The Saint John’s Pottery lighting ceremony and kiln firing set for Oct. 18

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October 7, 2019

Johanna Kiln Firing

The public is invited to the 2019 lighting ceremony and firing of the Johanna Kiln at the Saint John’s Pottery. The lighting event begins at 4 p.m. Friday, Oct. 18, and the kiln firing continues through Sunday, Oct. 27.

The Johanna Kiln is the largest wood-burning kiln in North America. Firing a kiln of this scale is the result of 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.

Designed and built by Master Potter and Artist-in-Residence Richard Bresnahan, the Johanna Kiln can hold up to 12,000 works of pottery and sculpture.

The firing will also include works by participants of the Saint John’s Pottery Jerome Foundation Emerging Artist Program (Heidi Lau, Richelle Soper, Barbara Pearsall and Kristen Jensen); Mary Livingston Griggs and Mary Griggs Burke Foundation fellow Akira Koie; and many other guest artists.

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 among participating artists, volunteers and visitors.

The event marks the 40th year of the Saint John’s Pottery, and the 15th firing of the Johanna Kiln. In the spring of 2019 an exhibit and catalog publication entitled Forty Years On: Richard Bresnahan and Artists of the Saint John’s Pottery was presented at Westminster Presbyterian Church in Minneapolis.

About the Saint John’s Pottery

For 40 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, an annual Jerome Foundation Emerging Artist Program, and the Mary Livingston Griggs and Mary Griggs Burke Foundation fellowship for visiting Japanese artists.