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Art Practice | Arts and Humanities | Ceramic Arts | East Asian Languages and Societies


Part of a special section on mentoring. Ceramist Richard Bresnahan discusses his role as a mentor. Since setting up his first studio at St John's University in Collegeville, Minnesota, in 1979, Bresnahan has trained 32 apprentices. To alleviate the poverty that is an extra burden for many apprentices, grants from the university, the studio, and regional foundations provide apprentices with housing, food, health care, and a small monthly stipend. As all the clays and glazes employed in the studio come from local sources and are processed on site, there is a ready supply of materials for both apprentices and visiting artists. The studio practices a form of environmentalism by salvaging industrial waste products, firing with deadfall, and using other renewable sources. Mentoring within this framework of sustainability also means that the campus's two kilns use local materials and are extremely energy efficient.