Friday, May 23, 2008

Did That Really Happen?

One of the first things Julie and I did when we landed in Minneapolis was to go to The Northern Clay Center. It's an amazing facility and and gallery. Now, most of you know how hard it is to get Warren Mackenzie pots these days. He's shut his showroom and only sells through a few galleries. The Northern Clay Center puts out a pot of Warren's every so often for sale. On the day we were there I was lucky enough to spot this little green bottle and snatched it right up. $10! Yea for me.

As I was paying for the bottle a man came in and asked if I was buying that pot. I told him 'yes' and we got to talking about pottery and that Julie and I were visiting from NC and there to work for the Potter's Tour.

Then he said, "Well , can I give you a pot?".

Okay now this is strange indeed. I didn't know where this was going. Did this man have a trunk full of pottery? who was he? what am I getting into? are we being abducted (candy little boy?)?

"Sure." (Note: never turn down free pottery)

We went out onto the side walk and he introduced himself as Bob Ellingson. We proceeded to have a big talk about Warren and another MN potter Mel Jacobson, whose work I know also.

Bob said he had had a near death experience some time ago and afterwords decided that he would begin giving pots away from his Warren Mackenzie collection. Wow!

We got in our car and followed him into downtown Minneapolis and he led us up to his office. Once inside we saw about 80 Mackenzies displayed around the room. Mostly cups, bowls, some large jars, a couple teapots, vases, and a stack of 3 large platters in the corner. There was a beautiful large bowl on the corner of Bob's desk too.

Julie and I handled all the pots in the room. Bob had said we could have our pick, but of course I had my own ideas about what that meant. I mean there was no way I would have asked for that large covered jar. Right? Well? Right. And after a while he did say that if we picked something he had the option to say no. Fair enough. Surely we were being tested.

That didn't stop me from getting down on the floor in the corner of Bob's office and dragging out all 3 of those large platters! And drooling over them and caressing them, and wowing over the kaki trailing.

After much more story telling (about an hour in all) I picked out the yunomi pictured above and Julie picked a nice cereal bowl with a tall foot, shino glaze.

Bob is such a good soul. We had a blast talking to him and he even insisted that we take a short drive down to the river district to see the waterfall as he told about the history of the Twin Cities. He invited us to have dinner with him and his wife at their home, promising a more varied and larger collection of Mackenzie pots to be seen there. We were however on a bit of a schedule and expected for supper at Briscoe's. We declined with the promise that we would visit next time we were in town.

Now how amazing is that?! We drove away saying, "Did that just really happen?" . "That Bob, what a generous soul." It was an surreal beginning to our weekend in MN.

Thanks Bob!!!! Look forward to visiting with you again.