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192 Jim Boone Rd
Bakersville, NC, 28705
United States


The central information hub for Michael Kline Pottery, a small one man shop of pottery making in the mountains of western North Carolina.

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The Best of Sawdust and Dirt

A record of the goings on around Michael Kline Pottery!

Filtering by Tag: 12

On Course

Michael Kline

It took a cup of joe and an earthenware taco to get the rest of my 12 made this evening.

It was an absolutely gorgeous day, not a good day for staying focused in the shop. I helped Stacey with her new garden and when the girls came home, we did some bike riding.

We took the training wheels off Lillian's bike and after a few falls, she made her first successful rides down the hill in the field. (where was the flip video???)

It's good to take some time with the family after being away for a week and I just needed to spend a little "after supper and bedtime" time to stay on course.

Look out Tuesday!


Michael Kline

On the road trip to Cape Cod, I consulted with Ron on his work flow and how he schedules his making, firing, etc. But despite Ron's advice to abandon the 12 pots a day approach (when he found out how much time I had before the next firing) It has been a good way to just get back in there to make pots. I plan to crank up the volume in the weeks ahead leading up to my trip to Austin, TX.

Speaking of road trips, I have hunnids of pics from our excellent Northeast workshop tour to sort through. When I get caught up on all of my pots, shipping, and other chores I'll try to put together a slideshow fo'ya. Don't hold your breath, though, get to work on your 12.

It's later than you think.


Michael Kline

It occurred to me as I was making pots tonight that I haven't been very good about simply documenting what has been happening in the shop. I guess spending all of that time producing and editing the video is fine, but what I mean is I haven't shown the table on a regular basis. The table is where all the current pots are put before they are dealt with in one way or another. They go there to await the drying flip, or the handle(s), or the trim. (I always thought I should have a barber's pole by my treadle wheel, where I do the trimmin'.)
Anyway, let me back track and explain these pictures before I go down some rabbit hole tangent. First there is the Ford, weighed down with wood. Then there is the table. As the picture illustrates the Ole Ford made a couple o' trips to Buladean to carry wood for the upcoming firing. It was a beautiful day, just right to take a rear wheel sled into the muddy yard at Street Lumber Mill. There were a couple of bundles of wood in the side yard, both unbanded and picked on already, no doubt by some other potter heathen looking for something to burn in their kiln. The sticks can be used in a wood stove, but they're really to much to handle for the heat they produce (for most people).
Buladean is about 20 minutes from here and it is a pleasant drive northward toward Tennessee. I can usually load up the truck in 15 minutes or so, depending how much culling is necessary. The first trip today was loaded into the rick and I headed back for the second. I will make another trip on he next sunny day to get the rest needed for the firing. That was my afternoon.
After supper, I laid around mostly, then heroically decided to get my ass up to the shop for my twelve. After all, I hadn't made my pots for the day! I had been wanting to make some monkey dishes. My neighbor, Courtney makes a really nice little dish, perfect for that little something, and I had been wanting to make some like hers. That's what's in the second picture. Along with a few 4 lb. bowls, I was done with my 12 in no time. I'm not exactly proud of this light effort, but I fulfilled my daily goal at least. I could have stayed on that couch and drifted off, but I managed to make a few. It may sound trivial to say, but it is the essence of this experiment to be somewhat consistent in the making of pots on a daily basis. Now they sit on the table waiting, drying for tomorrow's trim.
So this is today's disclosure. Just in time for my European readers, as I am writing this as they wake. For everybody else that may be reading this in the states Thursday morning (or later) the pots may be sitting in the "barber's chair getting a trim.
Have a great day, wherever you are.


Michael Kline

Where did Monday go?

It's been a very busy week with pottery making and extracurricular activities, but a good week.

Ron and I talked a bunch last Saturday on our drive to Seagrove and the Pottery Center. Ron's a great listener and by letting me blather on about this way new way of approaching my studio practice, I have come to a better understanding of how it is working. It's working really well. The way it is working is very interesting to me. Since I am making much smaller batches of pots each day while trying to finish the previous day's work, I realize that I am returning to whatever form several times every few days. Instead of making 40 mugs in a day, I am making those 40 over several days. In the same way that one "sleeps on" an important decision to get perspective, I feel that making these small batches allow me to return to the form more frequently and the pot's reiterations happen several times during the week. Each time getting closer to the ideal I set out when making a form, whether it is a cup or a teapot. In my previous model, I would set out to make 40 mugs, and somehow get overwhelmed by the number and lose touch with the freshness that that first pot off the wheel sometimes have.

I guess I talked about this in a previous post.

The takeaway from this week is that engagement is altered and focused in a much different way with a good night's sleep and the subsequent "redo".

I am anxious to introduce some surface considerations and brushwork to the daily mix. I began yesterday by doing some slip combing on some tumblers. I feel like my thoughts are still clarifying and will write again when I have my little epiphanies. But the flip side of my current process is that I am not stopping as often to ponder (i.e. write blog posts or tweets.), but moving immediately into another little grouping of pots. It's exhilarating, really, like a nice through the field with Evelyn and Lillian!

Really Blue Monday

Michael Kline

"it's a long long while
from May to December
but the days grow short
when you reach September
when the Autumn weather
turns the leaves to flames
one hasn't got the time
for the waiting game"

--September Song (Anderson; Weill)

To my shock, I've arrived to September and I'm scrambling to close the windows in the shop to the cool night air. Like Alex, when I reach for my corduroy shirt/jacket I know that summer is waning! Although it seems all of a sudden, it has been coming all along. Same with the firing. It has been penciled in the calendar of my mind but today it's getting inked in as my deadlines roll in for the Fall.

It was a stop/go week, the last week was. With the Etsy Sale scheduled in the middle of a making cycle this time, it put a wrinkle in my production. But, oh, what a nice wrinkle it was. Thanks for everybody who came by to buy! Given my busy schedule these coming weeks, I may just leave the shop open. Please tell your family and friends.;-)

But to make my Etsy Kiln Opening happen, I had a lot of pictures to take, process, and post, not to mention measure and catalog. Meanwhile, all of the 300 lbs of clay that my "adjunct" apprentice/helper John Simmons weighed and wedged on Wednesday, sat on the table until yesterday. [I'm very excited to introduce John properly later this week with a dedicated post! For now you can check out his web site, here!]

I have a few commissions to work on this week, as well as a few more pots on my making list for the show in Asheville next month. I'll get some pictures for you next time.

**Also, would you take a moment to take my survey (located on the top of the right hand column)? Thank you.

And now I leave you with Lou Reed on this September morning. I'll be back at lunch with a few snapshots. Gotta get to the 12's. Thanks for reading.

12 x 12

Michael Kline

Just barely!

After a sawdust morning of cutting and splitting
firewood and a couple visits,
I managed to squeak these bowls out before noon.
More after lunch!

Walking and Talking (With Jack)

Michael Kline

yesterday's output needing work this morning

Bailey's Peak through a bare poplar tree

Poor doggy, Jack, just doesn't get walked enough! He's just got all of this energy that gets wasted and misdirected to the detriment of our shoes, soft toys, and plastic anythings! So off we went this morning on our loop around the high meadow behind our house.

Meanwhile, the studio was getting warmed up for my 12 starters that I was determined yet unsuccessful at getting done by noon. I was close, but I'll blame it on Sam for gumming up the works with inspiring convo! Even with my headset I had to stroll and talk every once in a while. Sam and I are coming up with a really neat something for the blog. I'll fill you in when we have it ironed out. Meanwhile I hope you've enjoyed our other guest bloggers (Simon Levin and Ellen Denker) so far.

Now back to work!
16 tankards by 1p.m.
will you give me credit?