If we’re going to talk about studio ceramics (which is why we’re all here, after all), then there is really no way to avoid discussing the contributions and impact of those who have come before us. We all do it in the course of conversations, in articles about, and reviews of, contemporary work that draws from or is influenced by previous work, and as a matter of course when examining the roots of various techniques or recipes. But in this issue, we’re introducing a new, once-in-a-while article format that focuses on those who have considerable legacies in our field, and discusses the impact of those legacies directly.
In no particular order, and by no particular ranking, we are including Warren MacKenzie, John Mason, and Karen Karnes in this (let’s call it the kick off) issue. There are many individuals who we could, and will, be covering from this perspective, and we are of course open to your suggestions for who some of those folks might be. (My email address is at the top of this letter, and you can send recommendations directly to me.) While we don’t have a narrow set of criteria for who is eligible—because we don’t want to artificially limit the options, since so many different types of contributions to our field have been significant, from educational to aesthetic to philosophical—we do want to focus on those who have had a lasting, significant, and visible impact on studio-ceramic practice. Many of these people are well known, but some may not be, or at least they may not be obvious to most. I do feel the necessity to clarify that we are not attempting to confer status through these endeavors; we are interested in reflecting and reporting meaningful contributions to our field. And I don’t think anyone can argue with the proposition that those featured here have each significantly contributed to studio ceramics, even if it’s been in ways very different from one another. So let’s learn about them, celebrate their contributions, and include this new knowledge as something that adds to our appreciation of what it is we do. Let’s also allow what we learn to inspire our own individual creativity. After all, that is the root of anyone’s legacy.- Sherman Hall, editor.