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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 x 12


Michael Kline

 I got the message from my "coach" and good friend, Ron Philbeck, to "go make some pots" this morning.

So I did! (after all the office work that was past due.) It was a sloppy 12 x 12 and they came a little after noon, but they are done and I'm off and running for the day. Sometime its takes a coach!
Thanks Ron. [Ron really is a coach. A Crossfit Coach! Go Ron!]

Speaking of coaching, why don't you take the 12 x 12 challenge with me. Post your daily dozen on your favorite social media outlet: blog, twitter, instagram, facebook. Use #12x12 as your hashtag and that way I can find your pics and collect them for a post on this blog next week when I get back from the NC Potters Conference!!

when the boss speaks, you listen

A Week in Pictures

Michael Kline

I started another Facebook page, 12 x 12. Please like it.

Spring is coming slowly


Moustache is growing and is a pleasant addition to the barnyard

metal stamping my pots for this round
looking for some old letterpress for firing number  as well

chicken waterers

looking at this pot a lot and thinking about craftsmanship
 and intention, technical  mastery, and aesthetics 

Big Oops

Michael Kline

Akkkk. The 12 x 12 Challenge was a little bit of a huge challenge for me! Ha!

A lot of keeping track of pictures, URLs, and captions! (more than I was prepared for!)

In the email shuffle, I left out a few potters from the drawing as well as the previous post. ;-(

So, to make up for my shortcomings, I thought I could at least give them props here, today, with their very own post!

Here is the Honorable Mention addendum to the 12 x12 Challenge in hopes that the next one will be a little bit more together. Molly, David, and Jeff, my apologies. You didn't win but hopefully, as my firing buddy says,  you will win "the adulation of your peers"!

First up, Jeff Hulme!

Jeff Hulme
Jeff writes,
Hi Michael,
Thanks for the motivation! I've tried to follow your 12x12 idea in the past without much success, but this time the stakes are higher and so is my productivity! For this photo I finished up 2 long servers; squared off a box and started the slab lid; finished up 4 jars with lids; and I threw 3 planters and the components for 2 juicers(my 1st attempt)!
Thanks again, this is a great idea!
Next up David Orser of Cedar Mountain Pottery up there in Maine.
David Orser

I'll always remember David's generosity and the many others who donated their beautiful work to my benefit sale after my hand accident in 2005. Thanks again, David.

Here's what David told me about these pots,
Well, I usually make these later in the day and then they are ready to decapitate and trim to fit the lids the next morning depending on humidity levels, not an issue in winter. ...
Hey, look at that nice mug in the background purchased at the (now defunct) Foundry Lane gallery in Portland some time ago..
and look at that Jian style hare's fur bowl  that i think relates in some ways to the aforementioned...
 that was purchased from a (also defunct) gallery in Seattle called Thesaurus that dealt in fake asian antiques ( hence their demise... ) another story.. right next to the porcelain depiction of comet Hale-Bopp....
oh yeah and so we got the dogs walked and into the studio by 10 so, yikes, ok, crank out some little jars...
can't make too many of them, they're paying the mortgage. and there is always room for a couple more in the kiln.
look forward to seeing what folks are up to this fine spring day
speaking of comets, there is one in the sky... get binoculars to a clear view of the western horizon just after sunset....more @ 
okay get back to work or lunch or somthin...
thanks for the comet head's up, David, but my western horizon is a mountain with tall trees, but i'll grab the binoculars tonight and climb on top of my kiln shed!  if it's clear I'll check out the comet!

And lastly, WNC's own rising pottery star, Molly Poore. I love the tunnel of handles in this shot!

Molly Poore

Well, until the next 12 x 12 Challenge. I hope you all will go to these artists blogs, web sites, etc. and check out their work!

Thanks everyone!

I'm afraid to click the publish button for fear that there might yet be another forgotten misplaced 12x12 potter out there, but, sorry I'm all out of apologies. Here goes!

Contest Clarification

Michael Kline

photo: Evelyn Kline
Although I have already received over a dozen 12x12 pics from readers all over the world, I feel that some clarification is in order since the announcement of the contest was an impulsive one which landed below the lead of yesterday's blog post.

First off read this post from yesteryear to get some background on the idea of 12 x 12.

The basic idea is to get off our duffs [sorry, cousin], away from our social networking, away from those seemingly urgent emails, your favorite pottery bloggery, away from everything! Just darken the doorstep of your favorite workshop and get to work!

The assignment:
  1. Get to work and make 12 things before noon.  Midnight is only acceptable if you have a day job. Respect the clock in whatever time zone you might be. Get a move on! 
  2. If you are throwing, glazing, packing, firing, it matters not. All good honest work will be accepted. 
  3. Once you have satisfied this very simple assignment, proudly take a picture of your productivity!
  4. Send me the picture, preferably a jpeg or a png that is of decent composition and clarity, not too big, not too small.
  5. Send it to no later than midnight of the Ides.
  6. Be sure to include your name, a caption and/or your web site
Now for the fun stuff,

After the deadline I will assemble a blog post with all of your wonderful hard work and productivity. Each submission will get a number according to their order of submission and on Sunday night, I will spin ye olde random number generator and announce the winner.

What does the winner win?  Well I guess I will stroll through the showroom and pick out a nice piece of pottery! How's that sound? I will pick something and post it here in the next day or so.

SO, are you in?

Let's see what you got!

roped cups from today's 12

12x12: Rope and Hump

Michael Kline


self impressioning rope trick

It's funny how questions from last week's symposium in oHIo still echo in my head. It's good to get out and stretch my pottery technique. One of the questions was about throwing off the hump. I don't throw a lot off the hump. Usually I will weigh and ball the clay and go from there, no matter what size, big or small.

But today I decided to throw my 12 morning pots off the hump. I even threw a few small flat bottomed pots, where the cut off is SO important because I don't want to trim these. 

Want to take the 12x12 challenge? It's 12 noon or midnight somewhere in the world, right? 

Here's what to do to win a piece of pottery from me ( I will pick out something nice)
  1. send me your picture of 12 pieces at any stage that you are working on this week. 
  2. send along your name 
  3. send along your website/blog URL
  4. deadline is friday, March 15th, noon ;-)
I will post all of the pictures here on the blog, on Saturday, March 16th.

Sound like fun? To see what all of this is about refer to this blog post  from 2010. 

This is going to be fun!

email your pics to me here.

12 X 12 Revisited/Revised

Michael Kline

Monday offers such promise, while Thursday reminds me of my shortcomings with Fridays verdict right around the corner. Not that I have ever operated on a regular 9-5 M-F schedule, but the mainstream routine sits on one of my shoulders, reminding.

Yesterday, as I was working on various projects in the bright sunshine, (read: not pottery), I had a yearning for some kind of routine, a daily goal. I remembered my 12x12. A concept that seems to have been forgotten like a dream. But it's not that hard to imagine that I could get back to a regular studio practice like that soon. It's almost February, after all! So while I was outside doing some long over fall maintenance on my mower, I had the thought that I would set my goals lower. Haha. Yes, a little lower, to avoid the self loathing that a Thursday might bring. So I decided since I had missed my 12x12 deadline(again) that I would try to just make a dozen, (ok, I made 16) and try to finish them today (Thurs).

I thought I would make a short run of cups, a few serving dishes, and some pitchers. It was a very different experience contrasted to making boards and boards of pots that would then take me a day or two to finish.

When making a dozen or more of one shape, each pot gets closer to the ideal and hopefully with the last ball of clay I make the best of the lot. That happens sometime. Sometimes, when revisiting a shape, the first one off the wheel is fresh and has a naïveté that seems more natural, with subsequent forms trying a bit too hard to be perfect. It's hard to explain. That first pot is imperfect by the mind's eye and I try harder with each redo. In the process, with each subsequent pot I become more self-conscious and sometimes squeeze the life out of them.

With these short runs of pots, I didn't get into that self conscious mode (as much). I wasn't thinking that I had 20 more to make and wasn't hoping that I would get a few really good ones. I was there with each one and then they were made. The cycle was shorter.

This is very difficult to explain, but my goal is to try to make 12-16 pots each morning and finish the pots from the day before after lunch. It's a slightly different model and will hopefully be steady and more manageable than table full of plastic.

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad


Michael Kline

I hope that this will be the last numerical cliche I will use this year, but I kind of doubt that I will be able to show such restraint. But this blog had to restart somewhere after a successful, restful holiday without blogging!

So, why make 12 by 12 when you can do 11 by 11 in '11? The sharply pointed winter light of the morning combined with the whiteness of this clay made it very difficult to work with my shades, but I fought through the visual pain of seeing/not seeing.

The clay is good, the hands a little forgetful, and the eyes squinting. That's how I began the first Monday of the year. More thoughts and ramblings will follow, but there are more pots to make today and I hope you will be along for the ride.

Until then...


Michael Kline

As I handle my mugs from yesterday and think about the next step for these pots I pause to share a little something that has struck me about this cup...

I was given this cup at the coffee house over at Penland and immediately noticed the pattern printed on it. It is a nice pattern of leaves that "flow" around 3/4 of the circumference of the cup and it shares the real estate with the following text,


The pattern is made up of leaves falling or flying, not ears of corn. So i had to think, was the pattern intended to enforce our perception of a green, sustainable, product and am I to start a compost pile made out of the leftovers my daily visits to the coffee house? Do handmade cups present overwhelming complications to the quick cup of coffee with their need to be washed, the burden of their bulky transport, their lack of spill control(i.e.plastic lid)? Makes we reflect on the question 'Why Craft now" which began last weekend's ACC Convenings.

With all of that said, I have to say that the pattern is seductively pleasant. More questions ( for myself primarily, but please chime in with your thoughts): can I create a similar seduction with my patterns and pots? How are the patterns I choose to decorate my pots helping or hindering this seduction?

In addition, I guess there are many stories in the naked city of sustainablility and the green production of pottery. Can or should potters compete with the paper cup? Is the paper cup better suited to our lifestyle than the handmade( i. e. well crafted) cup? I realize as I pose these questions that time and place play a major role in our choices. Just as the suggestion of composting one's paper cup is dependent on a next action or an inconvenience, depending on the situation one finds themselves in.

Well, I'd better bet back to those mugs. The inconvenient truth is that those cups won't 'handle' themselves. I'll chock it up for my 12x12 if I can.

Please help us sort these questions out. I know its a pandora's box. But, any takers?

Have a great day.

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone

12 X Noon

Michael Kline

So sorry it's taken me so long to edit all these entries in the 12 by 12 noon challenge. Of course we'll have to take everybody at their word and that these pots were made before noon!
It's gotta be noon somewhere in the world right(?) From what people were telling me in their emails, I gather that they had fun and it was a bit of a challenge! If anything, I have realized all of the things that get in our way that prevents us from making stuff in the mornings. I promised to get these pictures up yesterday and here I am scrambling to get them all organized and uploaded before the East Coast of the USA gets their 3 feet of snow and we lose electricity! So far here in the mountains, just rain.

The images are in reverse alphabetical order by first name. (no wonder I am cross eyed!)

Here we go!
a serene winter window
into will baker's shop
bakersville, nc

widge thorpe getting a jump on
this years holiday season

ron philbeck's dinner plates
waiting for goats, birds, and clothes lines

rebecca brandow's cups
with slip trailed(?)

keith phillips, who, btw, was
the first responder to the challenge
check out keith's great web site

was athens ga potter juana gnecco
looking at will baker's bowls?
great minds throw alike!
more of juana's work here

joy tanner spinning some bowls
up on bad creek.

john dorsey bottle collection.
see detailed shots here

joann axford's flock of 12!

12 glaze tests by blogger Jeanette Zeiss!

gang of 12
rah rah rah
by Scotland potter
Hannah McAndrew!

pods by 49th united state sculptor Cindy Shake

Abilene's finest, Brandon Phillips

Thanks everyone for the fun! I hope these pots are getting finished by this late hour and I look forward to seeing more of your work.

As for all you slackers out there, you had better send me your doctor's excuses soon or I'll have to dock your pay!
Have a great safe weekend.