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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: Seagrove

Once a Cousin, Always a Cousin

Michael Kline

The day is Tuesday according to my phone. But I wouldn't know it, being in a stir from all the traveling and returning home to an empty nest. (except for Jack and the chickens!) Somehow I find myself off the blogging wagon and not quite knowing how to get back on! So I will attempt by telling the briefest story of the past weekend as everything before that is even more of a blur!

I traveled to Seagrove to unpack my pots with the likes of Bruce, Samantha, Ron and Judith. It was all kind of abstract until we all converged on the Bulldog Pottery home base. All the planning and "shucking and jiving" associated with promoting a show didn't quite prepare me for the pottery get-together that we were about to have. It had been a while since I spent any time with Ron or Judith and when they unwrapped their pots it was quite overwhelming! (but, in a good way)

Samantha, Bruce, and I were reminded that this very moment was why we really created the Cousins in Clay shows! We relished every pot and swarmed around Ron's and Judith's tables. Selling and promoting our own work may have been our original intent, and inviting the most highly respected potters in the country to be our guests might have been a way to draw in our NC pottery collectors, but seeing the work by these guests and spending the weekend together has truly become an honor,  a privilege, and a priceless experience.

We have a very big family of clay, and it's great to come together, share stories, and hold each others pots every once in a while. Thanks go to all that helped make the weekend go smoothly and especially to Ron, Hester, Judith, and Royal for making it a very special time.

A Potter's Got To Eat!

Michael Kline


I thought I better take a break from stacking the kiln and have a bite to eat and there's no better way to digest your supper than to sit back a write a few words on ye olde blogge. I've actually loaded 2/3 of the kiln. I am also running out of small pots, fillers. Luckily, I have a board of tumblers and have a few dishes to paint.

I'm getting very excited about next weekend's Spring kiln opening, and the following weekend's "Cousins in Clay" over in Seagrove. (More about all of that in my newsletter going out on Monday.)

Sign up for my mailing list to receive that, if you haven't already.

OK, back to stacking ye olde wood kiln! Firing #38 coming right up! I'll be tweeting kiln side with pictures and more. Follow the firing!

Cousins in Clay Collaborations: Part 1

Michael Kline


Here's a video of moi painting some resist on a bone dry porcelain cup thrown by Samantha for our Cousins in Clay™ collaborative project. It was interesting to handle another potter's pots. The forms of Bruce and Samantha were unfamiliar to my hands and to my brush. I have become accustomed to the forms I make and paint and there is an evolution between the forming and the painting that becomes internalized over time. But handling these Bulldog pots forced me to stretch a little bit. We used Minwax water base Polycrylic protective finish.(clear gloss with green food coloring so we can see it better on the porcelain)

Working with S & B was a blast and I can't wait to see how their crystalline glazes look on their surfaces that I painted. We'll try to continue the narrative with additional videos and stills. If these pots are successful in the end we will have a special online sale. So stay tuned for all of that.

If you would like to view this video in HD (high definition), click on the youtube button at the bottom of the video window to watch on youtube proper and then check the button that either says HQ or 360p, etc. It takes a lot of bandwidth in HD and may be a little choppy depending on your connection. Also, the sound didn't seem to upload (at least not on my computer?? so don't try to adjust volume), sorry.

If you have any questions, just leave a comment and I'll get right back to you.
Enjoy.

Roadtrip

Michael Kline



As alluded to in my post from the other day, I made my quarterly visit to Seagrove, the "cousins", and the NC Pottery Center. As I close in on my first year as a board member at the Pottery Center Jennie Keatts and I went around the center taking pictures for the NCPC Facebook page. Jennie and I also got together to brainstorm about the Pottery Center's online mission before the BOD meeting. It's a place of great pride that we have our own pottery center in NC and the Center is always looking for ways to brag on our traditions and our future of NC potters.


one of the many picnic tables at the center. this one decorated with handmade tiles made by local school children during a special workshop at the educational building at the Center
The NCPC is located in the heart of Seagrove North Carolina, and the grounds are a favorite spot for visitors to have picnics under the beautiful old oaks. The NCPC was designed by NC architect Frank Harmon. (Mr Harmon has also designed the Iron Studio at the Penland School!) The Education Building has a great covered outdoor space that is sometimes used for workshops. I've always loved the idea of working outside during fair weather.
the "porch" at the Education Bldg.


the groundhog kiln at the Pottery Center

After my official business at the Center I went to stay for a couple of days at Bruce and Samantha's place south of Seagrove. We discussed plans for our upcoming "Cousins in Clay" sale in May, our Summer "Cousins in the Mountains" sale, and worked on some collaborations. It was a lot of fun, to say the least! I always get so much from my visits to their studio and seeing what they're working on. As I was decorating some of Samantha's yunomi, I realized that the shape that I had been making back in my shop were very similar to hers. Uh... Oh.... well I guess that's what "cousins" is all about.
Bruce and Samantha working on some of the pots I painted with their special kind of polyurethane.

closeup of Bruce hydro abrading!

After two days and a lot of talking and brainstorming, we had about ten pieces done. I have some unedited HD video that I want to share. But I am finding out that all those hours of footage take hours to edit! Where is Buddy Squires and Ken Burns when you need them! We plan on taping all the various steps from these first stages all the way to their finishing touches! [Sigh/Phew] Someday! For now you can visit Samantha and Bruce's blog to read and see more pictures of our fun together last week!

We'll announce a little sale of these pieces if they hatch from the kiln with all the splendor we are hoping for. So don't forget to check back the updates and if you don't want to take any chances, sign up for email announcements here. We'll be sure to let you know!

Where's That Confounding Horse?

Michael Kline

frumpy swirl yunomi
It's been a busy week and not much blogging has occurred here. I knew it was bad when Stacey pointed out that I hadn't posted in over a week! Yikes, crack that whip! So where is that horse I'm supposed to get back on, anyway? I guess, at the moment,  I'm staring into my headlights (read: computer monitor) and don't know quite which way to post. The stories seem too numerous, so this will be my kick in the pants post and hopefully I will gather thoughts to share my visit to the cousins in Seagrove this week and some of the fun stuff we did, (we shot lots of video with Evelyn's HD Flip video camera, which cost me 5 bucks to rent, btw), an uplifting quarterly board meeting at the NC Pottery Center, and of course there is the continuing and uplifting saga of my porcelain experiment to update you all on.

I have a lot of announcements to make, too [which I will dole out a little at a time so I don't come off sounding like one of those annoying arts calendar PSA's that start to sound like Charlie Brown's teacher after about 15 seconds].

In the meantime, while I dream of future-soon-to-be blog posts, can you guess which came first in the swirl cups above? In other words, are these red-dirt-clay with porcelain swirls? or, porcelain-clay with red dirt swirls?

The secret will be revealed to you on Saturday.

Reemerging

Michael Kline

last night's glorious crescent

Ah, summer is upon us, Solstice approaches and we're all busy getting things done. It may be pottery or in my case getting the shop finished. Actually I did a little while Buck Pollard and John Hagy did a lot.

Where to begin?

In preparation for my "Cousins in Clay" gig in Seagrove, Stacey reminded me that I needed to check in with Bruce and Samantha to see if there was anything I could do to help them set up their home and studio for the big weekend. It turns out that "apparently" Samantha's Dad had hurt his back and they needed me to come a little early. Bruce had a slightly hesitant tone in his voice and I thought that he just felt bad asking me to come early. "No problem," I said, and off I went to Seagrove.

After I washed some windows at the Bulldog Studio, Bruce discussed a plan to cover the windows for the slide presentation for Tommy McPherson that Saturday night. I was a little puzzled by this. Why did I just spend all that time washing a dozen sliding glass door-sized windows, just to have them covered? Hmmm...

I thought that Bruce and Samantha must have been under a lot of stress in preparing for the weekend that they just weren't thinking straight. So I went along with it patiently, not knowing that it was just a way to keep me busy during my extra day in Seagrove.

Well the weekend was a smashing success, and on Monday I came home to the fanfare of hugging, cold beers, and cheeseburgers on the grill! What did I see, though, as I glanced up the hill toward the shop? Someone had nailed a whole lot of boards to the side of the shop. Huh? At that point Stacey and the girls screamed, "Surprise!!!"

Stacey had cooked up a fantastic scheme to have the siding installed on the shop while I was away in Seagrove at the "Cousins" show! Everyone was in on it except me! The lumbermill, Buck and John, the girls! It was truly a wonderful surprise!

Stacey had called Bruce days earlier to set up the ploy to get me out of the way so that her plan could be implemented! John and Buck paced up and down the road as I finished packing the car with pots, waiting to get on the job.

Well they finished the back and the road side of the building and stopped there until this week when I helped them finish the "front" of the shop with the German lap siding I had picked up from Shawn more than two years ago.

before

after!

The siding was stickered and still in good shape, a little weathered, but sound. It gave the entrance of the shop a completely respectable and finished look and I'm sure that pottery fanactics will just flock to it's beauty!

john hagy, me, buck pollard

Thanks to my lovelies for this wonderful gift. Thanks to John and Buck for their hard work and craftsmanship!

And thanks for everyone for keeping their mouths mum (and restrained from blabbing on Facebook in their status updates)! As always, you're welcome to see for yourself when you're in the neighborhood. Come see us!

Slack Blogger Returns

Michael Kline

myself, Elsie and Val Cushing
Bulldog Pottery
Seagrove, NC

Out of desperation to keep the blog alive, I wanted to send out a big hello and brief update from this slacker-potter-blogger! I just got back from Seagrove where I sold some pots with my clay cousins, Samantha Henneke, Bruce Gholson, and Val Cushing. What a great honor it was to spend the weekend with Val and his wonderful wife Elsie! Their friends came from far and wide to say hello and spend a little time together while they were down from Alfred, NY.

I guess I feel like a slacker because I didn't take many pictures at all, and didn't do any blogging. But I did have a rich and thoroughly enjoyable time. And I swung by the NC Pottery Center on the way out of town and looked at the Buncombe Co. Pottery Show. There are some amazing pieces assembled both historical and contemporary. I'm in the midst of editing the shots I took there and will try to post them soon.

Meanwhile, I'm getting the showroom ready for the Toe River Studio Tour coming up this weekend! I'll let you in on some of the preparations and some of the pots I'll have for you in the coming days. There's also a little surprise I found on my return that I'll show you all tomorrow.
Thanks for reading and stay in touch.

Cousins in Clay Newsletter

Michael Kline


Last night I sent out my email newsletter about my upcoming sale this weekend in Seagrove, NC with my "cousins" Samantha and Bruce.

If you did not receive the email and are not on the email list you can click here and join. Here is a link to the newsletter. I'll try to send some updates from Bulldog Pottery where I will be showing my latest pots along with Bruce, Samantha, and Professor Emeritus Val Cushing!!

More information about all seven of the potters showing this weekend can be found here and here!

Hope you can make it!

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!

Unplugged and Revving It Up

Michael Kline

the seam of a 12 lb jar

I took a day off from the interconnected and interwebbed yesterday. It's amazing what you can get done when you're not checking email, tweeting, and blogging!

It was a quiet day of rain and pottery making. Stacey and the girls were in Knoxville and Jack was curled up on the floor snoozing. Here are a few pictures from yesterday.

12 lb jar
pots on top of pots on the table

The pots in the above picture are going to the Hambidge Center in Rabun Gap, Georgia, for their Spring Show. I was invited by Joy Tanner, who curated the show! I wanted to get a nice little grouping together from the last firing, but it seemed a little bit spread out stylistically.

Lindsay Rogers is on route to GA this weekend and was so kind to deliver these as well as all of the other WNC potters doing the show!! Thanks Lindsay!!

This show and my show at the Signature shop are both opening on the weekend of the 23rd & 24th. I wish I had time to go, but I'll be doing all I can to get the pots ready for firing#35. Well, with the exception of the workshop with master blacksmith Peter Ross up at Penland that I'm signed up for. Oh, and with the exception of the annual benefit auction for the Pottery Center over in Seagrove that I'll be helping out with...

Yowsah, it's looking like a action packed month! I'd better get busy!Hope you're ready for some fun!

On Edge

Michael Kline

Up late with a bisque kiln, so I thought I would say hello and post a few pictures. As the title of this post cleverly alludes to, it's that time of the session when things get kind of nerve wracking and I make the mental transition from throwing at the wheel to surface and glazing work.

Also speaking of edginess, here are two ways I treated some hump molded bowls (aprés Bandana Pottery) The above edge is just "thumbed" across the edge of the mold while the clay was pretty soft. The picture below shows a bowl that has been cut with a wire to get a sharper edge. Which one do you prefer? I sort of like the first example. The process, there, seemed a little Natural, while the wire cutting was awkward. I think that shows in the end. Oh well, I have to explore the possibilities with this "cover".


I made a variety of sizes just to see how proportions worked with the mold. Also this is a good way to remember how much clay I used if I want to repeat these shapes in the future. (this is a good use of the blog for those out there wondering why they should start a blog of their own. since this blog is searchable you can go back and review whenever you want.)

Lillian came up for a spin on the treadle wheel Saturday! She's doing pretty good despite the fact that the wheel head is just below her shoulders!


On Sunday it was back to the Seagrove area for the NC Pottery Center's annual membership meeting. It was a gorgeous drive and pleasantly warm.

Here's one of the highway signs you'll see as you near
the town of Seagrove.
Six exits to pottery!!

During the membership meeting I was voted onto the Board of Directors at the Pottery Center so I'll be making frequent trips there. It's a real privilege to be asked to serve on the Pottery Center Board and I'm really excited to be a part of that fantastic nexus for pottery in our state. I'll try to introduce you to some of the wonderful potters working there. If you're interested in Seagrove and it's potters check out Three Corners Clay blog. It has announcements about Seagrove area pottery.



Back home there was much to catch up on. I scrambled to finish up the wet work and these lidded jars, the first in a long while. I can't remember the last session that I made lidded jars. But I've enjoyed these in addition to the knob-and-all's that I made last week.

More kiln work is in order for the morrow, hopefully that'll get wrapped up so I can get the brushes out for to begin the leaves and birds (and who knows what else) There's always a surprise that emerges when one sits down for several days with a brush and hundreds of pots! I hope I can record some of the fun. See you then!

Trip to Seagrove

Michael Kline

shoot-out
brad lail (l) and ron philbeck (r) at ron's place on wednesday


It's late and I just want to post this before I go to dreamland. But I will fill in the blanks about my trip to Seagrove, NC and answer any questions that these pictures might raise. Just leave a comment. I look forward to the exchange. Don't be shy.

lead glazed fremington pitcher at ron's

a visit to whynot pottery:
meredith heywood's custom mudbox

mark heywood's
wheel and mudbox

mark hewitt throwing pitchers


removing a very stubborn 40 year old wheel head
with heat, lubricant, and 2 x 4's

the rusty truth

the reason I wanted to remove my Shimpo wheel head.
it's been a long road for this splash pan
and it's time for my own mud box! (and ball opener!)


Night, night!

Pottery Bloggery Foggery

Michael Kline

A quiet gray day here at the pottery. Jack is snoozing in his box as I write this. Thank goodness he doesn't snore! (yet) Clay is thawed, mixed, and pugged. But first there were taxes to finish and still a layer of fine sawdust on everything in the shop to rid before I start to spin. Aaaaaa, what's a little fine sawdust wedged into my clay!

This morning, before I head up the hill, I'm planning a trip to Seagrove. Next week I'm meeting with my "cousins" to plan our show (June 5, 6th!!!) and was also checking out the NC Pottery Center to make sure they would be open so I could see the current show (Fire in the Valley: Catawba Valley Pottery Then and Now). I'll take my tripod and take some pictures for you when I visit.

I'm also hoping to see cousin Ron over Shelby on the way!

I also checked into Mark Hewitt's web page to see if there was anything going on over on Johnny Burke Rd. and found this.

Related to yesterday's post, Mark puts it in simple concise language, as only Mark can, "...take what you've learned and add to it."

[Want to learn how drive a truck? Well, I found this just for you.]

Let's make some pottery!

Film at 11.

A Visit to the Piedmont

Michael Kline

The entrance to the NC Pottery Center is paved with good patrons!

We visited the NC Pottery Center last week after a trip to the North Carolina Zoo. The girls were out of school for Fall Break and we decided to get out of our neighborhood and do a little camping. For two days we ran around the zoo in wonder of all the creatures, great and tiny, then for a day, we went to nearby Seagrove and visited some of my pottery cousins. We headed into the Pottery Center to hand deliver money from the purchase of one of my pots from the SPPM/NCPC benefit from last week. (FYI, the NCPC met it's fundraising goals last week!!! Thanks for all of those who helped out, here's that story.) The current exhibit showed a variety of tablewares and tea and coffee sets of the early 20th century NC potteries. It was great to see these pots in a live instead of where I usually see them, on eBay. What a difference live viewing makes. I just wish I could just handle 'em and turn 'em over.
The permanent exhibit is always great to see . I love those old pots. Here is a 4 gallon jar by the patron saint of the Catawba Valley, Daniel Seagle.


Evelyn is at a great age where she is full of wonder, even with pottery! I gave up calling for her to pose with Stacey and Lillian.

Here are a display of ribs, or known around here as 'chips'. Some of these don't look they were used very much. A couple of the small ones looked like they were worn down to the center hole.


I know my wooden ribs get worn down pretty fast with my sandy clay, at least at the corners.
We had a nice vist with Bruce and Samantha over at Bulldog Pottery. But Mocha, the bulldog was off napping, so we didn't get to play, maybe next time. We met Charlotte Wooten in town and saw here beautiful painted bird pots and then headed over to Ben Owen's place to see the "Papa-gama" as well as the museum which was a real treat. We were worn out and had a long trip ahead of us so we decided we'd better head for the hills to get the girls home at a decent hour. It's great to be able to have some time to visit the Seagrove are and see pots with the family. Who would have thought that visiting potteries would be so much fun for the family?!

I'm still catching up on all of the blogs and will get back into the swing, myself this week. I'm looking forward to the Obamaware auction beginning tonight at 8p.m. on eBay. I hope you will get in on the auction that will benefit Barack Obama's and Joe Biden's bid for office. Bid high and bid often.