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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: American Folk Art


Michael Kline

I think that we sometimes confuse the "longing for new ideas or forms"  with the fact that we are merely bored with what we are doing. It is pottery's challenge to us, to make it well, and to do so over and over again. So we repeat. But with repetition/reiteration comes staleness/boredom. It is good to be restless.

Every morning I have 2 soft boiled eggs. I am comforted by this habit, not to mention satisfied by it. What clicked in my head yesterday to change that habit was risky in a way. It risks the comfort, but it promises a payoff, maybe something exotic. The real motivation, or as Ron puts it, "longing", is boredom. Boredom with one's work is not necessarily a negative thing. Not recognizing when we are bored is. This recognition is as critical to making fresh work as an an egg is to one's sustenance.

Spruce Pine Bound

Michael Kline

stoke on trent, 1952

Thanks to everyone who chimed in on the previous post. It's always good to hear what you have to say! The show in Asheville is actually doing pretty well despite my whining and gnashing of teeth. Pots are selling! See some of the work that's been listed on-line, here.

And now it's the barge I load as I will be hauling my ballast to the Spruce Pine Potters Market for this weekend's annual star studded pottery show. Actually Spruce Pine is just 15 minutes away, and the "barge" is actually my old Ford truck. But aren't barge and ballast better images for my crockery? I've saved some good one's for this show. I'll post a preview tomorrow after John and I get them all set up pretty. There are plenty of jugs, jars, mugs, and plates, for you to come and haul way in your own sport utility pottery barge!

I am going make a special offer to my email subscriber's, so if you haven't signed up yet, whatcha waiting for?!?!? Click the join link to the right of this post.

More later.

Reconsidering Expectation

Michael Kline

From a conversation with old friends the other day, the topic of expectations came up as I described the opening in Asheville last weekend. What is it about this mental construct of expectation? As I work toward a goal such as a firing, or a gallery opening, I use my imagination to build a mental picture of the glazes, the finished pots, the gallery setting, and in this case the show! I've gotten used to the kiln blues and worked my way around them. Gallery shows are less frequent and still require a fair amount of work to over the obstacle of expectations.

My expectations for the opening at American Folk Art weren't exactly met but maybe that's more about my own megalomania than the economy! ;-) Hey, I had a good time talking with folks about "the work" and certainly enjoyed going out to dinner with Kyle's family and ours. But why wasn't I elbowing my way through a sea of pottery fanatics? Haa Ha...But wait! It was a beautiful evening and the smiles on the faces of the folks who came to the reception were warming and we had a great time. We laughed, we cried.....I'd love to hear how you deal with your own expectations. [I love your comments!]

Betsey-Rose did a fabulous job arranging the work and it was pretty exciting to see the drawings framed and on the wall! I brought my daily drawing book and was excited to show that off, too. I sort of wished I had taken some of the better drawings out of it to frame. But it is a treasure to me and I thought it best to keep it intact. I'll definitely do more books! The paper plates were the most fun and I gave them to folks who bought pots as a little gratuity for their patronage.

So I'm on to the next one, which is actually more than just one. I am back in the shop making a few pots for a wood firing with Courtney Martin next week. Just a few more to make before I start decorating and glazing the pots that didn't get treatment during the last firing cycle. But first it's the Spruce Pine Potters Market this coming weekend and I'll dust off my booth and set it up with John on Friday for the big weekend.

I'll just have to avoid the disappointment of high expectations!!

Hint: I'm working on a special offer to the subscribers to my email newsletter. So if you aren't signed up, click the Join link on the right side of the blog. Thanks.

Thursday Meow

Michael Kline

Getting back to work isn't so easy. Ron's having a good discussion over at his blog about "warming up". Pottery 4play, if you will. Go on over and enter the fray. In the meantime I was reminded of this quote by Chuck Close (thanks go to adjunct potter John Simmons):

CC: Inspiration is for amateurs. The rest of us just show up and get to work and the belief that things will grow out of the activity itself and that you will, through work, bump into other possibilities and kick open other doors that you would never dream up if you were just sitting around looking for a great art idea. And that a belief in that the process, in a sense, is liberating and that you don’t have to reinvent the wheel everyday. Today you know what you will do, you could be doing what you were doing yesterday and tomorrow you are going to do what you did today and at least for a certain period of time if you can just work to hang in there, you will get somewhere.

'nuff said. Thanks Chuck.

Now it's on to the next one.
Speaking of next one's, Courtney Martin and I are joining forces for the next wood firing on Snow Creek Rd. It'll be at her place on the 15th. Time to get busy decorating and glazing all of the pots that didn't make it into 36 and make a few more to fill out the showroom.

My show officially opens in Asheville tomorrow night and it's also online. Looks like there are still a few pieces left. ;-) Hope to see you there!

Also I sent out my latest Mail Chimp e-newsletter. If you didn't get it you're not signed up for my list. Click here to receive your copy!

American Folk Art Housecall

Michael Kline

American Folk Art owner Betsey-Rose Weiss (l) and her friend Patty came by this morning to pick up the work for the show. How's that for service? It was a beautiful crisp morning and we had a great time looking over the work that will be in my show opening Friday night in Asheville.

I know a lot of you will be in Southern Pines for the Clay 'n' Blogs Show, and I'm so sorry that I won't be there. And to everyone in the Asheville area, I hope to see you there. I can't wait to unveil some of my ink drawings that I made for the show. More later. Thanks!

Ramping Up the Creativity Curve

Michael Kline

More plates from today and some sketches in ink from a couple of days ago. It's a slow start but that how is usually is at a beginning of a cycle. I'll have help in the coming weeks and hopefully July will be a big month!

I'll be working on the 2D work for the October solo show at American Folk Art in Asheville, NC in the coming weeks as well. I have a lot of ideas but doesn't anybody? The difficult part is, always, producing good work. My plan is to make time every day and space in my studio to explore some of these ideas and work through the "creativity" curve to get to the other side of those ideas. Just as the pottery comes out of the kiln in a far more interesting way than I had "imagined", my drawings will, hopefully, take a similar journey.
More to come.


Michael Kline

Here's another drawing. This one is on tracing paper and it was scanned for this image. I like the light and dark that was created during the scan. Like my salt slip on my pots there is a lot of variation with a simple palette. The drawing has been fixed on the side of our fridge with magnets and the ink has faded from being in the sun and next to our stove. There may be a little sauce as well. Quite a lot to list in it's description if it ever makes it to the show in October! See how the drawing looked in this post from the past!