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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: Penland Barns

Let the Sun Shine In

Michael Kline

It's Saturday and the girls are in school today!! It's a gorgeous day and I've been meaning to do a blog about this cup! It's a cup that I made in MM (that's 2000 in Roman). It's made with a grolleg porcelain, Helios, from Highwater Clays in Asheville, NC. It claims to be one of the world's best clays, maybe second only to my red dirt home clay! heheh...

I wanted to show it here as a reference to the hydro-abrasion (a Michael Sherrill term) that I mentioned the other day (see video). I can't remember if I have talked about this particular phase of my making career, but it all happened back in 1999 when my studio mate at the Barns at Penland, Shawn Ireland was moving out and was passing off stuff he didn't need or want as he was packing up. He came in and held out a quart can of Shellac and asked me if I wanted it. I didn't know, at the time, what the hell I would do with a can of shellac. I didn't know the work of Jim Gottuso yet, after all! I said yes just to help the guy out, you know how it is for hoarders, it was like a small intervention. ;-) Actually Shawn was very neat.
So, I went to the list serve (clay-arts?) and looked up some possible reasons Shawn would have a can of shellac in his studio. I knew shellac was used for woodworking projects. Shawn was also painting on canvas towards the end of his residency, and still makes wonderful paintings, so that was possibility. But lo and behold, there was a thread on the list serve that very day on using shellac as a resist! And so began hours of painting and sponging away the porcelain to get these translucent effects on the porcelain. As you can see the edges stressed out from all the handling and cracked in the firing. This was common.

The process was extremely time consuming, but I didn't mind that. But my wrists were suffering from all of the very careful handling of the constantly thinning pots, not to mention a chronic stiff neck. Then there was the frustration of actually going through the clay wall. And then there was the almost impossible way to photograph these pieces for the record. So this chapter in my career was closed about a year later. But like all good stories, it's worth telling again. I have a new can of shellac and I'm preparing to use it on some of the pots I've been making in the last few weeks. I'm even going to try it on some swirl ware!

For those of you keeping score, this piece was fired in the salt kiln at the Barns at Penland and it is lined with my 1% Copper glaze. Fired to cone 10.

OK, back to this wonderful Saturday afternoon of porcelain pottery making. I've just getting around to using my Matt and Dave porcelain that they were so kind to send me last summer! I'll let you know what I make with that! So far it's been really nice! Thanks M & D!

Hope you have a great weekend, too! Did you make your 12 today?

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!

Righteous Wood Kilns vol. #3

Michael Kline

The kiln at the Penland Barns built by Shawn Ireland.

The girls and I were taking a walk behind the resident artist studios, the "Barns", at penland this evening and I was struck by the simple beauty of Shawn's kiln and its shed. I shot this with the camera phone and I will have to go back and take a better picture of it with the Fuji camera.