Potter documentary premieres Sept. 5 at Anoka-Ramsey

With the help of a $49,713 Minnesota State Arts Board grant and donations from Northern Clay Center, Continental Clay and the college foundation, Anoka-Ramsey Community College has captured renowned potter Warren MacKenzie at work in his studio in a documentary titled, “Warren MacKenzie: A Potter’s Hands.”

A documentary titled, “Warren MacKenzie: A Potter’s Hands” will premiere at Anoka-Ramsey Community College Sept. 5 and then travel to Duluth, Mankato, Minneapolis and Moorhead. Photo courtesy of Anoka-Ramsey Community College

A documentary titled, “Warren MacKenzie: A Potter’s Hands” will premiere at Anoka-Ramsey Community College Sept. 5 and then travel to Duluth, Mankato, Minneapolis and Moorhead. Photo courtesy of Anoka-Ramsey Community College

The documentary, premiering Sept. 5 at Anoka-Ramsey Community College, presents a visual window into the life work of this potter who, at 89, continues to remain active in his studio. This documentary follows the potter through his complete firing cycle and captures MacKenzie sharing his own stories.

“It has been a wonderful experience documenting Warren in his studio,” said Mark Lambert, member of the college art faculty and documentary director. “Witnessing his hands move life into the clay is captivating and Warren is such a warm and giving individual. The film crew also worked so well together, each person filling an important role and doing a remarkable job.”

The documentary premieres at Anoka-Ramsey Community College 7 p.m. Thursday, Sept. 5 in the Coon Rapids Campus Performing Art Center (11200 Mississippi Blvd. NW, Coon Rapids).

From there the documentary will travel to the Zeitgeist Theater in Duluth (Sept. 20), the University of Minnesota’s Regis Center for Art’s Influx Room (Oct. 10), Minnesota State University Mankato Armstrong Hall 102 (Oct. 16) and Minnesota State University Moorhead (Oct. 24).

For more information contact Mark.Lambert@anokaramsey.edu or call 763-433-1307.

More about MacKenzie

MacKenzie was born in 1924 in Kansas City, Mo., and spent his formative years in Wilmette, Ill., a Chicago suburb. After serving in the Army during World War II, he returned from Japan and attended The Art Institute of Chicago.

He apprenticed with English potter Bernard Leach from 1949-1952. In 1953, he and his wife purchased a farm near Stillwater and constructed a studio where he continues to work today.

Over his 60-plus year career, MacKenzie’s simple, wheel-thrown functional pottery, heavily influenced by Korean folk pottery, has been internationally recognized.

According to the Smithsonian Institution, MacKenzie is credited with bringing to Minnesota the Japanese “Mingei” style of pottery – “handcrafted art for ordinary people.” He joined the University of Minnesota-Twin Cities art faculty in 1952 and remains a professor emeritus today.

MacKenzie has always represented his work as everyday pottery for everyday people at an affordable price, reinforcing the functionality of his pieces, yet, his work continues to be highly valued and prized for its simple elegance and artistic value.

This documentary showcases his artistic process, provides a view into the creation of the art form and imparts to Minnesotans the artistic value of pottery, as well as its historic and cultural significance to society as a whole.

The documentary was funded by Minnesota State Arts Board folk and traditional arts grant and 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.

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