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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: Imagery

Blue Monday (NOT)

Michael Kline

Blue tarp, yes, but gray skies.
I looked over my archive of images to remind myself of the motifs I might use again on the pots I'm about to paint. Someday I hope to catalog them. Motifs evolve slowly, some just appear out of nowhere (or so it seems). It all depends on my frame of mind and what books I may be looking at. It may also depend on pots that I have set aside to study. Sometimes a pot that didn't sell at whatever show, or just didn't impress me at the time I unloaded it, may be sitting on a shelf somewhere and I'll come across it with a more seasoned appreciation. My eyes are always changing.

SO these are some of the things I'm thinking about this morning as I look down on the kiln, which, after all, is the teacher.

Early Influence

Michael Kline

Way back in the early nineties I came across a catalog of a show that was given to my friend Mark Shapiro. The catalog was in German and I had long forgotten any German I had learned as a three year old living in Germany. Yet the pictures were very inspiring and, little did I know, the images of Roman Scheidel painting in this little book had the single biggest influence on my approach to surface in my pottery ever since.

catalog cover

tiles painted with wax resist

By some miracle I found this catalog recently while packing my old studio. I thought I had lost it. So I took a few pictures to give you an idea of what I am talking about. I have wanted to post them at an appropriate time and since I am in the midst of some decoration work, now is the time. Also I found his web site and you can see better images here of Mr. Scheidel's work, and if you read German you're in luck.
After seeing this catalog I commenced to learn all about painting with wax resist and using plant imagery. I wasn't quite ready to do figurative work as Scheidel had in the work, but I loved the beautiful brushwork of leaf imagery.

Roman Scheidel is an Austrian artist who is mostly a painter, but is also interested in dance and ceramics. In this catalog it is clear that he is working with a potter, Felix Vogler, to make the ceramics.

Kid Stuff

Michael Kline

I gave this pot over to Evelyn to decorate and this what she came up with. I think it's going to look nice with a few leaves and vines painted on. There is a small bird and an alien. below she has signed and dated it. The drawing reminds me of work Don Reitz had done with his neice way back when.

Penland Auction

Michael Kline

I'm not certain that I should do this... oh, what the hell, here is a sneak peek of the Penland Auction pieces that will be auctioned off on August 8, 9. Tickets to the Saturday auction are SOLD OUT! There isn't any info on the pieces yet, but an index was promised by Kate Boyd by week's end.

Overall I thought the images are stunning. The image of my piece isn't the best, it doesn't show the contrast of the decoration to well, but....then again I didn't take the picture. See my image of the pot here. Nice cat person Jenny! [See you in Iowa City.]

Monday, Monday

Michael Kline

A few views of my Monday.

I really love my Leach treadle wheel for cutting feet on bowls and throwing my tumblers, mugs, anything small. It's comfortably to sit on, and it's quiet. If you look closely you will see that I have a variety of foot treatments on these little bowls. I haven't made these in a good while and couldn't make up my mind. This is a form of sketching for me. The next round of these little bowls I will be more decisive and committed. I actually like the ones to the right that don't really have a foot ring. They're more flat bottomed, they make the rockin world go round.

From my studio wall. I love this little painting/print from a page in some art magazine. I'm starting to think pattern as the firing approaches and I always draw inspiration from the beautiful rendering in this image.

Paul Cushman Albany NY Potter

Michael Kline

Here are a few images from the Cushman book I mentioned in yesterday's post. Again these images are taken with my camera and don't reflect the fine quality of the original catalog. Pot
Paul Cushman (1767-1833)
Albany c. 1805-1833
salt-glazed stoneware
Albany slip glazed interior
coggling around upper waist
h. 13 in. diameter (at waist) 9 5/8 in
stamped on waist PAUL: CUSHMANs
Collection of Paul Cushman, Jr.

h. 12 1/8 in, diam. 10 in
Collection of Warren F. Hartmann

h. 14 3/4 in. diam (at waist) 10 5/8 in.
from the collection of A. J. Gambino

h. 10 in. diameter (at waist) 7 1/4in.
from the collection of Leigh Keno

from the description in the catalog of this interesting piece:
Exuberant best describes the uninhibited application of marks that crisscross this rotund jar. The marks assume a decorative function, segmenting the surface into horizontal bands and vertical halves. Most certainly the jar was intended as a presentation piece. The incised inscription"C Russell/ Pott/ Sunday" and the date 1809 offer some tantalizing clues to the vessel's history. Records show that Cushman purchased lots 9 and 10 on Lion St.(later Washington St) in Albany in 1805, yet the date 1809 is the earliest recorded on any Cushman stoneware. Does the date 1809 represent the beginning of production for Cushman, or at least the first firing? The Albany Directory of 1813 lists Caleb Russell, a mason living at 51 Deer St.( near State St). Could the "C Russell" incised on this jar be Caleb Russell who assisted Cushman with the building of his kiln? And could the jar have been a presentation piece to Russell to commemorate the first successful firing at the Cushman pottery, on a Sunday? Caleb Russell was also the fire inspector for Albany's 2nd ward, a large section of the city including the Public Square and the area west along Lion St. where Cushman had his pottery. This connection between Cushman and Caleb Russell seems more likely. Without a family history, however, the reason for the unusual marking may never be known for certain.
Follow this link if you would like to purchase your copy. You can also ask your local bookstore to order
ISBN 0-939072-15-7. or call the Albany Institute of History and Art: 518-463-4478.
I may offer my extra copy up in a contest to be announced. Check back.

Make Way For Chickens

Michael Kline

Yesterday, after posting that print of Mike's I realized that there is some sort of bird thing happening around here. Could it be that I'm a bird watcher? If you're a potter and bird watcher too, kind reader, do you use bird imagery? Please leave your comments. I love hearing from you and tell us where you're writing from. Here's a picture of our aracana hen, Silky.

Images from North German Folk Pots

Michael Kline

Here are a few pots from North German Folk Pottery with captions by the author. This first pot has a wonderful combination of brush marks and slip trailing. Click on any image for a larger view. Just exquisite.

The heron is framed left and right by stylized little trees and leafed plants. Around the border runs a wavy tendril with leaves and fruit. Two small holes above the heron served for hanging the dish and indicate its decorative function.
The heron was at one time very common in North Germany, especially in the coastal lowlands. However, one must assume that a picture such as this was not painted from nature but was transposed onto ceramics by copying a graphic illustration. One of the most important collections of bird pictures, repeatedly copied over a period of 150-200 years, was the work of copperplate engravings by the Dutchman, Adriaen Collaert (ca. 1560-1618), entitled Avium Vivae Icones and published in two volumes in 1580 and 1598. The native potter would almost certainly never have possessed such a work, but any copy would have enabled him to grasp correctly certain elements of the striding and the long dagger like beak, attributes which differentiate this bird from the crane or the stork, both native of North Germany at that time.

Here are four interesting links to Adriaen Collaert's "Avium Vivae Icones"
here here here here

This colander was probably used for washing and draining fresh vegetables and salad or, even more important, for draining cooked vegetables and potatoes. It could, if necessary, also be used for draining plain dumplings or semolina dumplings, which were served almost daily in one form or another; although for this purpose shallower colanders were usually used so that the dumplings would not be squashed together.

These pots were used everywhere to transport food over long distances
to fields, when the way back home at midday was too far;
or to carry food to sick people in the household or in the neighborhood. Such pots-usually more carefully decorated-could also be used for women in childbed.
In this function they are generally known in Denmark
as barselspand or barselpotte (bucket or pot for women in childbed).