Local Productions

Richard Bresnahan: The Taste of the Clay

Friday, May 9 at 9:30 pm

Tune in for Prairie Public’s original documentary Richard Bresnahan: The Taste Of The Clay which chronicles Bresnahan’s artistic journey.

After spending nearly 4 years in Japan as an apprentice for the Nakazato Family, Richard Bresnahan returned to St. John’s University in Collegeville, Minnesota with a wealth of pottery knowledge and skills. With the blessing of Father Michael Blecker and the Benedictine Monks at St. John’s, he set up a completely indigenous pottery studio, building the largest wood firing kiln of its kind in North America and utilizing a nearby clay deposit.

In September 2013, Richard and his team fired the Sister Johanna Becker kiln, named after his art history teacher and mentor, for the twelfth time. Preparations included 7 weeks of loading, 10 days of firing, a week of cooling, a week of unloading and 9 months of cleaning. Richard’s wife Collette organizes the chefs and the dinners that serve up to 300 people. The firing is a community-building event with many volunteers returning year after year.

In the documentary, Richard talks about his pottery and the related philosophies that guide his life and his teaching.

“When you’re becoming an artist, especially working in a clay material, you’re having what we call tsuchi-aji; “tsuchi” means clay, “aji” means taste. You’re learning the taste of the clay. And so that’s a metaphor for your taking in your exterior environment into your interior environment. You’re developing a spirituality to your material.”

Production Funding Provided By

About the Minnesota Arts and Cultural Heritage Fund

In 2008, Minnesota voters passed a landmark piece of legislation — the Minnesota Clean Water, Land, and Legacy Amendment — which provided funding to public television stations serving audiences in Minnesota. Its mission is to help preserve and document the treasures of culture, history, and heritage that make Minnesota special, and to increase access to the natural and cultural resources we all share. Click here for more information.

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