Winner:Warren MacKenzie

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Winning Nomination

Early training at the Art Institute of Chicago and a pottery apprenticeship with Bernard Leach in Cornwall brought Warren and his wife Alix to Minnesota in 1948. In the five decades since, his roles as professor and mentor have shaped and inspired the aesthetics, hands, community, and business ethics of generations of potters in the upper Midwest. Warren is the international emissary for the merger of the provocative qualities of clay with a functional pot. And, of course, time spent in conversation with Warren about his favorite topic is as valuable an acquisition as an example of his work. He still gives workshops to young students. He promotes the work of others.

Last year's recognition of his contributions by the Minnesota Crafts Council and the Northern Clay Center is indicative of the broad level of respect and inspiration he engenders among his peers. There are few design publications, local or national, that have not featured stories on Warren and his work. In March of 1997, Avis Berman produced an article on contemporary American ceramics, for Architectural Digest. Berman discussed Warren's belief that creating a useful pot does not set a limit on artistic expression. And he quotes Warren, saying, "The forms and surfaces [that potters] create are made by the pressure and the grip of their hands on the clay. This contact between maker and material can become a direct and moving experience that may be shared by the users of the pot."

This humble man is a distinguished human being and artist.
~Marcia Anderson, St. Paul, MN

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