On Friday October 16th, the doors to the Johanna Kiln at the The Saint John’s Pottery studio will close, and a ten-day firing process will commence. This biennial firing is a monumental community undertaking—volunteers are required to feed wood into the stove for 24 hours a day over the course of the ten-day firing. The Johanna Kiln is the largest wood-fired kiln in North America, and it can hold up to 12,000 pieces of pottery. Each piece is a product of the landscape surrounding it—from the clay, to the plants used in the glazes, to the fuel used to fire the kiln.
The lighting ceremony is a particular highlight.
Once the kiln doors are closed, the lighting ceremony begins. Hundreds of individuals from the Saint John’s community–monks, laypersons, and guests–gather to take part in the lighting ceremony. After a short prayer, the kiln area is ritually purified in the Japanese tradition with rice, salt, and sake. The Johanna Kiln is then lit with a handmade torch. Read more about the Johanna Kiln »
Staff, resident scholars, writing workshop participants, and friends of the Collegeville Institute have enjoyed the hospitality and community of The Saint John Pottery studio over the years. The following essays will give you a small glimpse of the impact and reach that Richard Bresnahan’s pottery studio and the studio’s well-known hospitality have had:
- The Fire of Hospitality: the Benedictine Way by Ruth Everhart
- Ceramic Interlude: Reflections on Writing and Clay by Josina Cooper Guess