Warren MacKenzie: A Potter's Hands

Exhibition Gallery

(click to enlarge image)

The first 10,000 pots are difficult and then it gets a little bit easier.

-Warren MacKenzie

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Warren in the Studio

Mark Lambert (pottery instructor and director of Warren MacKenzie: A Potter's Hands) became aware of Warren MacKenzie and his work through David Lewis’ 1991 book “Warren MacKenzie: an American Potter” and the catalog from his 1989 retrospective.  There was and is something wonderful about the unpretentiousness of Warren’s pottery, nothing fancy; neither overly decorative nor fussy. After Mark and his family met Warren, Mark was impressed with the master potter's personality as well.  His kindness, warmth and generosity are infused into his work.

When Warren invited Mark's students to visit the studio in Stillwater, Minnesota, Mark was again impressed with MacKenzie's generosity and warmth.  He gave the students his full attention.  This was a rich experience.  Warren is a wonderful story-teller.  He sat at his wheel, sharing his life and engaging the students as he worked.  Watching Warren throw pots is a fascinating experience.  He’s such an efficient worker that the pots just seem to suddenly come to life in his hands.  The students were amazed by the seemingly effortless way that the clay responded to his touch; as if Warren breathed pots into existence.  They watched, transfixed, feeling that if they blinked, they would miss the moment.

Reflections on Warren

Happy, graceful, attentive to the present demands, and yet with a slightly faraway look in the eye, not only here today, but last year and next year, too. And the pots appear from this activity, and populate the boards and shelves in the workshop; rows of plates, or cups side by side like families, teapots and all their complexities joining themselves together, spout to pot, mug to shoulder, each one taking on its own life, its own similarity and difference from its neighbor. The endless variety and the eternal similarity; therein lies the secret which cannot be understood quickly, but MacKenzie understands.

John Reeve, Reflections on Warren,
1976 Rochester Art Center exhibition.

The handmade has special value because of the communication it establishes between the touch of the maker and the touch of the user.

Logo for the Minnesota State Arts Board
Logo linking to grant resource from the Clean Water & Land Legacy Amendment

This activity is made possible by the voters of Minnesota through a grant from the Minnesota State Arts Board, thanks to a legislative appropriation from the arts and cultural heritage fund.

Warren MacKenzie: A Potter's Hands
Mark Lambert, director/producer
Ramsey, Minnesota