Vessels for the Human Spirit: The Life and Work of David MacDonald

An upcoming film by Osa Atoe and Amilcar Navarro

In 2020, there was a widespread reckoning with the lack of representation in many aspects of American culture and society. In the field of ceramics in particular, many organizations rushed to elevate the most visible (often younger) artists who could easily be found through their social media presences. What was missing in that frenzy to quickly correct the omission of people of color in the field was a deep and careful investigation into the histories of underrepresented voices in clay. Beyond notions of representation, we draw on our ancestral African values in which the wisdom of elders is valued and respected. Our documentary "Vessels for the Human Spirit" tells the story of the life and work of beloved ceramicist David MacDonald, a retired Syracuse University professor and master potter whose art career was born out of the tumultuous socio-political climate of the 1960s. This film is an initiative of Kaabo Clay Collective, a social and mutual aid network for Black ceramicists. We understand that honoring and preserving the legacies of our elders gives strength to future generations.

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Kaabo Clay Collective

Kaabo Clay Collective is a social and mutual aid network for Black ceramicists. We are currently fundraising to support the work of ceramicist Sana Musasama.

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Glazes for Red Clay

Glazing is one of the final steps in creating a functional ceramic object. The glassy coating lies on top of the clay giving it both durability and decoration. I make all of my own glazes from scratch using recipes I have found or have been given. It can be hard to find nice, bright glazes that work well with red clay and other darker clay bodies, so recently, I started sharing cone 6 glaze recipes I've used with various red stoneware clay bodies on my Glazy.org profile.

Recipes