“This land was made for you and me.” —Woodie Guthrie
The recent passing of American master potter and educator, Warren MacKenzie created an opportunity to reflect on his vast influence, just as we did at the beginning of 2018 with Betty Woodman. To work in clay for 65 years seems impossible; to stay grounded through all the paradigm shifts and pay attention to the things that provide meaning in life. Clay itself hasn’t changed all that much, but everything around it is in constant flux. We live in a world filled with planned obsolescence and upgrades.
MacKenzie had his studio in Stillwater, Minnesota for over 50 years, settling there after World War II and embarking on a lifetime of studio pottery influenced by the philosophies of Bernard Leach, Soetsu Yanagi, and Shoji Hamada. Stillwater symbolizes a place and a state of mind, but it is also intertwined with a dialogue about the land itself. He made ceramics that were useful and financially accessible. In 2019, we should strive to understand what it means to be, like Warren, an ethical potter.
Each of the artists included in this homage to Warren MacKenzie all have direct or indirect lineages with him and their vessels and wares reflect his legacy. The artists included are: Karl Borgeson of River Falls, WI, Will Swanson and Janel Jacobson of Sunrise, MN, Ani Kasten of Shafer, MN, Mark Shapiro of Worthington, MA and Mike Helke of Stillwater, MN. Browsing the books in the gallery can provide insight into the many ideas that inspired Warren Mackenzie’s lifelong pursuit of ceramic art for the people.
We celebrate with the world the profound affect that Warren MacKenzie had in his long dedication to pottery.
— Dominique Ellis
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