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Author Profile
Keith Luebke (he/him/his)
Keith Luebke is a retired teacher with two degrees in art, one in sociology, and one in urban studies. In 2020, he and his partner bought an old farmhouse (1896) one block from the house they lived in for over thirty years. Now, in a studio with windows, he makes modest pots and writes on the side. He worked in a variety of nonprofit organizations for nearly twenty years. That work included promoting craftspeople in rural Illinois and New Mexico, but most of his work was with people experiencing homelessness. Keith and his teacher/partner, Judith Luebke, were part-time grant writers from the 1980s into this new millennium. With Judith as editor, Keith wrote funding proposals to create housing and opportunities for low-income families and individuals. They also taught students how to create, implement, and evaluate programs responding to community needs.


"Carbon Credit Chai," illustration by Elenor Wilson, styling by Zoe Pappenheimer, 2016.
Editor's note: Find Part I of this essay in Vol. 43 No. 2, Summer/Fall 2015.
Mugs on a shelf in the author's home.
Glazed or not, every object made from clay has a surface. But what does that surface tell us?
If Bernard’s Leach’s A Potter’s Book was the old testament for many aspiring studio potters internationally, Daniel Rhodes’ Clay and Glazes for the Potter was the new testament for those living in North America.
During the last decade there have been more and more concerted efforts to decolonize our notions of what working with clay means, and while it is a difficult point in our history to feel optimism, people who make things out of clay are always in community...For those seeking positive changes in our society, we must remember that there are steps backward and forward, the path is erratic and often uncertain, but the arc has been toward justice – we just don’t have enough of it yet.
I was sitting on an open porch in Managua, Nicaragua, when I met the Guatemalans. Members of the Guatemalan Church in Exile, they were anxious to provide information about their troubled homeland to the outside world.
Paul Wandless, "Haymens Studio," Clay Monoprint, triptych.
For those interested in building a sustainable society rooted in freedom and justice – issues that seem important to most of the potters I have known – we need to understand the threads that tie ideas together. We are at a moment in history when many disciplines must make choices, articulate a collective sense of concern, and consider the available paths toward voicing and acting on those concerns.
An 1825 cartoon shows a Frenchman who is offered a 13th cup of tea by a hostess due to the guest not being aware of the English tea etiquette (a teaspoon shall be left in a cup indicating "no more") Source Jane Pettigrew (2001). A Social History of Tea.
It would be easier to write about ceramics if there were more jokes about ceramists. The lack of humor surrounding ceramic technologies is due to the industrialization of ceramic production and the emergence of ceramics as an academic discipline. Before that, potters used to tell more jokes.
Warren MacKenzie
Warren MacKenzie was the Bernie Sanders of ceramics. He was a populist. He was honest and opinionated. He wanted the fruit of his labor to be everywhere, accessible and affordable. He encouraged his students, and he inspired many people outside of his field. But he also inspired people by getting up every morning and doing work that was meaningful to him.