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.
Every pot is not going to be a masterpiece.
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.
[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.
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.
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.
Alix [ MacKenzie] had stopped teaching because we had a child and she stayed home to take care of the baby, and I taught.
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.
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].
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 ].
Last Update: 1 October 2022
View the rest 96 Warren MacKenzie sayings