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Body of Clay, Soul of Fire: Richard Bresnahan and the Saint John's Pottery

Welch, Matthew

7 ratings by Goodreads
ISBN 10: 1890434469 / ISBN 13: 9781890434465
Published by Afton Historical Society Press, Afton, Minnesota, U.S.A., 2001
Condition: Fine Soft cover
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Signed by Richard Bresnahan on half title page. In Fine condition. Bookseller Inventory # 201051

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Bibliographic Details

Title: Body of Clay, Soul of Fire: Richard ...

Publisher: Afton Historical Society Press, Afton, Minnesota, U.S.A.

Publication Date: 2001

Binding: Trade Paperback

Book Condition:Fine

Signed: Signed By Bresnahan

Edition: First Paperback Edition

About this title


"Body of Clay, Soul of Fire" will delight art lovers, potters, and collectors, as well as everyone who is interested in Japanese and Benedictine traditions.
Richard Bresnahan is a preeminent American potter and an ambassador for the natural environment. Reared on a farm in North Dakota, he graduated from Saint John's University in Collegeville, Minnesota, and apprenticed as a potter in Japan. Returning to Saint John's, where he is an artist in residence, he built a massive wood-burning kiln, which, with its innovative flame flues and water channels, dwarfs all other North American kilns. By digging his own clay, using local seeds and hulls as glazing materials, and firing with deadfall, Bresnahan also practices a brand of environmentalism worthy of his Benedictine surroundings.


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. Artists, historians, and collectors of every medium will appreciate the beautiful organic forms and surfaces of Bresnahan's work. For academic and large public libraries. John Andrew McQuigg, Minneapolis Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information. --Library Journal (Friday , March 15, 2002)

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