For the past 27 years, Mother’s Day weekend in the St. Croix Valley has meant pottery at scenic rural studios. The St. Croix Valley Pottery Tour invites visitors from all over the world to wander the backroads of Chisago County, Minn. and explore art ranging from functional to fanciful.
The pottery offered for sale is diverse and high-quality, but the beautiful settings, the magic of spring along the St. Croix, and welcoming hosts and friendly crowds are also big reasons it’s so popular.
The main reason there are a lot of talented potters in the St. Croix Valley is the influence of Warren MacKenzie, who passed away on the last day of 2018. MacKenzie developed a philosophy and practice called Minnesota Mingei, based on a Japanese folk art movement that started in the 1920s, celebrating practical, beautiful handmade work.
“He had a number of generations of students, and students of students, who have carried that interest forward and made Minnesota an international center for pots,” former student and friend and tour host Guillermo Cuellar recently told the Country Messenger. “It just took on an energy of its own.”
A memorial for MacKenzie will be held the day after the tour at the University of Minnesota’s Ted Mann Concert Hall.
This new short video about the tour was produced by Ceramic Arts Daily, featuring an interview with host potter Matt Krousey and footage at all seven participating studios.
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The 2019 tour starts today and runs through Sunday. In addition to the host potters, there will be 55 guest potters from seventeen states and England. Learn more at the St. Croix Valley Pottery Tour website.
Map of host studios: