Body of Clay, Soul of Fire: Richard Bresnahan and the Saint John's Pottery
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The work produced by prominent North Dakota-born potter Bresnahan is an expressive and original synthesis of centuries-old craft and a truly modern aesthetic. Apprenticed to Nakazato Takashi, an innovative 13th-generation Karatsu-style potter, Bresnahan discovered much about the intersection of pottery and other traditional art forms (e.g., the tea ceremony), which is evident in his work. Welch (curator of Japanese and Korean art, Minneapolis Institute of Arts) illustrates the potter's compelling story with a mixture of journal notes, recent interviews, and full-color photographs of pottery by Bresnahan and by some of his friends and mentors. The book also features schematic drawings of Bresnahan's extraordinary kiln, based on the traditional noborigama kiln but containing many radical design innovations. The potter's annual seven-day-long firing produces an original and expressive style of earthy, organic forms with warm, unusual colors. Bresnahan has long been supported by St. John's College and Abbey in Minnesota, from his early years as a student to his current status as artist-in-residence. The book describes how his commitment to ecology, local materials, and collective labor and the pottery's contribution to the self-sustainability of the abbey's Benedictine monks have blossomed into a highly regarded and vital community asset. (Library Journal review, March 15, 2002)
Afton Historical Society Press
American Art and Architecture | Art and Design | Art Practice | Asian Art and Architecture | Contemporary Art | Fine Arts | History of Art, Architecture, and Archaeology
Welch, Matthew, and Richard Bresnahan. Body of Clay, Soul of Fire: Richard Bresnahan and the Saint John's Pottery. Afton, MN: Afton Historical Society Press, 2001.