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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: Alex Matisse

Today and Tomorrow

Michael Kline

After a couple of days of stoneware I hopped back on treadle wheel for my 12x12, this morning. The juggling act may be more than I am able to handle. The clays are so different. But it makes everything in the studio a little edgier, a little more challenging. But isn't making pots in the 21st century challenging enough? Couldn't I be content with the edginess that already exists in my studio? Turner claims that David Shaner only made porcelain in the winter when the snow was on the ground. I can totally relate to that instinct, but I am going to try to stretch it out into spring, maybe summer. I was talking to Kyle today and had the thought that another power wheel may just be the ticket, freeing up the treadle for trimming. Not in the budget (for now). Meanwhile I worked on Ellen Denker's newest post which I hope to upload for your reading pleasure very soon. Tomorrow is a wood cutting day with John followed by a mini road trip to the big city of Asheville for cornmeal and coffee. Actually, John and I are heading over to see Tom's new pots, then to Asheville to pick up some pots from American Folk Art, followed by a trip to Kyle carpenter's pottery empire to see the progress of his kiln rebuild. Then it's off to Alex Matisse's for the monthly gathering of the NC Clay Club!

Got all that? Maybe we'll see you somewhere along the line.

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone

The Kilns of Madison County

Michael Kline

not a kiln
Yesterday, I visited one of my favorite places in the mountains, Madison County. The landscape is full of beautiful communities and small farms. Although there are a lot of bridges to cross the many creeks that flow through it, this won't be a survey of the many bridges, kilns (or barns) of Madison County.

I was in Madison Co. to help Alex Matisse and some friends lay some brick for a new wood kiln. Alex Matisse is back to blogging and you can catch up with the news at East Fork here! It was a hot day, but under the beautiful post/beam kiln shed, a breeze kept us happy.

I had forgotten how much I enjoyed building with brick! Especially the beautiful brick Alex had recently hauled up from Alabama. As I laid the brick I began to think about a new kiln that I hope to build in the coming years. I've been feeling a little cramped in my kiln for a while, especially when I load big pots, but what an investment of time and money! I remember what seemed like an eternity to finish my current kiln and the stress that it was for Stacey and I. But now that the studio is relatively finished, I can think about the future!

It's OK to dream, right?
Well, it's time to get back to drawing and potting!

Here are a couple of shots of the new kiln at East Fork.
keeping it plumb.
from l to r, Alex Matisse, Matt Jones, and James Ward

at the end of the day
quite a few bricks were laid

Faces of 35

Michael Kline

Sorry readers, but I had too busy a day to sit down and sum up the firing. Maybe tomorrow? I've got a lot to do to get the place ready for our 1st Annual Kiln Opening!!! With the usual cleanup after a deco-rotation session in the studio, I also realized that the whole place needs a makeover by Friday!

Here are some of the faces of the firing of the kiln. Can't thank these folks enough!

lillian stoking in her jammies!

David Andrews still chipper after the"overnight"
David's son Elijah stoking the fire
Evelyn waiting her turn

Keith Phillips came out to lend a hand
and help me innovate a new salting technique!

Keith's son Greyson after retrieving the
salt board from the middle of the pond!

Alex Matisse staying cool
and hamming it up for the camera.

I have more pictures and video that I hope to share with you sometime soon. The firing went very well, considering my fatigue and near exhaustion from working the long hours for the last 3 weeks to get it all done. It was a beautiful day for a firing. The wind was a little gusty, but it had just a minor effect on the the overall firing.

The firing started at about 3:30 a.m. and ended about 9 the following night. The temperature was a little hotter than last firing by design. The majority of the load was made from a commercial stoneware and not my red dirt stoneware.

Tomorrow is Lillian's birthday and we're heading in top the big city of Asheville. I'll be pressing the overalls so's I'll be able to celebrate in style!

Until the next chance I get to sit down and compose...thanks for reading and supporting blogs about pottery!

Better Quit My Ramblin' Ways

Michael Kline

Not a whole lot of dirt being spun these early days of 2010. Today was a sawdust day, indoors. I'm wrapping up my wood working projects and making room for clay mixing later this week. I put another coat of bright red paint on the girls new bookshelf and cut braces and bed frames for their loft bed.

I'm getting itchy for some clay work as the spring show and exhibit deadlines loom in the not so distant future. It's hard to think about Spring in this winter wonderland (more snow this morning!). But I was just talking to Robert up at the Builder's Supply and he was flipping through the calendar on the wall to March 14th, the day we spin the clocks forward! Alas, the wood pile are covered in snow and buckets sit just outside the shop frozen solid, and to get the pots to market for the NCECA conference shows and the Catawba Valley Pottery Show in March, I've got to get spinning, and SOON! As Gary would say, "Holy Cats!"

I had a great visit with Tom Turner, yesterday, at his place in Mars Hill. Tom went to Jingdezhen China in November and brought back lots of goodies that we went over before and after a deli lunch in town. I had the cheeseburger and Tom had the B B Q while we discussed the how we would rock the pottery world in the months to come!

After lunch we swung by to visit Matt K and Shoko T at their mountaintop retreat/pottery fiefdom. I'm glad I didn't try to drive the Soobie up that road. I think the grade was just shy of 45º. Shoko and Matt are getting ready for spring shows, too. We're going to both be showing with Ferrin Gallery at NCECA with a few other of the Ferrin stable of studio potters. Here's the ride down the mountain.

Anyway. What was I talking about? Oh yea, Matt and Shoko making pots in their mountain top in Marshal...Here are a couple of shots in their studio of some pots Matt is making for Shoko to decorate.

And here is what keeps there shop so cozy on their windy mountain top.

Afterwards we stopped in on Alex "ain't gonna work on Hewitt's pottery farm no more" Matisse. He was doing some work on the homestead and getting ready to build a kiln shed. No pictures from that visit although we did see some fine pottery on display in his old farmhouse. Maybe I'll get back over there to help raise a post or a beam on that kiln shack he's gonna build and I'll bring my good camera.

Well, this blog has rambled on just like my day in Madison County. Tom's pots will have to wait till I get some more of my wood working done tonight. But I have some cool stuff to show you from Tom's collection of Ohio and Connecticut stoneware as well as his Chinese pots! Check back!

Thanks for reading.

Hewitt Kiln Opening

Michael Kline


I almost forgot to mention (until I instinctively picked up a Mark Hewitt mug this morning to have coffee)! Today and tomorrow you can go over to Mark's in Pittsboro and buy some fresh pots. It's Alex's last kiln load as Mark's apprentice and last chance you Piedmonter's can get his pots in your neighborhood. If not this weekend, you'll have to drive out to Mars Hill to get'em. And then you better stop at my place first!
alex matisse

Here's the preview of Hewitt pottery!

Big Rain and the Hatch

Michael Kline

Had a nice conversation with Alex tonight about those wall pockets. It was good to hear he was tying flies in hopes for some fishing here in the hills sometime soon. Meanwhile outside there was a lot of rain as I hustled jars that had been sitting outside under the roof to catch a breeze and be dry for the big kiln loading. With the rain came some big hatch of teeny little flies that were sneaking in through the open door and hovering near the lights! I'll save a few for Alex.

I didn't follow my boss's advice to start painting today, and instead, continued to throw a few more large platters. I lost a couple in the bisque kiln and thought it would be worth squeezing in. The cracked platters had been stacked with sand in between and had little hairline cracks. Damn!

I worked on cleaning up the wall pockets and cutting holes in the backs. I first took a fettlin' knife to the edges and them smoothed them with a chamois. When I came in this morning several had cracked from being too wet from the throwing and then being closed in the throwing. Alex says that he thoroughly dries the interior before he closes the forms. That should do it for me. My red dirt is really prone to cracking in its wet state. So I spent some time repairing the cracked ones and had an idea to try to "dart" some in the future. One of the intriguing changes that happen when one flattens a thrown form is how that form changes. Exciting, huh? Welcome to my world of pottery intrigue!

Anyway, I shuffled and organized the bisque ware and pots still needing to be. It's becoming clear that there won't be time or room in my electric kiln to bisque everything, so the last few pots will be raw glazed, bone dry glazed.

The punch list is bigger than I thought and I'll start hitting it in the a.m.

So long for now.