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Meet Robb McKenzie of McKenzie Clayworks

Today we’d like to introduce you to Robb McKenzie.

Robb, let’s start with your story. We’d love to hear how you got started and how the journey has been so far.
I’m a ceramic artist, which really, for the most part, is just a potter. Most of my artistic life had been one working in two dimensions; painting on canvas or other flat surfaces.

When I was young, never being good at sports or marching band, I found my calling in art; drawing and painting obsessively. I thought art would be a “great career” and made it my major in college. Unfortunately, my art classes were the only ones at which I worked, and my other grades faltered.

I beat the Selective Service Board’s 1A reclassification by enlisting in the military and soon got married and had a family; life took over. It wasn’t until about ten years ago, as I neared retirement when I re-discovered the joy I had found in art as a youth and began painting again.

As paintings started piling up, I began to sell prints and originals at various art markets, making contacts that can always soon prove useful. Then it happened, one Christmas a few years ago my wife bought me a potter’s wheel and my art career changed directions as quickly as the wheel head could spin; I became a potter.

Getting my hands ‘dirty’ with clay is somehow very cathartic. I think of nothing else aside from the lump of clay in front of me. It also gives me the sense of power; not only can I make sculptural forms, but if I need a coffee cup, I can make one; if I need a cereal bowl, I can make that too!

Has it been a smooth road?
The road has not been necessarily difficult, but it has presented some unexpected challenges along the way. When I decided to make my art public by entering into shows and art markets, I quickly found out that being just an artist is not enough. I had to be a creative writer, a marketing expert, a public speaker, an accountant, and a social media savant.

While I possessed some of the additional skills required, they all had to be tuned to the art world. Artist statements describing my works and sharing what inspired me must be written, talks about myself and my art at shows and market events must be given, financial records must be maintained, all the various avenues of communications to the public and followers need to be constantly updated, and I just wanted to be an artist.

So, as you know, we’re impressed with McKenzie Clayworks – tell our readers more, for example, what you’re most proud of as a company and what sets you apart from others.
McKenzie Clayworks has morphed over the past several years while I have struggled to find the genre that continues to inspire me. Initially, the genre for my clay works was “Steampunk”; clay pieces that could have been made from metal assembled with what appeared to be bolts and screws.

As I found my way and returned to the roots of my family, my clay works have adopted the style and patterns of the Celts and enigmatic symbols of the Picts of ancient Scotland. I still make works with the Steampunk style which are available online, at the Old Bakery & Emporium in Austin Texas and the Artisan Connect Gallery in Georgetown Texas, but it’s my Celtic and Pictish works that have become the most popular.

At the recent Celtic Festival in Austin, I sold nearly every piece I had. One couple from Houston purchased three of my higher-end Pictish works without even looking at the price.

My works have also been exhibited in art shows in Austin, they have been accepted to shows in Rockport, San Angelo, and Houston’s International Tea Pot Tournament. I’m proud of this success, but what made me the proudest was when at one market event a customer I had never seen before said: “Oh, I’ve heard of you.”

Let’s touch on your thoughts about our city – what do you like the most and least?
I live in Austin but have always found Houston to be a vibrant and exciting town for an artist. With the many galleries and art museums, Houston is definitely an art lover’s town.

A good number of artists I know make a better living off sales in Houston than they do in the Austin market and I am looking forward to making forays into that market myself.

Contact Info:

Getting in touch: VoyageHouston is built on recommendations from the community; it’s how we uncover hidden gems, so if you know someone who deserves recognition please let us know here.


  1. Peggy Frasier

    February 4, 2019 at 4:42 am

    Robb, I would have never recognized you had I not seen your name posted! Congratulations on your new career; your pottery pieces are just beautiful and obvious proof of your talent. I’m looking forward to checking out your website and seeing more of your art!

  2. Marion

    February 4, 2019 at 10:05 am

    One of Robb’s steampunk creatures watches over m in my studio, nver failing to make me smile. His creativity and enthusiasm are infectious, and I recommend to everyone to search Robb and his creations out, to chat to him.

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