In the world of pottery, Warren MacKenzie is kind of a big deal. He is the only one of the 24 artists featured at the Northern Clay Center's American Pottery Festival whose work is available for purchase only at the silent auction or by drawing. Why is MacKenzie so hot right now? At 83 years old, the Stillwater resident is a seasoned follower of the Japanese Mingei aesthetic, which focuses on the functionality and honesty of everyday objects. The results are earthy, textured pots, cups, plates, and other utilitarian items that beg to be touched. He often quotes one of his influences, Shoji Hamada, who said, "The best pots for me are the pots that I like." In order to keep the focus on the pieces themselves, MacKenzie no longer signs his work and charges only what he would be willing to pay. In a recent interview, he said of people who are attracted to his work, "They are reaching out for the handmade. They want something that has been touched." The festival includes not only MacKenzie's work, but slide talks, demonstration workshops, and lectures.
Fri., Sept. 7, 5-9 p.m.; Sat., Sept. 8, 9:30 a.m.-5 p.m.; Sun., Sept. 9, 9:30 a.m.-2 p.m.