Friday, June 08, 2018

On the Potter's Wheel: Warren MacKenzie Studio Visit

I heard the name Warren MacKenzie for the first time five years back as a beginner in studio pottery.

A famous North American Craft potter known to bring the Japanese 'Mingei' folk art style of pottery to Minnesota.

I was super excited when I had an opportunity to visit the legendary potter in his studio in Stillwater, Minnesota.
Warren Mackenzie Studio with the traditional kick wheels

Warren demonstrates the making of a pot.

He was born in 1924 in Illinois, US. At the age of 94 he is a personification of humor, continues to throw pots in his studio with his assistants and narrates wonderful stories from his long life as a potter.
Potter's tools

Warren and his first wife Alix Mackenzie studied with Bernard Leach in Britain during 1949-1952
His functional 'everyday' pots are deeply influenced by oriental aesthetics of Shoji Hamada

Old wooden combs and wheels used to alter and surface decorate the pots.

The pots that he demonstrated for us.

Warren's stamps on wet clay.

He has always kept the prices of his pots low as his goal was to make everyday functional pots that people can use in their daily life. With fame, his work also became collectors' items hence became expensive pieces. At one point he stopped signing his pots for that purpose.

Studio amongst nature in rural Minnesota.

Greenware drying in the studio.

Warren MacKenzie's unique clay made by Continental Clay especially for him.

Shoji Hamada poster on the studio wall.

Glazing tools

Glazing studio with bisque ware.

Warren is extremely forthcoming in sharing his techniques and clay recipe. It's written on his studio wall for anyone to learn!

One of the gas kilns.

Warren Mackenzie was also a teacher at the University of Minnesota and continues to share his knowledge of pottery even today at his studio.

Sharing few frames of glazed pottery that were up for sale at his studio. Some made by him and some by his talented assistants.

Sharing a hearty laugh with Warren.

It was an honor and once in a lifetime opportunity to visit Mr. Warren Mackenzie in his studio and see him throw pots and share his knowledge with us.

Hope all of you liked this post that I completely enjoyed making for you all!

( Images by Arch and are copyrighted. Please do not use without permission)

Friday, May 04, 2018

Sparrow Cafe | South Minneapolis

It's taken me more than a year to get here.
Not just to be posting here in my creative space, my blog Rang Decor but to reach this space in my heart to slow down and get back to storytelling through blogging.

So, lets get the ball rolling with a feature on Sparrow Cafe.

One sunny winter morning Heidi Van Heel, a longtime blogger friend and I met over a cup of chai in this quaint little cafe in South Minneapolis.

The name itself conjures up images of chirpy little birds fluttering around. Aroma of freshly brewed coffee, delightful bird art and a smiling face welcomed me.

(These images I had to steal from my Insta-stories as I seem to have deleted the original ones! I promised myself to start carrying my dSLR camera again)

Sparrow Cafe serves fair-trade coffee and tea sourced sustainably by the owners Sheila & Jasper.
They envisaged a beautiful space where people could enjoy local artisanal baked goods and great beverages.
A great space to catch up with friends, work on your laptop with a cup of coffee or just sit and watch the world go by.

Gorgeous 300 square foot mural inspired by sparrows by local artists Broken Crow

The vibe is artistic and that of a welcoming neighborhood cafe!

 Little sparrows everywhere:-)

Loved the ceiling crown molding and the birds stenciled art!

Hope you liked this feature on local Minneapolis cafe interiors.

(Images by Arch and are copyrighted. Please do not use without permission)