Warren MacKenzie: A Potter's Hands

A good pot rewards
the user over time
with a sense of
continuous revelation.

What makes it a MacKenzie?


A family of glazes of Japanese origins. A thick white glaze made from nearly one hundred percent feldspar. It can pinhole and crawl a great deal. Ranges in color from soft white to pink to dark orange or iron red. Color is greatly affected by the underlying clay body. White stoneware and porcelain give lustrous pinks to light orange. Iron-bearing clays deepen the color dramatically. Iron washes brushed onto the pot’s surface will burn through the glaze and leave a strong pattern. Shinos sometimes have charcoal-gray spotting, known as “carbon trap”, the trapping of carbon in the glaze during the firing process.


Stoneware glaze of Chinese origins made of feldspar, limestone, and stained with iron oxide. Usually shiny glazes that range from black to dark brown to dark yellow. The more quickly a piece is cooled, the blacker the glaze will be. During their heating and cooling, several factors influence the formation of iron crystals within the glaze. A long firing process and a clay which is also heavily infused with iron increase the opportunity for iron from the clay to be drawn into the glaze. While the glaze is molten, iron can migrate within the glaze to form surface crystals, as in the “oil spot” glaze, or remain in solution deeper within the glaze for a rich glossy color.


A family of transparent glazes with Korean origins, The pronounced cracks in the glaze are part of the beauty.  Pieces made with it are often referred to as “celadons.” The most famous shades range in color from a very pale green to deep intense green, often meaning to mimic the green shades of jade. MacKenzie also produces an amber celadon with the same shade ranges as the green.  The color is produced by iron oxide in the glaze recipe or clay body.


1920s Korean/Japanese crafts movement promoting simple, beautiful, functional wares for everyday use, from clay, cotton, bast fibres, wood, metal and bamboo. It embraces and finds beauty in utilitarian objects.  MacKenzie means for his pottery to be used every day in ordinary ways, to serve a function in the life of the user.

"MacKenzie’s work has an identifiable personal style that draws from Asian, European, and American traditions in ceramics. He has always concentrated on a basic repertory that includes teapots, vases, bowls, cups, plates, and platters. And he has always favored several basic glazes, among them dark brown tenmoku, a forest green, a mustard yellow, and shino, which can produce a range of shadings from white to salmon.

(Robert Silberman, "Warren MacKenzie", Warren MacKenzie: A Potter’s Hands 2014 Exhibition Catalog)

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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