Richard Bresnahan – Body of Clay Soul of Fire

Richard Bresnahan book

Richard Bresnahan.  O.k. wow.  I had never heard of him until I stumbled upon a book in the SF library about him and his life as a potter.  When I picked up the book I briefly scanned the photos of pots as I usually do to decide if it was something I wanted to bother with and saw tons of amazing pots that appeared to be wood fired.  I left immediately with an armload of books including this one called Body of Clay Soul of Fire by Matthew Welch.
In the 70’s, Richard Bresnahan apprenticed with Nakazato Takashi in Japan on the island of Kyushu.  There he learned to make pots on a Karatsu-style kick wheel, build kilns and fire them, and how to use local materials.  He now has a pottery at St John’s University in Collegeville, Minnesota where he fires a huge wood kiln.  He uses local clay and local materials for his glazes and has found ways to take what others are throwing away and turn it into something beautiful.  This book touched a chord with me and my desire to study with a master potter, fire with wood, and use ash glazes is even stronger now.
Just looking at the photos of all these pots is inspiring.  Reading the book is even more so.  There is a video I found as well. The Richard Bresnahan story is full of lessons for life.  He boldly went after what he wanted and the community of friends, teachers, neighbors, and family all supported him.  His passion is undeniable and people come from all over the place when it’s time to fire that big kiln.
Read this book and be inspired.  I’m reading it now for the 3rd time.

6 thoughts on “Richard Bresnahan – Body of Clay Soul of Fire

  1. Another really informative and interesting post. I love that you described how Bresnahan decided what he wanted and “boldly” went after it with support from friends and family. It reminded me of one of your last posts where you said that YOU had made your mind up and were going to find a way to “go for it.” Love to hear you speaking in such a positive manner. Collegeville, Minnesota might be interesting?

  2. I wrote a long comment and then lost it and now need to head out and take the boy to Little Farm. So I’ll be brief… for a change! Ha!!

    I want to read this book. Solely based on your enthusiasm for it and your passion for pottery. I’m with you, in whatever choices you make… and I LOVE having your handcrafted beautiful pots in our home. I love you.

Please comment and join the conversation

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s