Get in touch!

Use the form on the right to contact Michael Kline!

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.

Thanks for visiting.

The Best of Sawdust and Dirt

A record of the goings on around Michael Kline Pottery!

Filtering by Tag: NC


Michael Kline

It’s spring in the mountains. Grass is growing, flowers blooming, and customers are finally streaming into the showroom here at the pottery.

This week I’ve been slogging through piles of stuff that has accumulated in my showroom in its winter dormancy. And just in the nick of time it was ready for yesterday’s visits! I have another group tour this Tuesday so I’ll focus on the grounds now that the showroom and studio are once again presentable.

What does a Kline pottery tour include, you ask? Well depending on the group, be they potters or not, I usually walk them through the kiln area, the studio and then, of course conclude with the finished pots in the showroom…aka “exiting through the gift shop.”

If the group is a class from the nearby Penland School, I sometimes arrange to do some kind of demonstration. The demo is usually brushwork, but occasionally I do a throwing demo.

So, if you want to take a tour of the pottery just drop me an (email)[mail] and I’d be happy to show you around. If you can’t come here in person maybe you can see what’s happening by tuning into one of my live streams and I’ll show you around with my phone! Here’s a recent stream.

There’s much pottery to make this week as I’ve just pugged about 600 lbs of reclaim and I don’t like to let that sit around too long. So my Shimpo will be spinning a lot of clay this week.

Stay tuned for the relaunch of my podcast that has been long overdue. I needed to revamp the format and release episodes more regularly. Currently I have 5 episodes in the wings and counting. Should be some good stuff for you there and j send my apologies to all the faithful for your support.

I would love your support for the podcast with a donation of ANY amount. Please see the “tip jar” at the top of the right sidebar.

Ok! If you’ve read this far I truly appreciate your readership and look forward to sharing more of my potter’ life in the coming weeks!

The Chosen Ones

Michael Kline

yunomi cups for AKAR Design annual yunomi show swirlware decorated pottery

Out of the 30 swirl cups that I fired last month in the wood kiln, these are the 5 i have chosen for the annual AKAR Design Yunomi Invitational [2014] [2013] [20??]. I wanted to choose a group that showed a variety of color, swirl, and brushwork.

The process is a curious one, that begins with an invitation to do a show along with some of the best potters in the country and challenges me to make cups that push my abilities and techniques into new areas. Curious because in the end you might say these cups look like the kind of cups that you might expect from me. And you would be partially right, I guess.

But, contrary to my last post, this palette and style is but a subtle variation and refinement, not the kind of obvious change I talked about the other day. Each firing there are a handful of pots that are unusual and maybe not what I expect. Then I try to reproduce their goodness, whatever it may be, often missing the mark or guessing wrong on the combination of variables that affect a pot in the wood kiln.

So, to get a group of pots for a show like the Yunomi show, I might need 30 to get 5 or 6 exceptional ones. It's a strategy or process of "make bunch and some might fly" that many a studio potter are grateful for and since it's fun to make a lot of pots, its a great way to work.

But the other thought I have, or the other question you might pose, is who am I to judge?

Everybody has different tastes, different needs. Some like their pasta soft and some like theirs al dente. But in the end, I guess someone has to throw it against the ceiling to see if it sticks. [ba dum tssshhh] and I guess that would be me. But in the end, or at the point of sale, you, O fair and trusted customer, are the final judge!

The AKAR Yunomi show opens on the morning of May 15th and a LOT of the pots sell in the first hour! My advice would be to be take the morning or the day off, bookmark the website and get a front row seat! You should also follow AKAR Design on the Facebook for some fun preview action!

Thanks so much for reading!!

Episode 7 : Ron Philbeck

Michael Kline

Show Notes (and names we drop) 

In this episode Ron Philbeck shares how he started on his path as a potter.
Tom Gray
Warren McKenzie
George Griffin- Sopchoppy Pottery
Susan Peterson-Hamada
The Studio Potter
Bernard Leach-A Potter’s Book
Shoji Hamada

Carl Clary School Of Karate
Randy Johnston
Clary Illian
Will Ruggles & Douglas Rankin
Mary Law
Byron Temple
Linda McFarling
Judith Duff
Kim Ellington

Joe Rhinehart
Hart Square
Seagrove Potters (SAPA)
Phil Morgan
Cady Clayworks
Ben Owen Pottery
Jugtown Pottery
Dover Pottery
John and Kiowa King
John C Campbell Folk School
Isothermal Community College
Whichford Pottery
Leon Nichols
Marcia Bugg
Ron Meyers
Michael Simon

Follow Ron 
Follow Michael 

"Thank" Ron  on Twitter!

Podcast Apps

I have been using and loving the Downcast podcast app. I totally recommend it!
You might also like to try Overcast. It's a simple yet powerful app and it looks beautiful as well! So many options! ;-)

Questions or comments for Ron? 

Got a moment to leave a review or a rating? I'd be SO thrilled! ;-)

Thanks for listening!!

Check out this episode!

and Hoppy New Year!!

Episode 4: Nick Joerling, Part 1

Michael Kline

In Episode 4 of the podcast I have a rollicking talk with Penland potter, Nick Joerling. Nick has been a member of the community around the Penland School of Crafts for many years and his roadside studio is a favorite to visit.

Find out more about Nick here.

Episode Highlights
  • living and working in the Penland community
  • perception of time and the accelerated life
  • Thinking, Fast and Slow
  • hot and cold
  • gut flora and our desire for food
  • the "eagerness to pour" and beak placement on pouring pots
  • Nick's literary queues
  • Nick's early days as a pugger and potter in California
  • turning points in life
  • Time and timing in terms of the material of clay 

Names We Drop
Follow Michael
Questions or comments for Nick?

Thanks SO much for listening!

I promise to improve my recordings and give you a better audio in the future.

NC Pottery Center Auction Today

Michael Kline

Matt Jones, Sandy Mush, NC

Today is the NC Pottery Center annual auction in Seagrove, NC! Seagrove is very close to North Carolina's actual geographical center, Star, but that's not where the action is today. Come to the auction that begins at 5p.m. The doors open at 3:30 and you can meet other collectors and many of the potters, [including me!] who have donated beautiful work to help the center meets its financial goals! There will be lots of refreshments and the weather looks pretty nice. Help yourself to some wonderful contemporary pottery as well as donated historical NC pottery and help the pottery center at the same time! There will be some great "deals" .

You can see the pieces that will be auctioned at this web site!

Hope to see you there!

Peak of Summer

Michael Kline

"LOOK OUT FOR THOSE HEADS!!" girls gone wild!

Not much clay work these days. I've spent the last two weeks enjoying the richness that this peak of summer has to offer. As my daughters prepared for their upcoming school year we thought it would be nice to go to the beach if we could. So we got in touch with our old Penland buds, Geoff Calabrese and Andi Steele's and made a trip to their home in Wilmington, NC and some beach time. On the way back from the shore we paid a visit to Mark Hewitt's place in Pittsboro, NC to see the crew fire up the old salt kiln for the 77th time.

Alex Matisse side stoking "the Beast"
Julie Jones waiting for the next stoke and for that annoying potterattzi to get out of her way!

It was Alex's last firing with Mark and Joseph, and Julie's first! We were fortunate to be at Alex's last firing with Matt Jones last year, it's crazy how time flies. Julie Jones was part of my excellent class of 2006 at Penland. After a couple of big bursts of rain and thunder, a lot of side stoking (not me although I was itchin' to help!! I was in my Birks and beach garb!) we headed over to the Pittsboro Market for a light dinner and some great music by some local musicians. Then it was time to roll on towards the NC Pottery Center for the opening of the new show there, "The Historical Pottery of Fayetteville."
the exhibit announcement postcard

a sweet little earthenware bank by well known Fayettville potter, E. A. Poe (1858-1934). Yes, that's Edgar Allen Poe!

One of my faves from the exhibit. A little
Chester Webster pitcher
with birds, leaves, and flowers

Awesome show! Had a great time seeing all my Seagrove "cousins", Bruce, Chris, Meredith, Michael, Jennie, Chad, Vernon, Pam, David, and Blaine, (among others) at the opening. I missed seeing Samantha who was not feeling well. I also had the pleasure of meeting Deborah and David Garner who had a show of their Webster reproductions.

I bought a copy of the fairly new book "The Living Tradition: NC Potters Speak" and was happy to cash in on my gift shop discount as a member of the Center! Full of interviews by Dr. Terry Zug, and Penland School's own Michelle Francis, I was pleasantly surprised to see that many of the potters had autographed my copy! [Bonus! ding, ding, ding!] I would really recommend this great book for your pottery library. If you order it through the NC Pottery Center, you might get an autographed copy as well. And if you join the Center, you will get a discount on anything you order. And if you tell'em I sent ya, I'll get even more of a discount next time I buy some books! JUST KIDDING...Anyway, the book is full of anecdotes and photographs of some of our wonderful "treasures" from the great state of pottery . [hey that sounds like a license plate idea]

Why I [Heart] the NC Pottery Center

Michael Kline

click on images to see larger version.

Just got this card in the mail and it reminded me how much and why I love the NC Pottery Center. Here's a beautiful facility that is home to a wonderful collection of pots, old and new. Here's a venue for a showing of pots from our great state's pottery tradition and how these pots have been interpreted by the Garner's! If you'd like to be a part of this wonderful organization, they would love to have you as a member.

From the card:

click on image to see larger version.

As a matter of fact, if you are looking for something to see and do today(Saturday), and you're in the vicinity of Seagrove, go by the Center and see the kiln being fired TODAY! The Garner's are firing the groundhog kiln at the NCPC today with their Webster reproduction work for the show! Get a good look at the pots through the firebox before they are displayed in next month's show.

I hope to get out and see the show, maybe try to get over for the opening with the family on August 14th. We are planning a getaway some time soon. It'll be good to see all my cousins over in Seagrove!

NC Pottery Center Auction

Michael Kline

3 gallon Jar
that I donated to this
years NC Pottery Center Auction

Thanks to my cousins, Samantha and Bruce, over Seagrove way, for delivering my jar to the Pottery Center for their annual auction. The auction will take place on the 18th of April, coming right up. I hope you will be able to make if you're in that neck of the woods. This event is free and open to the public!!! The theme for the auction is "the many faces for the center". I went to the auction last year and had a blast . There are all manner of pots and sculptural pieces, beautiful antiques and a who's who of contemporary NC pottery on display before the silent and live auctions. Of course there's lot's of great food and time to sit down and chat. I hope you will be able to support the Center this year. It's a unique place of great importance to our state's pottery history and a beacon to light up the road ahead.

Carolina Mingei

Michael Kline

I just spoke to my porcelain buddy Tom. He's really excited about this survivor. I can see why. He sent these pictures. Tom's thinking from the evidence of bloating and burn outs/melt outs that the pot was an early, maybe 1850's, pot made from an exploratory field of clay. Tom pointed out to me, and as I see, that the clay had several technical issues. It could have been essentially a test or clay that was being used for the first time or an example of some transitional clay. During our conversation I kept thinking that he could have been talking about my clay, haha. Perhaps it was a pot made from the best available clay at that time. Obviously this was not a beginning potter, but the materials may have been new and untested. The jar's rim/lip is unglazed and I think the deformation is from other pots being stacked upon it. I don't recall what Tom said about that. Here is a picture of that rim.

I would have to say that there must be many more similar pots out there yet to be discovered by the wider pottery loving audience. It's exciting to see these pots surface and have access to them. Thanks Tom for sharing!

Here is Tom's recent, and very relevant commentary in Ceramics Monthly.


Michael Kline

Chester Webster (1779-1882)
Randolph County, North Carolina
Four gallon Jar, ca 1850
Salt glazed stoneware
15 x 11 in.
Collection of Quincy & Samuel Scarborough

I just had to send this out to those who haven't seen this pot in the Potter's Eye [ISBN 0-8078-2992-7]. I don't have a close up of the bird in this jar, but you might be able to see the little bug that the bird is eye ballin' in the image above. The pot has really nice proportions and I love how the handles are tucked in high right around the neck. The ovoid shape of the pot reflects the makers origins in New England.

I first saw the Webster pots live at the NC Museum of Art in 2007 and the incising of these images of birds, fish, and botanica, really spurred me on to try my hand at similar imagery. I'm still trying, but haven't been as bold as to leave a mark like this, so stark and confident. No glaze, except for the natural ash and salt glaze. The clay color is so rich. The surface worn by so many hands and untold uses, it is a beautiful survivor.

Sunday noon update: For more info click on comments or here.