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Use the form on the right to contact Michael Kline!

192 Jim Boone Rd
Bakersville, NC, 28705
United States

828-675-4097

The central information hub for Michael Kline Pottery, a small one man shop of pottery making in the mountains of western North Carolina.

Thanks for visiting.

The Best of Sawdust and Dirt

A record of the goings on around Michael Kline Pottery!

Filtering by Tag: Lillian

Princess Grae and Queen Anne

Michael Kline







I'm yawning as I try to remember some of the thoughtful thoughts I had during my day. It was a great day, but it's late and I'm fading. [no nap] Courtney and Grae stopped in today and 1 y.o. Grae thought she would help an old guy out and wedge some clay.  Her ambition is amazing! My kids just ignore me when I ask them to do anything. ;-(

I went back to my old way of stacking sections and it was just fine. I have been using the more traditional capping technique for a while now, but I wanted to get a more ovoid shape. With capping I tend to get a taller shape, not as round. I was pleased with the shapes!  I'll put collars on top of these tomorrow to finish the necks.

On my walk home this evening I took some pictures of the Queen Anne's Lace in the field. Seems to be a bumper crop this year. Maybe it's on some kind of super productive cycle this year?! I love the lines of the drooping blossoms and the delicacy of the leaves and flowers. But in the coming days I will have to cut it all down as I prepare the grounds for next month's Cousins in Clay!! Mark and Sam are coming down from MA and Bruce and Sam(antha) are coming over from Seagrove. I'm totally consumed with planning, but it's all coming together and it should be a blast.

Just have to few pots before then!

Reiteration

Michael Kline



Where did Monday go?

It's been a very busy week with pottery making and extracurricular activities, but a good week.

Ron and I talked a bunch last Saturday on our drive to Seagrove and the Pottery Center. Ron's a great listener and by letting me blather on about this way new way of approaching my studio practice, I have come to a better understanding of how it is working. It's working really well. The way it is working is very interesting to me. Since I am making much smaller batches of pots each day while trying to finish the previous day's work, I realize that I am returning to whatever form several times every few days. Instead of making 40 mugs in a day, I am making those 40 over several days. In the same way that one "sleeps on" an important decision to get perspective, I feel that making these small batches allow me to return to the form more frequently and the pot's reiterations happen several times during the week. Each time getting closer to the ideal I set out when making a form, whether it is a cup or a teapot. In my previous model, I would set out to make 40 mugs, and somehow get overwhelmed by the number and lose touch with the freshness that that first pot off the wheel sometimes have.

I guess I talked about this in a previous post.

The takeaway from this week is that engagement is altered and focused in a much different way with a good night's sleep and the subsequent "redo".

I am anxious to introduce some surface considerations and brushwork to the daily mix. I began yesterday by doing some slip combing on some tumblers. I feel like my thoughts are still clarifying and will write again when I have my little epiphanies. But the flip side of my current process is that I am not stopping as often to ponder (i.e. write blog posts or tweets.), but moving immediately into another little grouping of pots. It's exhilarating, really, like a nice through the field with Evelyn and Lillian!

I Should Be Making Pots!

Michael Kline

a picture taken by Evelyn of her old Papa throwing some porcelain

So much for my 12x12 this morning. Instead, I'm grinning and marveling at my wondrous new Apple Cinema Display! Finally I can take the old Compaq VGA (circa 1998) to the local second hand store! The color, the brightness, and the wide screen on this 20" monitor is kind of freaking me out! I realize now what I've been missing. I may have to go back and recalibrate all of the images on the blog for the last couple of years (since I inherited this awesome Mac G5). The Compaq VGA monitor has been fine, but I always had a hunch that the color wasn't quite right. But I guess you make do with what you have, right?

Well I might as well catch you up in studio news, while you've taken the time to visit.

I finally planned the firings for the year and coordinated dates of shows, exhibits, etc with firing dates! I also went ahead and penciled in 2012 as well, since there are already shows I've committed to for next year.

I made a dozen more plates and bowls in Matt and Dave's Porcelain (for the People) Sunday. The weather was gorgeous and it was the first time in a good while that I wasn't bothered when the girls came into the shop without closing the door! I even let the wood stove take the day off!

I glazed the earthenware pots for the Montessori School Literary Tea Project. I should get them into the kiln shortly and glaze them up!

Today, I also plan on doing some painting of the porcelain bisque for the upcoming cone 7 glaze firings in the revamped L & L eKiln! Very exciting! I'm going to do some glaze tests to experiment with my wood kiln glazes at that temperature, too.

Well, I'd better get with it and get up to the shop . Here is a another picture from our Sunday in paradise where we see the heir to my brushe collection painting a tea cup! Have a great week, be productive, Love what you do, and take a chance!

Got Pottery?

Michael Kline



I guess a lot of folks got a flip video camera for Christmas, including Evelyn! Here's a little pottery review I made before dinner last night. I can't guarentee there will be more videos here on the blog, but if I can get someone to do voice overs or if I don't have to speak I will be more motivated. It's sort of like hearing your OGM on your voicemail. Weird.

Today is a snow day and I plan on getting the girls involved in a photo shoot up in the studio!

"Film at 11"

Painting/Glazing Highlights

Michael Kline


As usual, I'm completely (well, almost) tapped from getting the pots painted, glazed, and ready to fire. Lucky for me, Courtney loaded the entire kiln! I don't have a lot to say. I just wanted to post a few pictures of the painting session (in no particular order) and make some ever so brief comments and then it's off to dreamland so I can be an effective stoker in the a.m.!

Thoughts?

horse-rabbit?

couldn't go wrong with the brush marks in this one.
flowin'!

trying to incorporate my style of leaves.
combing included free of charge.


we'll see if these wiped highlights show up
in the fired article.
a visitor to my studio recently asked if I took notes.
If you are trying something new, take a picture!

big pitcher with random leaf and
dots deco

lillian and her ballerina cup

iron, copper, cobalt

the stack

Stepping Over the Line (the deadline, that is)

Michael Kline

When it comes to deadlines, I'm the worst. Last Friday was my deadline for last wet day, meaning, last day to make pots. But I moved it to today as there are a few things I still want to make.
  • quart pitchers
  • half gallon jars
  • tall vases
  • more yunomi and tumblers
I'm not sure if this is realistic considering the plastic that covers the pots on my table, but we'll see. I have until 3:30 this afternoon (when the girls come home from school, and maybe after supper. But the late nights are wearing me down and I'm going to try to get earlier starts in the morning during my deco/glaze days.


The girls have been working on their ornaments for the studio sale in December. Lillian was working overtime on her drawing (l) and Evelyn decided to make ornaments of her hands and feet! My little elves wanted to listen to some mood music so I cued up last.fm for some streaming Christmas tunes. I got into the fun too and mostly made round ornaments that I will paint and glaze for the upcoming firing at Courtney's.

Well, I'm off to the studio for my 24X 12! I hope everyone had a great weekend and will be as productive as I hope to be this week!

Thanks for reading!

Penland Ramble

Michael Kline

it all started with lunch with lillian and stacey
under the veranda by the pines

which was after a morning at kid's craft camp







kathy steinsberger in the
letterpress shop


exhaust fans in the
printmaking shop

a view through the letterpress shop


john davis who made the movable
book above and below
, based on some painted barns near cameron, nc



also in Emily Martin's books class
were many delightful "tunnel"
books like the one above






i had nothing to do with the above design.
it predates my influence at penland!

pattern everywhere!!

i thought it would be cool to
photograph the fields at Penland from the air.

then I saw this!

damn, scooped again!
see the fall offerings at penland
here


lillian took many of these pictures. she
really has a knack for it. i took this one of her
at the end of a wonderful afternnoon at the
Penland School.

thanks for letting me indulge in this photo essay.

Chicks and Marriage

Michael Kline

nine years ago Stacey and I got married
in the little church over at Penland!
[photo by Nancy Barnett]

Wow 9 years!! Where does the time go? I guess time does fly when your having kids and making a home. I guess I forgot to mention keeping a pottery business afloat , and building a kiln and studio! It's been a blast, Stacey!

So, like so many parents with kids we'll celebrate our anniversary with the girls tonight after their swimming lessons and then hopefully we'll get away (sans kids) on a date by ourselves to hear some music, have a nice dinner, and use big words of affection while gazing lovingly into each others eyes!! I just hope that I'll remember some "grown up" words!

:)

Speaking of girls, I just couldn't help share these pictures Lillian took last night of the new chicks in our hen house!



These are just a couple from the 150 or so that I just downloaded from the camera!! Ha! She's really been enjoying taking pictures with the old FujiPix. When I was Lillian's age (1967) the camera and it's film were reserved for special occasions with the occasional snapshots. With digital cameras it's become almost too easy to snap off a few hundred. But it's pretty cool that she's getting into taking pictures!

In other news I'm getting ready to do some drawings and paintings for a show I'll have this coming October at the American Folk Art Gallery in Ashville. Betsey Rose and I have been planning a great show of new pots, as well as some new drawings in ink and other goodies, TBA. You'll see it first here so stay tuned.

here is one from a few years ago that
hangs in my showroom.

Last Wet Week

Michael Kline

red dirt harvest!

As I head into the last wet week, I finally have a batch of red dirt, the first since November! But it looks like I won't have the time to mix it with the fire-clay and feldspar till next session! That's OK, I probably have enough left from the reclaim batch I just ran through the pug mill for the coming week. It's exciting to get this clay in my hands finally after what seems like a "non-profit" process! I just need to come up with a more efficient way to process the dirt.

new cut rim and compressed platter edge

When I make the small plates with the cut edge, all seems right. But When I make bowls or platters I don't feel that the cut edge is helping the pots, especially bowls. Today I made 10 12-14 lb. bowls and platter/bowls with wide lips. [sorry, no proud picture of the table full of big bowls. I'll try to remember to brag tomorrow]I don't intend to cut the edges. I'll just paint a design on the rim, instead. But the last couple of these I had an idea to cut the edge on the wheel directly after they were thrown and while the clay is wet. One of the main reasons I don't do this until after the foot ring is cut, is to avoid cracks that result from the downward pressure of the trimming tools. The cut edges are somewhat compromised, structurally and tended to crack at the cut edge.

So my idea was to cut the edge while it was wet and then slowly compress the rim from both above and below the cut edge. As my friend Pat would say about now, "You with me?"
The result was pretty nice, I thought, so I made another. By compressing the edge just a bit I might avoid cracking, but the firing will have the last say on this matter!
After supper I made a few knob and all pill box jars. These were some of my favorite pots in the last firing, so I want to continue to cover this one to see where I can take it. Well it's very late as I write this but I wanted to jot don a few of these ideas before I went off to dreamland! Tomorrow is a short day as I get to pick up the girls from school and do something fun with them.

The girls were practicing their bike riding tonight. Evelyn is riding well on her own and Lillian is still on training wheels. But they're both are getting a lot better! It's hard around here to find a flat and safe road without a lot of traffic. So we wait till after supper when traffic slows down to get out on our stretch of Snow Creek Rd. Stacey bought some bright orange traffic cones for the road and I think I'll leave them out there. It's amazing how much slower (and quieter) people go around them!! But that may not fly for long.

Well that's all for now. The week ahead promises to be kind of crazy with the deadlines approaching, so hang on!

Backstory: 34, The Firing

Michael Kline


the stack for #34

As I gather my thoughts about the events surrounding the loading and firing of the kiln, my first thought is that you wouldn't believe me if I told you. But I guess I've decided to try to tell, anyway. Since I took a bunch of pictures of all of the calm moments, but none of the near disastrous ones, you'll just have to give me the benefit of the doubt. OK?

Tim Ayers came down from Penland to help me glaze my pots and eventually load the kiln. Tim and I worked steadily, mixing glazes and dipping pots. But I must have been in la-la-land to think we could glaze all 300 pots (usually a long days work anyway) and load the kiln (usually a ten hour job) in time for me to get a few hours sleep before starting the firing early Sunday morning! It just didn't add up, but we carried on. [Maybe this is a clue as to why I didn't make it in engineering school so many years ago??!! But, wait, this is simple math! ]

Not to dwell on long ago failures........after a couple of speed bumps during the loading (read: after stopping to glaze more pots) I found my energy lagging as I began the second tier of shelves. It was after supper and I continued to feel a kind of dread. I was thinking at the time that almost every step of the way during the past week had resulted in some minor disaster due to my poor planning. My resolve to work at all hours was getting me only so far and time was crunching down on me.

Then out of nowhere, the storm hit. My kiln shed is pretty big, but it doesn't have siding and it completely open to the weather. When the rain comes down (and horizontal) everything gets wet. And it did that night around 9 p.m. I couldn't cover the pots with tarps, because the wind would gather up the tarps and sling the pots away. I just held on and prayed that the storm would pass quickly. It didn't. Just when things seemed to calm down so I could focus back on the loading, another wave would come through. Very high winds and lashing rain continued. Like sea captain tied to the steerage of his ship, so I seemed tied to the kiln. I stayed on course to get the pots out of the rain and into the kiln!

As I worked through the storm I noticed, and was very grateful, that it was fairly balmy for this time of the year. I should have know what that might mean. shortly after this realization, of course, the thunder and lightning came! So now I'm listening to the "thrash metal band" of trees being bent over by the high winds, tin roofing that covered a wood pile flying away in the dark, and thunderous cracks exploding all around. No one should have been out in that, much less loading a kiln. But being in the state of denial that I was in, I kept telling myself, like the little engine that could, to "keep going, that the storm would pass", etc.

The storm continued for more than an hour and then the next plague: power outage! HA! Of course, just when I thought it couldn't get any worse it did! When any rational, sane person would seek shelter and say the hell with it, I thought in my own seemingly rational way, ..."well, let's see, I can get a flashlight, headlamp, kerosene lamp, etc" So I did. I retooled to finish my job.

The volunteer firemen had the road blocked down below with a powerline down from a fallen tree and the only lights were the flashing reds and my florescent battery powered lamp I was using to load my kiln. Eventually, the rains slowed and the winds moved on to terrorize the next county over. Eventually the firemen got curious to know what was happening with the back and forth moving light up on the hill. They drove up my road thinking they was some kind of arcing power line or something, but they just found a half crazed potter trying to load his kiln. What a strange sight that must have been, to walk up to this dark shed with this big shadowy hulk of a kiln and chimney and a funny looking soaking-wet guy with a hand held lamp going in and out of said kiln! I tried to explain my dire predicament. What part of deadline and loading a pottery kiln did they not understand?! Ha! They were glad that everything was "OK" and chuckled as they walked back to their truck with their flashlights. I got the kiln loaded eventually by about 2 a.m. The power company brought their cherry picker to fix the line and I sadly watched as they drove on down the road, but still no power. Damn. I guess there were more lines down. So I decided to rest a bit and wait until the power came back on to put the door up. It came back on around 4 a.m. and I woke up and went to work on bricking up the door. The door bricks are in pretty bad shape and I made a firm note to replace the bricks before next firing. Also I noticed the door of the kiln is spreading a bit. So the picture below shows how much chinking I needed to fill the gap!


After making this epic confession of poor planning and bad luck, I'll try to keep the rest brief and leave it to the captions. After all, I have a kiln to unload today!

this is how it all starts

balmy sunrise through the pines after the storm

like a dog soaked to the bone, my shed

my clay pit flooded with about three feet of water.
proof of the big rain!

later that afternoon the weather had another surprise, sleet

Lindsay Rogers stoking, notice the smile on her face and the
snow/sleet on the ground?


Lillian tooling up for her stoke!

staying warm by the kiln

Salt! Success!

I realized that our damp stack of wood was disappearing and that we needed maybe another half hour of stoking to get the temp we needed. So I used my "phone a friend/lifeline" and called Courtney and John up the road to take them up on their offer of dry wood. Courtney's kiln is just 0.8 mile up the road and it has the same firebox length, so the wood is the perfect length for my kiln, too! We barely used half of what they brought and got the kiln even all around thanks to Lindsay's great stoking. The Snow Creek Pottery Posse rides again! Thanks Lindsay, Thanks Courtney!!

By 11 p.m. the epic firing was over, and as all potters must hope in a moment like this, when all has been done that can be done, I hoped for a good firing.

Check back (if you have the time) to see pictures from the kiln!!!

If you're still reading, thanks for indulging me to recount this crazy epic.

Afternoon Visitors

Michael Kline


The girls came up to the studio after school for some earthenware fun. They both made a bunch of pots on the treadle wheel. Can you guess who did the kicking?

Even after all of the fun, Evelyn said she would rather be a jeweler, like her Mom! I guess you can't win'em all.

XXXIII

Michael Kline


i need a stamp, too many roman numerals!

It's getting old, this non-stop beautiful weather. But I should't complain! So far, November has been very nice. No doubt when I do need some serious drying weather it will begin to rain.


how do you eat an elephant?
one bite at a time...

One of the many fronts I'm battling this Fall is catching up on our firewood. I bought two truck loads of logs last summer (when I should have cut them) and we have slowly been cutting and splitting. I decided that if the weather was good I would cut or split wood while I listened to the hour- long podcast of NPR's Fresh Air. It's a good increment of swinging the axe.


Somehow Lillian swiped this little hollow rimmed at the Spruce Pine show last month. I guess it's OK that they want my pots. I get to see them in action. It looked real nice with the tomato soup that the girls brewed up for brunch. But I'll have to go through our rapidly filling cupboards pile high with Klineware for the annual Holiday studio tour in December.

It's time to head back up to the studio for some after supper pottery making. Hope all had a great day, where ye are.

Additions to the Collection

Michael Kline

,4 new pots!

It's been a busy week of online commerce and Etsy-ness and I'm chomping to get back in the studio and to make some pots, already, YO! But, alas, there's more packing and shipping to do tomorrow. I've been a little under the weather today and just lazing around and doing paper work. I thought I would catch ya'll up on some new pots that have graciously entered our life here on Snow Creek Rd.

The beautiful little jug on the left came all the way over the ocean in Ron Philbeck's suitcase! Doug Fitch, my Devonshire blogging buddy sent it over! What a treat to be holding on to this sweet pot. I'm sure it will be of help when I get back to making pitchers! It has such a beautiful patina that I'm going to refrain from using the dishwasher and hand wash it. heehee. But it has already been host to some iron weed clippings we made while walking the puppy, Jack. It's a most welcome addition to the British wing in our museum!

walkin' the dawg

Lillian taking a swigg!

A few weeks ago a package arrived in the mail from New England! In it was this beautiful wood fired bottle with nice fish stopper from my old buddy Tom White. Tom's been making pots up there in Northfield, Massachusetts for a good while and recently has been firing the wood kiln over at Sam Taylor's place where this piece was fired. It has a most rich surface and holds a good bit of tea. (tee hee hee, that is)

Next in our lineup of super-star pots comes this yankee-mingei jar made by CT potter (as well as potter buddy), Louise Harter. We picked this little gem up at the Liz Summerfield Benefit Auction a couple of weeks ago. I love thinking of Louise wiping her fingers across this just dipped pot and freezing the moment with fire! Thanks for donating it to the cause Louise. We must talk soon, it's been too long!!

small jar by Michael Simon

Last but not least, it was my great surprise to find this jar at a local sale for our animal shelter. I spotted it across the crowded room as if it had a tractor beam of hotness transporting me towards it. It is pot made by my teacher and friend, Michael Simon! To seize the pot, I practically tackled the people that stood between me and the table where this little gem sat. I snatched it up and guarded it with my life as I approached the checkout table! Well, actually Stacey took it up to the check out table and threw down the bucks! [thanks sweetie] I'm the luckiest guy on earth! I am guessing it may have been made while Michael was teaching here at Penland as he did many times. I ran in to Paulus at the sale and he thought it was from the late eighties! Ha! In 1989 I took a pivotal spring concentration at Penland with Michael that changed my potters life forever. Hmmmmm. Maybe this jar was made during that workshop? Hmmmmmm. Wouldn't that be something?

Well, that's it for now. Just thought I would touch base with everyone who's out there reading and share these pots with you. I hope you'll come and visit our little corner of the world some day. When you do, let's sit down and look at some pots!

Birthday Girl!

Michael Kline


It's going to be a beautiful blue Monday here. Well, maybe, rain in the forecast. But that won't stop us from partying with our little Lillian who is 5 today!

Happy birthday Lillian Kline!

Here are five bowls for Lillian, well, not really, they're for the upcoming firing.

Penland Gallery Pot

Michael Kline

one side of a 3 gallon jar
h. 13"

Kathryn Gremley invited me to be part of a show representing the Penland Gallery at the Sparta Teapot Museum. I'll try to get the specifics of the show and pass them on to you all, soon. But for now some informal pictures of the piece I sent. If you click on the image(s) you can see more details, like the incised eagle/hawk that I copied from one of Lillian's school assignments. The incising is done while the clay is leatherhard. The vine patterns are painted on the pot after it has been bisque-fired. With the last series that I did I tried to incorporate the incised patterns instead of obscuring them with brushwork. It's a tricky proposition, but one I find interesting, of course. More to come soon. I'm getting ready for a big show at the Ferrin Gallery and I will trying all kinds of new stuff! So stay tuned!

the other side