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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: Nick Joerling

Episode 5 : Nick Joerling Part 2

Michael Kline

In Episode 5 of the podcast I continue my conversation 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.

Nick and I at his Penland, NC studio

Episode Highlights

  • living and working in the Penland community
  • recording the object
  • a funny story about ye olde pug mill
  • Jack's 20 Questions
  • words and pots
  • Nick's literary queues
  • food, lust, and pottery
  • using pots or not
  • taking chances and playing
  • the
    boundaries that potters work within
Names We Drop
mug by Nick Joerling
Show Links
Follow Nick
Follow Michael

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! ;-)

Thanks SO much for listening!

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.

Simon Says

Michael Kline

Dear Simon Says,

My parents don't give me enough allowance money. I do the dishes every day.

Most of my peers are getting twice or three times what I get.
Its not fair. What should I do?
-Poor Me

Dear Poor Me.
You know a lot of potters feel this way. Never getting paid enough for doing the dishes, while friends in other jobs earn a lot more money. Why do we persist? We do it because we love it. I mean look at these great plates by Bernadette Curran or Sam Taylor. These are nice plates, a pleasure to use or even wash if that's your thing. Or this set by Sylvie Granatelli, what fun. I suggest you throw yourself into doing the dishes and soon you will feel like a kid again.

Bernadette Curran, Sam Taylor
Sylvie Granatelli
Dear Simon Says,
A friend of mine recently told me she does not believe dinosaurs ever existed. Furthermore she believes the earth is only 6.000 years old!?! This woman is obviously crazy, but she won't believe me. What can I tell this woman to persuade her to believe in the once dominant existence of these impressive creatures?

Thank you,

Dear Velocirapture,

Your letter really made me angry. Yes I know that some people think pottery is archaic and anachronistic, but calling us dinosaurs gets us nowhere. Since receiving your letter I have done a lot of reading and reflection on these issues. I have to say that I don't think there is really anything to argue about. When it comes to choosing between a mass produced mug with a logo and a lovely hand made mug by Nick Joerling, his piece is the natural selection.

Nick Joerling

That being said; I am a firm believer in intelligent design. I mean poorly thought out pottery is so disappointing. David Pier's work is so smart and well made; it doesn't really matter to me that it wasn't made on a wheel. It's wrong to say that round pots are better just because they are more fully revolved.

David Peir

I know pottery's heyday has passed, but it is still a vibrant field full of innovation and history. There are so many wonderful potters who have resurrected the art of clay, and there are potters who's work is filled with revelations. I think if you can save your friend from her misconceptions we will all prophet from your efforts.

Good luck and good potting.

Simon Levin is a regular contributor to Sawdust and Dirt. He lives and makes pots in Gresham, WI. To find out more about Simon Levin and his pottery go to
If you have questions for Simon he can be reached at

Ramping Up: A Feat of Epic Proportion (or stubbornness)

Michael Kline

Maybe it was a coincidence, but today, Nick Joerling came by to drop off some work we're taking up to D.C. for him. And I had the time to try to move the old Peter Pugger into the studio. Incidentally, I bought the Peter Pugger from Nick, back when I was a resident at Penland. But I failed to coerce Nick into helping out, Damn. So, as I checked the e-kiln and watched its slow climb in temperature, I had time to push, pull, and strain to get this heavy machine up the steps and into place. I tried chaining it to my truck with marginal success. The pug mill has two hard wheels, but it was almost impossible to move around on the gravel, hence the truck idea. I built a ramp out of 4 x 4's and scraps of plywood, boards, etc. and I can't tell you how much joy it brought me to use these little scraps of plywood and boards that most sane people would have burned or thrown out.

But I was still stumped on how to get the mill up the ramp. It's heavy! I felt that there must be some way I can get this up the ramp by myself, or with the truck!


I broke down and called Stacey to see if she could muscle it up the ramp with me. But she wasn't coming home for a while and I was growing impatient. I tried to think about simple physics, pulleys, winch, levers, hmmmm???

Then it came to me!! What i needed was another wheel! Duh! SO off I go to the hardware store to buy a caster for the front of the mill and made this third wheel.

What followed I don't have still images or video footage of, but first I tried to push this behemoth up the ramp and slipped a couple of times, but the adrenaline was coursing through my veins. Would I be pugging clay by the end of the day?? I stepped back and then had the sensible idea of pulling the mill up the ramp. So I pulled a chain around and through the frame and stepped up to the porch to try to pull. I was able to get the thing rolling up the ramp with all my might. But then I had to let go of one hand to re-grab the chain as I pulled it toward me. Could I do it, should I do it?? (this is where a soundtrack would come in real handy) You must be thinking that I have lost my mind, by now??

Well as you can see from the pictures below, (you'll have to take my triumphant word for it), I got the mill up to the porch level, and easily rolled it into the studio. But then I realized that I one more feat to perform. The final ramping up onto the platform that the mill sits on. No problem, thought I. And for once I was right. Just a simple ramp made with ware boards and the ubiquitous scrap pieces of 2 x 4 and 2 x 6! With a rolling start I rolled the mill into place and plugged her/him in.

The rest of the story is history. I mixed a batch of very, very sandy reclaim clay to run through to attempt to get some of the flakes of rust out, before i run my "good" clay through.

AHHH. Now I'm ready to turn some pottery!