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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: ATF

Time To Clean The Shop Pots

Michael Kline

After the Firing, or as it became known in Stonepool parlance as ATF, is that special time reserved for all the things that should have been done, if it weren't for the rigorous demands leading up to a wood firing. Because after the firing there's the waiting.

One of the things that I managed to do today in my dazed-zombie-potter state was to bring the mugs down from the shop for their periodic washing. Coffee, morning noon and night, delivered by these great and noble cups, helped me make it through this unreasonable workload of a cycle.

Like a lot of folks, my dad drank coffee to make it through his work day. Lots of it. It's just one thing we had in common. He was born on this day on 1929. I really do miss him.

Still Waiting

Michael Kline

I sort of took a day off on Tuesday.

There's much to do to prepare for the solo show in Asheville, attend to all the business stuff that I dropped to focus on the final push, etc. There's still a mess of slip and glaze to be mopped up in the shop. But I put a few things away and made room for the pots!!

All in all, though, it was a restful day. It felt odd not to be pushing so hard every minute and felt good that the work had been done. As it always does. There's so much satisfaction and relief that comes when that last brick goes into the door of the kiln and the fire is lit. As if the hard part was done and that the firing would be the frosting on the cake. But I can only say that because I always have a great crew that helps out tending to the fire. John Simmons brought all of his wood firing experience to bear and allowed me to take a nap while he single handedly made the transition from the lower firebox to the grates. A job that usually take two!

Alan Gratz made his first appearance since his teaching trip to Japan last Spring. He was focused and steady with his stokes and claimed at one point that he was "born to burn"!! (T-shirt idea!)

Micah Cain stopped by and helped us develop the new salting technique. While John cut the 1/2 inch thick boards to length, Micah loaded the boards up with salt. We then inserted the boards between the opposing stoke doors and rested them there so that the salt vaporized almost completely before the board was consumed. All the while Alan kept the firebox full of wood. [I have pictures on my phone to put here later, sorry]

Last night I took a peek into the kiln which was still about 450°F. Without melting my lense, I got this shot of a big jug with some pinkish blushes from the back of the kiln! I will get it unloaded on Thursday. With 3 inches of fiber insulation, it takes a while to really cool down, and I'm still a little gun-shy from my dunting in the past.

Do Over

Michael Kline

bigger and better around the heap of dropped jugs.
1,2,3, and 4 gallons

First of all I wanted to thank all of those who sent their condolences on Facebook yesterday (and this morning). It was just what I needed after yesterday's minor tragedy.

What tragedy you ask?

Well, In my hurrying around, I decided to put some freshly slipped jugs on a ware board that was wider than the wall brackets it was resting on. As I placed the third jug on the board it tipped toward me and there was a lot of dancing to somehow save them from hitting the floor, but to no avail. After much very loud cussing and throwing down of my cap I called it a day and headed down the hill in disgust. I knew that the shelf was for narrow boards and not the wide one that was on there! So I kicked myself around for a while and decided I'd better leave the scene before I started to break other things in my rage.

So after supper I decided that there was only one thing to do. Make the pots over. Although I had planned on painting a bunch of mugs and bowls to kick off the deco round, I decided that for my own good I would get "back on the horse" and get"back" to the wheel and knock out some more jugs.

So now I really don't have time for this blog to tell you about the auction at the pottery center, nor show you some interesting pictures I've been taking of the budding trees and shrubs around our "estate", nor expound on the transition I make in the shop from throwing pots to deco-rotating and glazing. Maybe ATF!*

Until then, take it from me, be careful out there!

To quote my old college buddy, Ward Wampler, "Gravity. It's not only a good idea, it's the law!"

*after the firing