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)

No comments: