranch, which he owns and operates. The ranch sits on the Runningwater Draw five miles west of Edmonson.