My introduction to The St. John’s Pottery began in 1992 when I was a student at St. John’s University. As a studio apprentice, I quickly sensed the scale and scope of the community built from this studio. Once you have your connection to the studio, you are not forgotten.
These are portraits of people who join potter, Richard Bresnahan to fire the immense Johanna kiln, a three chamber, wood-fired Japanese climbing kiln (Noborigama). Over fifty people arrive from all over the country to support firing the kiln. Working in six hour shifts, kiln crews stoke the kiln every 15 minutes, 24 hours a day, for 10 days.
In 2005, I moved back to the Midwest and began photographing the firings of the Johanna kiln. Due to the size of the kiln, firings only occur once every two to three years. Initially considered as a single outing to photograph subjects; sharing the bond of the pottery studio, and working as artists with this kiln, the portraits are quickly becoming part of a longitudinal project whose net effect is to reveal the larger community of artists and supporters who come to work each firing. Year after year many faces reappear.