Great Workshop — Warren Mackenzie and Guillermo Cuellar

We ARE Mingei-sota!!

I recently had the opportunity to attend a workshop with two wonderful (local) potters — Sharing the Fire, with Warren MacKenzie and Guillermo Cuellar. A full day of Mingei-sota potting!

Warren MacKenzie is a very important Minnesota potter to so many of us in the clay community. He taught at the University of Minnesota for a number of years. It is because of Warren (and his many accomplished students) — That we are known as Mingei-sota.

‘Mingei’ (a Japanese word) — Refers to traditional folk/craft work, (simple, honest-but-aesthetic work), intended for everyday use, but appreciated as art.  With his background as an apprentice to Bernard Leach (England), and his work with Shoji Hamada (Japan) — Warren was instrumental in bringing the concept of ‘mingei’ to functional ceramics in the US.

Guillermo Cuellar, originally from Venezuela, also followed the philosophies of Bernard Leach, and was instrumental in bringing key US potters (Warren MacKenzie and others) to Venezuela for workshops providing folk/craft inspiration. He hosted many craft sales (with multiple artists) at his home-studio in rural Venezuela.  Guillermo and Warren continued to work together off and on over the years.  Now that he has relocated to the US, he is certainly a valued member of our Minnesota (Mingei-sota) potting community!

I truly enjoyed watching both of these fine potters work together and share their stories, their philosophies. I particularly enjoyed Guillermo’s altering techniques — Throwing a pot on the wheel, then reshaping into something not-so-round.  It was a great Workshop!!

I’m including a link to a Slide Show with a few more Workshop photos — Sharing the Fire

Some Food — Beef Short-Ribs with Grilled Polenta:

Because both Warren and Guillermo believe that pottery is meant to be used (for food, for sharing) — Just like I try to share on this Blog — The Workshop was a great inspiration for featuring a Guillermo Platter that I recently acquired.

I tried a recipe for Beef Short-Ribs — Braised in beef broth and red wine to absolute tenderness. Then, the braising liquid reduced with a bit of heavy cream — And the addition of sauteed onion, mushroom, and herbs. I also made a Polenta (with added goat cheese), let it stiffen in the fridge — Then cut in wedges and grilled. All soooooo full-of-flavor tasty!!

Visually — A wonderful, elegant comfort-food ‘look’ on my Guillermo Plate/Platter!!

Links:  Finally — I’m including a few Links:

–  Potter — Warren MacKenzie

–  Potter — Guillermo Cuellar

–  Workshop Slide Show — Sharing the Fire

– Occasional Sale of Warren Mackenzie pots — Northern Clay Center

(go to Sales Gallery page / Hours and Info)

And — A major THANK YOU to Anoka-Ramsey Community College for sponsoring the Workshop!!


4 thoughts on “Great Workshop — Warren Mackenzie and Guillermo Cuellar

  1. Really wonderful to see the photos. I’m sure it was a great workshop. Your short ribs w. polenta look amazing. I must come visit you next time I’m in MN so I can try some of your cooking. 🙂 Great platter too. Best, Ron

  2. Thanks Marcia, that reminded me that I wanted to sign up for the next workshop in February and the screening of the documentary.

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