Johanna Becker Kiln

Johanna Becker Kiln, 2006
Johanna Becker Kiln, 2006 (click thumbnail for larger image)

The Johanna Becker Kiln was built in 1994 and first fired in April of 1995. This kiln is the largest wood burning kiln in North America; it is 87 feet long and 1,600 square feet. Located near Lake Watab, the Johanna Becker Kiln was constructed with sustainability in mind. The materials for the building included brick salvaged from the previous kiln as well as a torn-down power plant. The cost of the building totaled $48,000 but would have been around $200,000 if all new materials would have been used. Additionally, much of the construction was completed by members of the SJU monastic community, CSB/SJU students and other volunteers, which also helped minimize costs.

                The Johanna Becker is fired once a year, continuously for a week. The kiln can reach temperatures up to 2500 degrees Fahrenheit and hold up to 12,000 during the week that it is fired.

                The kiln is named after S. Johanna Becker OSB who was a professor of art at CSB/SJU for several years. Becker is a nationally recognized Asian art historian, the first female professor at St. John’s University, and the Academic Dean of the College of Saint Benedict from 1957-1961.



McCarthy, Louise “Wood-fired kiln receives blessing,” The Record, October 13, 1994, p.13.

Gleeson, Eryn “Pottery firing brings artists together,” The Record, September 24, 1998, p.11-12.

Francis, Alyssa “Meet Sr. Johanna Becker…she has a kiln named after her!” The Record, December 2, 1999, p.8

Workman, John “A Master at Work,” The Record, October 12, 2000, p.9

Pax, Marissa “Johanna Kiln prepares for pottery firing ceremony,” The Record, October 6, 2022, p.1