October 6, 2015
The public is invited to the lighting ceremony and kiln firing of the Johanna Kiln at The Saint John's Pottery. The lighting event begins 3 p.m. Friday, October 16, and the kiln firing continues through Sunday, October 25.
The Johanna Kiln is the largest wood-burning kiln in North America. Firing a kiln of this scale is the result of nearly two years of planning. Local clay and glaze materials are prepared, and Forest Stewardship Council certified firewood is gathered from the Saint John's Abbey Arboretum.
"I've moved more firewood than I ever thought possible," said SJU senior Nathan Anderson, a chemistry major who spent last summer as a work-study student assistant at The Saint John's Pottery.
Designed and built by Master Potter and Artist-in-Residence Richard Bresnahan, the kiln can hold up to 12,000 works of pottery and sculpture.
The 2015 kiln firing will also include works by Erin Anderson and Kevin Lips, participants of The Saint John's Pottery Jerome Foundation Emerging Artist Program, as well as pieces by visiting artists from all around the world.
For the participants, a kiln firing is in some ways like a homecoming. Several large crews gather to maintain the fires over a continuous 10-day period. Key to each firing is the one-of-a-kind sense of community that forms between participating artists, volunteers and visitors.
The event will be held in honor of Francis Schellinger, a local wood artist who in 1979 helped discover the large deposit of clay the studio uses to make pottery and sculpture. A dear friend of Saint John's, Schellinger passed away in 2014.
For over 35 years, The Saint John's Pottery has embodied a commitment to the integration of art and life, the preservation of the environment, the linkage between work and worship and the celebration of diverse cultures.
The studio engages artists, students, and visitors in the work of artistic creation in relationship to the natural environment. It supports an Apprenticeship Program and an annual Jerome Foundation Emerging Artist Program. For more information, visit the Pottery Website.