Warren MacKenzie quotes

  • I find it really enriching to make pots which people are using and which they come in contact with, not only visually in their homes but tactilely - when they pick them up, when they wash them after dinner, and so on and so forth.
    -- Warren MacKenzie

    #Home #People #Dinner

  • Things happen very quickly and they have to happen quickly in order to have vitality, which I think is essentially part of a good pot. But in addition it means that you can explore an idea and change it and then change it and then change it; I don't mean by changing the one pot, but you make one pot then you make another that's related to that; you make another - you can make 50 pots in a day and none of them are going to be carbon copies of any other, but they'll all be related because there's something going through your mind about the form on that particular day.
    -- Warren MacKenzie

    #Mean #Thinking #Order

  • In working on a drawing or a painting, one can rework and rework and rework and change ideas until you get it the way you think is right at that time. With clay that's not possible. You either succeed the first time, or you should wad it up and start over again, because you can't mess around with the clay and still have it fresh.
    -- Warren MacKenzie

    #Thinking #Ideas #Drawing

  • In looking at these pots at the Field Museum, Alix [MacKenzie] and I both came to a conclusion individually but also collectively that the pots that really interested us were the pots that people had used in their everyday life, and we began to think - I mean, whether it was ancient Greece or Africa or Europe or wherever, the pots that people had used in their homes were the ones that excited us.
    -- Warren MacKenzie

    #Mean #Home #Thinking

  • In fact, I believe to a certain extent a person today who starts with just clay, with no drawing and no painting and no figure drawing, still-life drawing, various things, they miss a great deal.
    -- Warren MacKenzie

    #Believe #Drawing #Missing

  • I make a lot of pots in a year's time and some of them are good and some of them are mediocre and some of them are bad. If they're really bad and I'd be ashamed of them, I throw them out, but if they're mediocre and they'll serve the purpose for which they're designed, that is, a mixing bowl or a soup bowl or a plate or whatever, I sell them. And this income from the sale of these pots permits me to go on and make other pots. It's even more important now that I've quit teaching, because I do not have a teacher's salary to fall back on.
    -- Warren MacKenzie

    #Teacher #Fall #Teaching

  • Here is this ability to explore ideas, but with minute changes, and then look at the results. Often you get so excited about what you're doing that you think, "Oh, wow, this is just great." And you look at it a week later and you realize you'd been excited by the act of creation, but what you've created is not really exciting when you look at it in cold blood. And so that, to me, is a valuable lesson also.
    -- Warren MacKenzie

    #Thinking #Ideas #Blood

  • Since your time is your main involvement here - I mean, the clay doesn't cost very much. Even the glaze and the firing doesn't cost a great deal. But your time is the cost, and if you can keep your time to a minimum and still come out with the results you want, that means the pots can be sold for an economic price.
    -- Warren MacKenzie

    #Mean #Clay #Cost

  • So I very quickly stopped almost all decoration. I was interested in the three-dimensional form of the pots, but my decoration was nonexistent.
    -- Warren MacKenzie

    #Three #Pot #Form

  • Our main inspiration [with Alix MacKenzie], I think, came from the Field Museum of Natural History, because they had pieces which were selected not for art content but for their relationship to the anthropological history of mankind.
    -- Warren MacKenzie

    #Art #Inspiration #Thinking

  • Finally if I had a pot that needed decoration, I would hand it to Alix [MacKenzie] and I would say, "Can you do something with this?" And she'd look at it for a while and then proceed with a brush to embellish the form and enhance the form, and it was wonderful. She could bring the pot to life, whereas if I did it, it was a disaster.
    -- Warren MacKenzie

    #Hands #Looks #Wonderful

  • Some years ago I was working on some forms which were vase forms with a fairly narrow base, and it was after [Hans] Coper had died that I saw an exhibition of his, a catalogue from an exhibition, and he was showing some forms which were made by cutting and joining a lot of different parts together to create what he called a spade form, which you can imagine looks a little bit like a shovel upside down.
    -- Warren MacKenzie

    #Cutting #Years #Together

  • This is something which I think I have been able to communicate to both people I have taught and people that have purchased our work since that time, that they all say, it's so nice to have these pots with us all the time and to eat out of them and be in direct contact with them in our homes.
    -- Warren MacKenzie

    #Nice #Home #Thinking

  • The two teachers that I had in the Art Institute who affected me the most were Kathleen Blackshear and Robert von Neumann; Kathleen Blackshear because she taught a class called design - I can't remember, design something, and in this class - it met once a week - we would do work centered around some theme, word or subject or technique or whatever, and bring it in for a three-hour discussion. And Kathleen was able, in watching and looking at our work, to direct us to all kinds of things which might relate to what we were trying to do, but she never attempted to tell us what to do.
    -- Warren MacKenzie

    #Teacher #Art #Class

  • I thought, oh, I'm going to be a painter. And eventually my family had moved near Chicago, and when I graduated from high school, I went to the Chicago Art Institute, and it was there that I thought, well, now I'm going to be a painter.
    -- Warren MacKenzie

    #Art #School #Chicago

  • We never had a catalogue; we never said we were going to duplicate these pots this year and next year and the year after that and so forth. We did make many pots which were repeated, but we allowed them to change and to grow as we changed and grew, and I think that was the big difference. And that's all right; we were working for ourselves. We didn't have anybody we had to pay.
    -- Warren MacKenzie

    #Thinking #Years #Differences

  • In searching for further training we turned to England and Bernard Leach. We thought since we had responded to his book so strongly that this would be the sort of training that we would like to have. We saved money, during the summer went to Europe, and the first stop was to go to England, visit the Leach Pottery and ask Leach if he would take us on as apprentices.
    -- Warren MacKenzie

    #Summer #Book #Europe

  • Remember, this is back in the 1940s, and it was sculpture which probably - in my instance probably came out of the European influence, [Alexander] Archipenko and things of that sort, [Jacques] Lipchitz to a certain extent, and I was influenced by those things and attempted to do work that emulated their style.
    -- Warren MacKenzie

    #Style #Sculpture #Remember

  • We'll be potters, we'll be painters, we'll be textile designers, we'll be jewelers, we'll be a little this, a little of that. We were going to be the renaissance people [when we were young].
    -- Warren MacKenzie

    #People #Potters #Textiles

  • I do remember that when we left [Bernard Leach] after two and a half years, we went home on a boat again - this was before air travel became really easy - and Alix [MacKenzie] turned to me and she said, "You know, that was a great two years of training, but that's not the way we're going to run our pottery."
    -- Warren MacKenzie

    #Running #Home #Air

  • We were working from very exact models and dimensions and weights of clay to make these pots which had been designed some 10 or 12 years previous to our arriving [at Bernard's Leach studio]. And we, being, I guess you would say young, arrogant Americans, thought that we ought to be able to somehow express ourselves a little bit more in the daily work of the pottery.
    -- Warren MacKenzie

    #Years #Clay #Arriving

  • Eventually we even got to the point where we could disagree with [Bernard Leach]. I mean, when we first went there, gee, I mean, this was a man who had written a book. He was, in a sense, God, and we for the first couple of weeks called him Mr. Leach.
    -- Warren MacKenzie

    #Couple #Book #Mean

  • We could make our own pots on the weekends and in the evenings, and we used to do that, and these would be fired in the big kiln, along with all the standard ware that we were producing, but this wasn't quite what we had expected when we read The Potters Book.
    -- Warren MacKenzie

    #Book #Weekend #Would Be

  • Looking back on it now, I understand why that was not possible [to express ourselves], because the pottery employed a dozen people, not all of whom are making pots. And these people had families, children, and they had to have a wage that would allow them to raise their family and they had to get a paycheck every Friday afternoon. So if we had not made pots that would sell it, would not have been possible for these people to be employed.
    -- Warren MacKenzie

    #Friday #Children #People

  • When Bernard [Leach] wrote his book, he wrote about the fact that even when pots are made in a series, there is a personality to each pot and that the person who made it reflects their personality into the clay.
    -- Warren MacKenzie

    #Book #Personality #Clay

  • In fact, [Bernard Leach] was several generations removed from us. At that time we were there, I think Alix [MacKenzie] and I were 26 and 28, and Leach was about 63, and we thought he was a very old man. I used to always want to help him up the stairs in the house for fear he'd fall. Actually, he was in excellent condition and lived to be much, much older than we ever expected.
    -- Warren MacKenzie

    #Fall #Men #Thinking

  • We became more familiar with [Bernard Leach], and with this familiarity came, I wouldn't say contempt, but certainly an awareness that everything that he said was not necessarily what we were thinking. That doesn't mean it was wrong, but Leach was a person out of a different generation.
    -- Warren MacKenzie

    #Mean #Thinking #Different

  • Living with [Bernard] Leach, who thought about pottery 24 hours a day, was a fantastic experience, and we really began to get inside his mind and understand what had motivated him to work all his life as a potter.
    -- Warren MacKenzie

    #Mind #Potters #Pottery

  • It was a wonderful opportunity. And so for two and a half years we lived with [Bernard] Leach.
    -- Warren MacKenzie

    #Opportunity #Years #Two

  • We had a wonderful trip, a seven-day trip, talking and sitting in the sun and so forth [with Bernard Leach]. And as we were approaching England, Leach said, "Do you have a place to live?" And we said, "No, we didn't." We hadn't worried about that. But Bernard had just separated from his second wife, which we had not realized, and Bernard was a person who could not stand to live alone. So he said, "Would you like to share my house with me?" Naturally we said yes.
    -- Warren MacKenzie

    #Talking #Wife #House

  • We were more fortunate than most, because [Bernard] Leach had been in America on a lecture tour in 1950, and we made arrangements to travel from America back to England with him on the same boat. It was a very slow boat. I think it took us about seven days to cross the Atlantic.
    -- Warren MacKenzie

    #Thinking #America #Lectures

  • We [me and my wife] went back to St. Paul, worked for a year - again, I guess I would have to admit now, doing a rather shaky job of teaching people - but at the end of that year we returned to England and worked in the [Bernard] Leach Pottery for two and a half years.
    -- Warren MacKenzie

    #Jobs #Teaching #Years

  • [Bernard Leach] talked about painting, but we never talked about ceramics in that evening. But at the end of the evening he said to us, "Well," he said, "I've changed my mind, and if you want, you can come back a year from now and apprentice in the workshop."
    -- Warren MacKenzie

    #Years #Mind #Ceramics

  • The interesting thing was we never talked about pottery. Bernard [Leach] talked about social issues; he talked about the world political situation, he talked about the economy, he talked about all kinds of things.
    -- Warren MacKenzie

    #Issues #Interesting #Political

  • I think back to some of the pots we made when we first started our pottery, and they were pretty awful pots. We thought at the time they were good; they were the best we could make, but our thinking was so elemental that the pots had that quality also, and so they don't have a richness about them which I look for in my work today. Whether I achieve it all the time, that's another question, because I don't think a person can produce at top level 100 percent of the time.
    -- Warren MacKenzie

    #Thinking #Quality #Looks

  • We benefited from living with [Bernard] Leach, because suddenly all of his friends became our acquaintances.
    -- Warren MacKenzie

    #Acquaintance

  • Bernard [Leach] knew Ben Nicholson, Barbara Hepworth, Terry Frost, Peter Lanyon, Johnny Wells. I can think of a number of people that we met there just because we were living with Bernard. Some of them became our friends, particularly the younger artists, but we were privileged to at least meet and talk with the older artists also. And they would come to dinner, and we would simply be included in the conversation, which was quite fascinating.
    -- Warren MacKenzie

    #Thinking #Artist #Numbers

  • I'm striving to make things which are the most exciting things I can make that will fit in people's homes. And in that respect, working on the wheel is economically about the only answer I know, because one can, as Leach said, make 50 pots in a day. You can make 100 pots in a day. A really good potter can make 400 pots in a day.
    -- Warren MacKenzie

    #Home #People #Wheels

  • If you press-mold a pot or if you slab-build a pot, the work has got to take much, much, much longer than if you work on the wheel. And I to this day have the ideal that I want my work to be not too expensive, so that if people buy it and break it, it's not going to be the end of the world. I'm not interested in having things in museums, although some of our work has ended up there, but that's not what I'm striving for.
    -- Warren MacKenzie

    #Museums #People #Want

  • In the Leach Pottery we did most of our work on the wheel. [Bernard] Leach did a little work in the studio, which was press-molded forms, plastic clay pressed into plaster forms to make small rectangular boxes and some vase forms, which he liked to make. These were molds which had been made to an original that he had modeled in solid clay, and during our work there, sometimes I would be pressing these forms as a means of production.
    -- Warren MacKenzie

    #Mean #Pottery #Littles

  • In school we did all sorts of things, molds, slab building. We were not very proficient on the wheel because the woman who taught was not proficient on the wheel. And so we learned from her assistant who had learned from her assistant the year before and so on, and that was not very good training.
    -- Warren MacKenzie

    #School #Years #Training

  • And as far as I know about Alix's [MacKenzie] work, I don't believe she ever did any sculptural work at all. It was always pottery.
    -- Warren MacKenzie

    #Believe #Pottery #Don't Believe

  • [Sculpturing] didn't stick with me. I never felt I wanted to go on with that.
    -- Warren MacKenzie

    #Goes On #Sticks #Wanted

  • When I was in school in the Art Institute, we had several problems during the course of the time we were taking ceramic classes where we had to do a sculptural piece. And when I say a sculptural piece, it's nothing like what we conceive of now as a sculptural piece.
    -- Warren MacKenzie

    #Art #School #Class

  • [My pots ] are not like [Hans] Coper's at all, but the idea came from seeing catalogue of his work, although at the time we knew Hans, his work was nothing like that.
    -- Warren MacKenzie

    #Ideas #Pot #Seeing

  • These narrow-footed forms I was making, I thought, gosh, I could push those further, not to construct them the way [Hans] Coper did but to work in my own manner but push it more toward that form. And I learned to do that and enjoyed it for a number of years.
    -- Warren MacKenzie

    #Years #Numbers #Way

  • I've been influenced by someone or [English artists] work. I mentioned Hans Coper as an example.
    -- Warren MacKenzie

    #Artist #Example

  • If you take Lucie Rie and Hans Coper, their work didn't even relate to what we were trying to do, because they were moving in a different direction, both of them coming out of Europe and the Viennese school of design, which Lucie came from, and Coper learning from Lucie and then springing off on his own when she encouraged him to explore more widely. So he created his own work instead of just working for her and doing her forms. So that was a wonderful thing.
    -- Warren MacKenzie

    #Moving #School #Europe

  • I don't know, it's very difficult if you're in a strange country to just barge in and say, "Hello, I'm Warren MacKenzie, and aren't you happy to have me as a guest," you know? But artists did accept us and we remained friends for many, many years, many of them as long as they lived; like Lucie Rie and Hans Coper were very good friends, and it was wonderful.
    -- Warren MacKenzie

    #Country #Good Friend #Artist

  • We got a great benefit from our contact with those people [Lucie Rie, Hans Coper, Richard Batram] and met people that we wouldn't have probably met if we had simply worked at the pottery.
    -- Warren MacKenzie

    #People #Benefits #Pottery

  • Friends of Bernard's [Leach] came to visit, and when we went to London, we were given introductions to people like Lucie Rie, Hans Coper, Richard Batram. All these people were, let's say, made available to us by a friendship with Leach. In addition there was a potter's group - what was it called? I think it was called the Cornish Potters Society, but I'm not sure of that. Anyway, they had meetings and we would go with Leach to these meetings and meet other potters, and they would have programs where they would discuss pottery and people would interchange ideas.
    -- Warren MacKenzie

    #Thinking #Ideas #People

  • [St. Ives] is a wonderful place to live. It's a small fishing town and one can live there inexpensively. There's a sympathetic population of other artists, where you can exchange ideas, and it's quite rich in artistic thought.
    -- Warren MacKenzie

    #Artist #Fishing #Ideas

  • There were a lot of artists in St. Ives. In fact, since the time of Whistler, St. Ives has been noted as an artist colony.
    -- Warren MacKenzie

    #Artist #Facts #Whistler

  • At the end of that two weeks Bernard [Leach] asked us if we would like to sit with him tending the kiln, the big oil-fired kiln that they had. He was still sitting what we call a kiln watch at that time, and he wondered if we would like to sit the watch with him and talk. So naturally this was our last opportunity to talk with him, so we said yes. We didn't realize Bernard's kiln watch was from 1:00 in the morning until 4:00 AM.
    -- Warren MacKenzie

    #Morning #Opportunity #Two

  • I was born in Kansas City, Missouri, and I do know from what my parents tell me that I was always interested in art, although not very good at it.
    -- Warren MacKenzie

    #Art #Cities #Kansas City

  • I took a number of graphic courses, lithography and etching and wood engraving [at Art Institute]. And particularly as I got more and more into ceramics, I thought, life drawing doesn't have anything to do with ceramics.
    -- Warren MacKenzie

    #Art #Drawing #Numbers

  • I found out later on that was not true, that life drawing tells you a great deal about rhythm, about the structure of a human being or any animate object, and this could be directly translated into thinking about proportion and accent, rhythm in a pot form.
    -- Warren MacKenzie

    #Thinking #Drawing #Pot

  • [ Bernard] Leach was the one who taught us that, because he, too, had started out as a painter and an etcher and had only gotten into ceramics by chance when he was in Japan trying to teach the Japanese how to do etching, which, as he said, they were not ready for yet.
    -- Warren MacKenzie

    #Japan #Taught Us #Trying

  • There was a school in Chicago called the School of Design. This was started by [Laszló] Moholy-Nagy, and it was a wonderful school, but we [with Alix MacKenzie] didn't go to that school. We did have friends who went to that school and we would visit there often, and I'm sure it pushed me in my painting direction very strongly just by association.
    -- Warren MacKenzie

    #School #Design #Association

  • We stayed on at the Institute [Chicago called the School of Design] because that was - I don't know, you start at one place and you stay there, I guess. Inertia takes over.
    -- Warren MacKenzie

    #School #Design #Chicago

  • I got drafted into the army and by pure chance was pushed into a silk-screen shop at this camp where I was, because they could not get training posters fast enough out of a central source in Washington, D.C. So they set up their own shop to print training posters: how to dismantle a machine gun, etc.
    -- Warren MacKenzie

    #Army #Gun #Training

  • [I made in army] all sorts of dumb things, but it did teach me a lot about the silk-screen process.
    -- Warren MacKenzie

    #Army #Dumb #Made

  • We both [with Alixandra Kolesky MacKenzie] got into ceramics, you might say, by the back door. Looking back on it, I think this was a very good thing.
    -- Warren MacKenzie

    #Thinking #Doors #Ceramics

  • Alix [MacKenzie], on the other hand, found that her painting would translate much more readily into decoration, and she could play with the spacing and the intensity of imagery on the form in a way which I could not. So that when we established our pottery, I was most unhappy with my decoration.
    -- Warren MacKenzie

    #Hands #Play #Unhappy

  • I thought I was going to be able to use my painting ideas as decoration on pottery, but my painting did not translate into decoration on pottery. I thought it was going to, and in fact I made, while still in school, a plate with one of my paintings on it, and that's exactly what it was, it was a plate with a painting on it. It was not a decorated plate; it was just a painting superimposed over a three-dimensional ceramic form.
    -- Warren MacKenzie

    #School #Ideas #Ceramics

  • Alix [MacKenzie] was a looser, more linear painter, dealing with amoebic forms, let's say, close to [Joan] Miró as opposed to my more static exploration of space.
    -- Warren MacKenzie

    #Space #Exploration #Form

  • At that [childhood] time, of course, if you were involved in art, it was going to be drawing and painting, because that's the only thing that was taught in the schools.
    -- Warren MacKenzie

    #Art #School #Drawing

  • I went to the Chicago Art Institute, which was the best painting school in the area at that time. And I took painting classes - basic elementary painting classes and drawing classes of all sorts.
    -- Warren MacKenzie

    #Art #School #Class

  • In the middle of my second year at school, in 1943, I got drafted into the army, was gone for three years, and when I came back, I tried to get into the painting classes which I wanted, but because of all the returned GIs [the GI Bill], everyone was in school and the classes were all full. So I looked at the catalogue and found that there was a ceramic class offered and that there was space in that. I registered for a ceramic class and some drawing classes.
    -- Warren MacKenzie

    #School #Army #Years

  • What I didn't know at the time [of my scholarship] was that the ceramic class was not really a very good class. This was many years ago and should not reflect on the conditions at the Art Institute of Chicago to this day, but we didn't know anything and we started to learn about how to work with clay.
    -- Warren MacKenzie

    #Art #Years #Class

  • When we finished [training with my wife] we came to St. Paul, because St. Paul was the first place where we got a job offer and we needed some sort of a job to earn some money in order to set up our own studio. It's rather ironic that this job offer came originally through the Walker Art Center.
    -- Warren MacKenzie

    #Art #Jobs #Order

  • Hilda Reiss was the head of the Everyday Art Gallery. Hilda Reiss came from Germany, had trained at the original Bauhaus in Germany, and her training inspired her to think of anything that she liked as art.
    -- Warren MacKenzie

    #Art #Thinking #Everyday

  • We moved up here [to St.Paul with my wife] and started to teach, we very quickly found out we were not equipped either to teach or to run our own pottery, and so we decided that we had to have further training.
    -- Warren MacKenzie

    #Running #Wife #Training

  • I was a very hard-edged geometric painter, strongly influenced by [Piet] Mondrian and [Theo] van Doesburg and that sort of thing.
    -- Warren MacKenzie

    #Vans #Painter #Geometric

  • I started to do silk-screen in the early days of my painting training, due to a woman who taught art history at the institute, Kathleen Blackshear. She was interested in silk screen and taught a class that I took.
    -- Warren MacKenzie

    #Art #Class #Training

  • [In the Field Museum of Natural History] we could see very simple, primitive, hand-built pottery from Babylonia and ancient Egypt and so forth, Greece. We could see the most sophisticated things that came out of the Orient - Japan, Korea, and China - some few pieces of European porcelain, majolica [tin glazed earthenware], and that sort of thing. But they had a marvelous collection.
    -- Warren MacKenzie

    #Simple #Museums #Egypt

  • We thought [with Alix MacKenzie], if those are the kinds of pots from every culture that interest us, why would we think that it should be any different in mid-North America 20th century? And we decided then that our work would center around that sort of utilitarian pottery, and that's what I've done ever since.
    -- Warren MacKenzie

    #Thinking #America #Culture

  • Chicago is a wonderful area because it's blessed with a tremendous number of museums of various sorts, not only the Art Institute of Chicago but the Field Museum of Natural History, the Oriental Museum on the south side.
    -- Warren MacKenzie

    #Art #Blessed #Museums

  • When you're young, you think you can do anything, and we thought.
    -- Warren MacKenzie

    #Thinking #Young #Can Do

  • That [silk-screen process experience] carried over when I returned from the Army and took more graphic classes at the Institute. And Alix [MacKenzie] and I actually began to produce a line of textiles, which had silk-screen patterns on them.
    -- Warren MacKenzie

    #Army #Class #Textiles

  • Remember, this is back in the '40s, and the idea of a museum being a place where interested people could come in direct contact with works hadn't arrived on the scene yet. That, I think, I first ran into at the Freer Gallery in Washington, D.C., where a man named Marty [Martin] Amt decided that he really felt his job - part of his job, as an assistant [to the] director was to make the collection available to interested people.
    -- Warren MacKenzie

    #Jobs #Men #Thinking

  • [Kathleen Blackshear] just said, "Have you thought of looking at this?" and so on and so on and so on. And it was a discussion group where everyone had a say, and it was a tremendous learning experience.
    -- Warren MacKenzie

    #Groups #Said #Learning Experience

  • Other thing about [Field Museum of Natural History] which inspired was that in a group of pots you wouldn't see a single example of this kind of pot. You would perhaps see a case with 20 different examples. So you realize that these pots could be repeated again and again, and each time there would be minor variations in them.
    -- Warren MacKenzie

    #Museums #Different #Would Be

  • Robert von Neumann taught painting, and when I finally got into a painting class of his, he reacted in much the same way.
    -- Warren MacKenzie

    #Class #Way #Taught

  • It was a figure painting class, where you had a model, and [Robert von Neumann ] would wander around and he'd come up behind someone and say, "Well, what are you trying to do?" And if you told him what you were trying to do, he would then proceed to discuss this with you and suggest things that you might look at and ways in which you could improve what you were attempting to do, etc - never worked on your painting, never touched your painting but talked extensively about what you were trying to do.
    -- Warren MacKenzie

    #Class #Trying #Looks

  • If you didn't know what you were trying to do, [Robert von Neumann] wouldn't say a word. He would just turn and walk away. So you very quickly learned to think that you'd better be attempting to do something in that painting class.
    -- Warren MacKenzie

    #Thinking #Class #Trying

  • Those two teachers [Kathleen Blackshear and Robert von Neumann] were just fantastic, I thought. They never directed you in a single direction, but they just encouraged you to think for yourself.
    -- Warren MacKenzie

    #Teacher #Thinking #Two

  • We [with Alix MacKenzie] had decided we needed further training, and certainly Leach was the one we turned to. So we went to England this summer and we took examples of our work along with us and showed them to Bernard Leach and told him what we were trying to do. And of course he took one look at our work and he said - very quickly he said, "I'm sorry, we're full up," and this was his way of politely saying, you just don't make the cut.
    -- Warren MacKenzie

    #Summer #Sorry #Cutting

  • Every day we'd trudge up the hill - it was a three-quarter-mile walk up this steep hill to the Leach Pottery, and we would take our lunch with us and generally, I guess, make a nuisance of ourselves.
    -- Warren MacKenzie

    #Lunch #Three #Nuisance

  • We asked a lot of questions and we watched everyone who was working in the studio. And we had an opportunity to sit in on discussions, aesthetic discussions at the pottery, which took place generally over tea breaks in the morning and afternoon. So we learned a lot just from being around there [with Bernard Leach ].
    -- Warren MacKenzie

    #Morning #Opportunity #Tea

  • I used to think [Shoji] Hamada never drew, until there was a book by Bernard [Leach] published about his work [Hamada: Potter, Tokyo; New York: Harper & Row, 1975] and at the rear of the book were a number of wonderful little sketches, but they were not drawings like Bernard made.
    -- Warren MacKenzie

    #New York #Book #Thinking

  • I followed [Shoji] Hamada, because I guess Alix [MacKenzie] and I, we both saw the danger that lay in planning things out on paper and then simply executing them. And with Hamada there was a much more direct sense that the piece had happened in the process of making on the wheel, and that was what we wanted to do with our work. We weren't always able to do it, though.
    -- Warren MacKenzie

    #Pieces #Paper #Able

  • When we worked at the pottery, we did learn to make pots, that is, the physical act of making the pot. We learned to control clay, to put it where you want it and not just wherever it wanted to go, and that was valuable. At the end of about six months, though, I think if that was all we had, we may have been inclined to leave because the workshop did not challenge us so much as living with [Bernard] Leach did.
    -- Warren MacKenzie

    #Thinking #Challenges #Clay

  • We did respect [Bernard Leach], although we also were willing to challenge ideas and at least put forth our feelings about the way the pottery was run, about things that were done, about the pots we were making, etc. And we would get into sometimes some very fierce arguments. We'd be shouting at one another because of disagreements.
    -- Warren MacKenzie

    #Running #Ideas #Challenges

  • In fact, when Bernard [Leach] would be called away to go up to London for something and we'd be living alone for a couple of days, we would dig into the storage areas in the house and we'd get out all the pots that we might not see in the course of our daily life, because we weren't using them in the house on a steady basis. But we found some fantastic pots in there tucked away, and we could look at them and examine them and handle them.
    -- Warren MacKenzie

    #Couple #House #Would Be

  • Bernard [Leach] had acquired many [Shoji] Hamada works. Some of them, it was interesting - first of all, Hamada worked in St. Ives for about four years before returning to Japan to start his own pottery. He had exhibitions in London, and if these exhibitions didn't sell out, the galleries were instructed to send the remaining work down to the Leach Pottery, where they would go into the showroom for sale. If Bernard saw one that hadn't sold that he really admired, then he would take it (he would buy it), and it would go into the house.
    -- Warren MacKenzie

    #Japan #Years #Interesting

  • Bernard [Leach] was, as I said , trained as a painter and an etcher.
    -- Warren MacKenzie

    #Said #Painter

  • [Bernard Leach] was an incredible draftsman, and at the end of breakfast time, for instance, he would push his plate back, and he'd pull an old scrap of paper out of his pocket and a little stub of a pencil, and he'd begin to make small drawings, about an inch and a half, two inches tall, of pots that he wanted to make. And they were beautiful drawings. I really wish I'd stolen some of those scraps of paper, because those drawings were exquisite explorations of his ideas of form and volume in a ceramic piece.
    -- Warren MacKenzie

    #Beautiful #Ideas #Two

  • If [Bernard Leach] didn't like the drawing, he'd X it out and do another one and change the form a little bit. And when he was all done, he would stuff these pieces of paper in his pocket and go off to the pottery, and when he wanted to make pots, he would then take these out and he'd begin to produce the pot that he had designed on paper in front of us.
    -- Warren MacKenzie

    #Drawing #Pockets #Done

  • [Shoji] Hamada seldom drew an exact drawing of a pot that he was going to make.
    -- Warren MacKenzie

    #Drawing #Pot

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