A legend’s life ends but his pots live on

January 2, 2019—Contemporary Japanese ceramics like these, and the potters who made them, reflect a treasured heritage. A shard of that heritage found its way to Minnesota, onto the potter’s wheel of Warren MacKenzie, who died recently at age 94.

Held in museum collections—and personal cupboards—worldwide, MacKenzie’s “honest” pottery celebrated the human touch—of both potter and user. For more than 50 years, his work embodied the philosophy of the mingei (Japanese/Korean folkcraft) tradition, assigning the beauty of an object to its utility. He scorned collectors who profited from his resolutely affordable pots (so much so, for a time he stopped signing them). For MacKenzie, a bowl or plate was to be well used and well loved. As they are, all around the world.

Image credit: Mark Luinenburg, Star Tribune file

News source: Alicia Eler, “World-famous Minnesota potter Warren MacKenzie dies at 94,” Star Tribune, December 31, 2018