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

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Afton Historical Society Press, Jan 1, 2001 - Architecture - 228 pages
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"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.

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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 ... Read full review


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About the author (2001)

Matthew Welch has been on staff at the Minneapolis Institute of Arts since 1990. He has coauthored several books and in 2001 wrote the award-winning Body of Clay, Soul of Fire: Richard Bresnahan and the Saint John's Pottery. A specialist in Japanese Zen painting, Welch spent four years at Kyoto University as a Fulbright scholar and received his PhD in Asian art from the University of Kansas. As curator of Japanese and Korean art at the Institute, he has organized eleven exhibitions, including "First Fire," which featured ceramics by Richard Bresnahan from the inaugural firing of Saint John's Johanna kiln. In 2008, the museum made Welch its assistant director for curatorial affairs, and since 2003 he also has served on the editorial board for Saint John's University Press. He lives in Minneapolis in a Japanese-style house with his wife and two children.

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