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192 Jim Boone Rd
Bakersville, NC, 28705
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828-675-4097

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The Best of Sawdust and Dirt

A record of the goings on around Michael Kline Pottery!

Filtering by Tag: Simon Levin

Guest Blogger: NCECA Prep

Michael Kline

Editor's note: this is a rebroadcast of Simon Levin's blogpost from a couple years ago. It still makes me laugh. Happy Monday's y'all!

As we pulled onto the highway headed for NCECA it occurred to me that finally I am one of the merging artists this year. Much thought and preparation has gone into this year’s trip. My bag is filled with swag and I have honed some techniques to make my NCECA experience the best it can be. Let me share with you some of the helpful tools I plan to employ.

The over the shoulder crowd survey
This is a common tool used by those who want to make the most of their time. When catching up with an old friend make sure you keep looking over his or her shoulder for someone else with more status. Perhaps someone well known that you would like to be seen talking to, or someone whose ego you would like to massage hoping they can give your career a boost. Never be afraid to trade up, NCECA will soon be over.

 Make sure you have your “I don’t remember you but want to seem like I do” phrases ready.

You will need these. Let me share a few that imply varying degrees of false intimacy.

  • “Heeeeyyyyyyy”. Draw this one out, the less you remember the person the longer this greeting should be. It may give you time to recollect and the lag time suggests pleasure and enthusiasm at seeing this stranger.
  •  “Wow, you have lost weight”. Always a good way to go, unless they are a recent amputee.
  •  “Did that rash ever clear up”?
  •  “I always enjoy your status updates on Facebook”.
  •  “What ever happened with that paternity test”. Note: This is fine to ask women as well as men.
  • “Got that $20 you owe me?” You never know, and if you insist enough you can always settle and let them buy you lunch.

 At NCECA be prepared to see some crappy work.

 You must be armed with vaguely upbeat but non-committal comments that suggest interest but cover your dismay, disgust or nausea. Here are a few.

  •  Interesting
  •  Look at that!
  •  You price your work way too cheap.
  •  That ‘s bold!
  •  How much time did you spend on that?
  •  I have never seen work like this.
  •  I admire your courage to present work like this.
  •  Now that’s a handle!
  •  I didn’t think it could be done, but you have ruined dirt.
  •  How many poo-flinging monkeys helped you with this?
  •  You have raised the bar for craptastic work everywhere.

And finally you will find yourself in deep and meaningful conversations that you cannot wait to get away from.

 In these situations you will need a few polite ways to excuse yourself immediately. Feel free to use any of these:


  • What time is it? Oh man I need to run.
  • Oh there goes my ride.
  • I am sorry but there is a lecture I really want to hear. (This one is hard to make sound truthful, I mean, holy cow, people talk so much at NCECA. Really how much can you say about dirt. I’d probably listen more if it was about me or Jersey Shore.)
It is always better if you can subtly make them want to end the conversation allowing you to leave still seeming interested in them as a person. So for the more advanced NCECA attendee try these:
  • Do you have $50 bucks I can borrow?
  • The infection is highly contagious; do you have any lip balm I can borrow?
  • Whoops there goes my Irritable Bowell Syndrome
  • Do you have any crack on you?
  • My therapist says I am due for a beserker rage any day now.
Anyway I am looking forward to my time at NCECA this year. You will find me looking over the shoulder of one of my nearest and dearest friends.

Simon Levin is an irregular contributor to Sawdust and Dirt. He lives and makes pots in Gresham, WI. When Simon is not making or firing pots, fighting fires, or caring for his lovely family, he is creating such wonders as WikiClay! To find out more about Simon Levin and his pottery go to simonlevin.com

Serration

Michael Kline

marks made with serrated metal rib and wooden ribs in freshly thrown clay

First my apologies with the above photo experiment. It's just that I wanted to fiddle with the picture and clicked this and clicked that until I discovered that I could mask around this freshly thrown plate with a click of a button in iPhoto. The only reason I am using iPhoto in the first place is because I asked Ron how I was supposed to get all of those damn pictures off my iPad, he said "iPhoto!" I said, "Duh!" Sometimes the most obvious things elude me.  That's right, I'm not the geek you might think I am. I haven't used iPhoto much, mainly because I thought it was awful, but maybe it's because I screwed up ALL of  Simon's pictures on his laptop at NCECA 2 years ago using iPhoto (take my advice, never borrow someone else's laptop)

Back to the blog: Just thought I would share the above quirky-wheel-deco-exploration. It seems like too much to me at the moment, but it's early yet. We'll see. I'm firing the kiln soon, need to keep making! Later!

Dedication

Michael Kline



Speaking at the dedication of the Northeast Wisconsin Technical College dedication of the Artisan Center. I designed the clay studio and wrote the curriculum for the program. My former apprentice Chris Greenwood is teaching there.



Simon Levin is a regular contributor to Sawdust and Dirt. He lives and makes pots in Gresham, WI. When Simon is not making or firing pots, fighting fires, or caring for his lovely family, he is creating such wonders as WikiClay! To find out more about Simon Levin and his pottery go to woodfire.com. If you have questions for Simon he can be reached at simon@sawdustanddirt.com otherwise please leave comments for Simon here!

Simon Says: Plankin'

Michael Kline




Simon Levin is a regular contributor to Sawdust and Dirt. He lives and makes pots in Gresham, WI. When Simon is not making or firing pots, fighting fires, or caring for his lovely family, he is creating such wonders as WikiClay! To find out more about Simon Levin and his pottery go to woodfire.com. If you have questions for Simon he can be reached at simon@sawdustanddirt.com otherwise please leave comments for Simon here!

Simon: From the Floor

Michael Kline

Simon here reporting from the floor of the National Clay conference, and I have to say I am disappointed.

First of all I have searched everywhere for that damn press room, looking for the free donuts, weak coffee and large sweaty men hunched over typewriters banging out fervent opinions. You would think there would be some perks to having this pass.




Second, I went to some K-12 exhibition and I have to say the work was pretty juvenile. I mean sculptures of dragons, c'mon, are you in high-school or something? I did find it interesting that the curators of the show assessed the quality of the work; although I can’t say I agree with their aesthetic. Some of the work ranked as Grade 1 seemed as though the artists were still struggling with their fine motor control. At this national level, I expect more.

And third I was really excited to go to a talk this morning. I really enjoy talking. And though they called it a talk it was no such thing. These two guys went on and on for almost an hour. The whole experience was like when your parents want to "talk” and it’s not really a talk, they don't want to hear what you have to say. It was almost like being lectured. I had the hardest time shutting out the constant yammering, thank goodness for my smart-phone or I would have never survived all the words these guys were throwing at me. The hour wasn't a total loss though; I got past level 3-5 in Angry Birds. It does appear that jumping up and cheering my own fowl-flinging prowess is frowned upon during these "talks".

The conference isn't that bad, though, nothing a few dozen free donuts won't fix.

-Simon Says.


Simon Levin is a regular contributor to Sawdust and Dirt. He lives and makes pots in Gresham, WI. When Simon is not making or firing pots, fighting fires, or caring for his lovely family, he is creating such wonders as WikiClay! To find out more about Simon Levin and his pottery go to woodfire.com. If you have questions for Simon he can be reached at simon@sawdustanddirt.com otherwise please leave comments for Simon here!

NCECA: Simon's Senior Moment

Michael Kline

I would like to take a little time here in my blog post where I turn the focus off of the big name folks in the fancy K-12 exhibition. While at NCECA I took a little of my valuable time to talk to the young people especially those to who are graduating and going off into the big world. I feel its important for me to give back to the community and if I can help by letting them bask in my presence for just a little bit and it makes me look like I care, then as my publicist says, "I should do it". So I would like to introduce a new feature to the Simon Says blog, that I like to call "Simon's Senior Moment"

I interviewed young Benjamin Zimmerman. Ben is graduating from high school this year and has chosen to attend the NCECA conference. Ben was inspired by his high-school art teacher Brian Kovachik and wanted to see what the world of clay had to offer. Ben said "It's really opened my eyes. I didn't know there was so much pottery." Ben a talented young student leaves high-school for a degree program in Petroleum Engineering. Perhaps with some of that huge salary he will earn he can buy some of all that pottery, hang on NCECA people Ben is coming to help!

This Senior Moment has been brought to you by Sawdust and Dirt.

Simon Levin is a regular contributor to Sawdust and Dirt. He lives and makes pots in Gresham, WI. When Simon is not making or firing pots, fighting fires, or caring for his lovely family, he is creating such wonders as WikiClay! To find out more about Simon Levin and his pottery go to woodfire.com. If you have questions for Simon he can be reached at simon@sawdustanddirt.com otherwise please leave comments for Simon here!

Simon Says: NCECA Prep

Michael Kline

As we pulled onto the highway headed for NCECA it occurred to me that finally I am one of the merging artists this year. Much thought and preparation has gone into this year’s trip. My bag is filled with swag and I have honed some techniques to make my NCECA experience the best it can be. Let me share with you some of the helpful tools I plan to employ.

The over the shoulder crowd survey
This is a common tool used by those who want to make the most of their time. When catching up with an old friend make sure you keep looking over his or her shoulder for someone else with more status. Perhaps someone well known that you would like to be seen talking to, or someone whose ego you would like to massage hoping they can give your career a boost. Never be afraid to trade up, NCECA will soon be over.

 Make sure you have your “I don’t remember you but want to seem like I do” phrases ready.

You will need these. Let me share a few that imply varying degrees of false intimacy.

  • “Heeeeyyyyyyy”. Draw this one out, the less you remember the person the longer this greeting should be. It may give you time to recollect and the lag time suggests pleasure and enthusiasm at seeing this stranger.
  •  “Wow, you have lost weight”. Always a good way to go, unless they are a recent amputee.
  •  “Did that rash ever clear up”?
  •  “I always enjoy your status updates on Facebook”.
  •  “What ever happened with that paternity test”. Note: This is fine to ask women as well as men.
  • “Got that $20 you owe me?” You never know, and if you insist enough you can always settle and let them buy you lunch.

 At NCECA be prepared to see some crappy work.

 You must be armed with vaguely upbeat but non-committal comments that suggest interest but cover your dismay, disgust or nausea. Here are a few.

  •  Interesting
  •  Look at that!
  •  You price your work way too cheap.
  •  That ‘s bold!
  •  How much time did you spend on that?
  •  I have never seen work like this.
  •  I admire your courage to present work like this.
  •  Now that’s a handle!
  •  I didn’t think it could be done, but you have ruined dirt.
  •  How many poo-flinging monkeys helped you with this?
  •  You have raised the bar for craptastic work everywhere.

And finally you will find yourself in deep and meaningful conversations that you cannot wait to get away from.

 In these situations you will need a few polite ways to excuse yourself immediately. Feel free to use any of these:


  • What time is it? Oh man I need to run.
  • Oh there goes my ride.
  • I am sorry but there is a lecture I really want to hear. (This one is hard to make sound truthful, I mean, holy cow, people talk so much at NCECA. Really how much can you say about dirt. I’d probably listen more if it was about me or Jersey Shore.)
It is always better if you can subtly make them want to end the conversation allowing you to leave still seeming interested in them as a person. So for the more advanced NCECA attendee try these:
  • Do you have $50 bucks I can borrow?
  • The infection is highly contagious; do you have any lip balm I can borrow?
  • Whoops there goes my Irritable Bowell Syndrome
  • Do you have any crack on you?
  • My therapist says I am due for a beserker rage any day now.
Anyway I am looking forward to my time at NCECA this year. You will find me looking over the shoulder of one of my nearest and dearest friends.

Simon Levin is an irregular contributor to Sawdust and Dirt. He lives and makes pots in Gresham, WI. When Simon is not making or firing pots, fighting fires, or caring for his lovely family, he is creating such wonders as WikiClay! To find out more about Simon Levin and his pottery go to simonlevin.com

Tampa Bound!

Michael Kline

Hopefully these shoes were made for walking, because I'm going to be doing a lot of it in Tampa this week at the annual NCECA conference! I'm heading down there tomorrow and in planning for the work, realized I needed something to carry around all of my gear so that i could do the mobile blogging thing. Wooo Hoo!

Sawdust & Dirt will be the premier pottery blog covering the event with official press credentials. I'll be joined by Simon Levin and Mark Shapiro to cover the conference and hopefully we can get words and pictures up to the web for those of you who can't be there. I'm not sure if I'll look like a typical media guy with this backpack, but I figured the red color would be easy to locate if I wander away from it. I may be a little hampered by not having a laptop, or a smartphone, and I'm sure I'll be scoffed at by ceramics students with all of their up to date gadgetry. But I have my ways of using the tools at hand.

So I'll be tweeting from @klineola and Mark, Simon, and myself will be sending up blog posts here in the coming days, so I hope that you will be able to come along.

If you know of any online NCECA stuff you would like me to post please send those to me. As I find out about content that you can access from your device I will post that also.

OK, now to fill up that backpack with batteries, chargers, camera.....Am I forgetting something?

NCECA Bound

Michael Kline




Simon Levin is a regular contributor to Sawdust and Dirt. He lives and makes pots in Gresham, WI. When Simon is not making or firing pots, fighting fires, or caring for his lovely family, he is creating such wonders as WikiClay! To find out more about Simon Levin and his pottery go to woodfire.com. If you have questions for Simon he can be reached at simon@sawdustanddirt.com otherwise please leave comments for Simon here!

Simon Says

Michael Kline

Dear Simon Says,
Why aren't there more references to pottery in contemporary music? I just think clay is such an important issue.

-Listening


Dear Listening,
What are you talking about?  Modern music is riddled with ceramic allusions and has been for a long time.  Since I first heard Patsy Cline sing "Crazing" hardly a song lacks some sort of ceramic reference.    For example, I offer this short list:


Paul Simon's "Slip Sliding Away"
Naughty by Nature’s  "(Who's Down with ) O.P.P.  yeah Yunomi"
Clarence Carter's woodfire ballad “We Be Stoking”

Otis Redding’s “Sitting On A Box of The Clay”
Soulja Boy’s new release “Mean Mug”
Bob Marley’s “Got To Have Kayanite!”


Perhaps you just need to try listening with clay in your ears.

-Simon



Dear Simon Says,

Despite my partners and my best efforts I am still having trouble “getting it up” if you know what I mean.  Do you have any suggestions?

-Laying Down on the Job.


Dear LDotJ,

I do have some suggestions.  Have you tried adding grog, or even sand?   Sometimes a little more grit can offer a lot of vertical strength.   It may be simply that your clay is too short.   I suggest you try playing with your ball clays, sometimes this can help a lot.  Some folks suggest hand-building is the quickest way to create a large erection, but if you ask me, I wouldn’t obsess about the size of your cylinder.  Belief that a large pot is a good pot is a complete phalusy.  

Check out this veiny cylinder by Dick Cooter
Cooter_20.jpg
although not large I think this is a really fine upstanding piece
For a lot of men this can be a sensitive issue; I hope I wasn’t too hard on you.  Remember It takes all kinds; woodfire potters often need to fire with soft wood as well as hard wood.

-Simon



Simon Levin is a regular contributor to Sawdust and Dirt. He lives and makes pots in Gresham, WI. When Simon is not making or firing pots, fighting fires, or caring for his lovely family, he is creating such wonders as WikiClay! To find out more about Simon Levin and his pottery go to woodfire.com. If you have questions for Simon he can be reached at simon@sawdustanddirt.com otherwise please leave comments for Simon here!

Ceramic Arts Community

Michael Kline




Since its inception this past spring, I've been a moderator at the Ceramic Arts Community Forum. I moderate "In the Studio"!!

Other forums include:

You really should check it out. There are a lot of generous folks over there answering questions and making suggestions.

Over in the Aesthetics Forum I found a discussion of a great article written by S/D blogger Simon Levin, entitled "The Suck Factor".

I hope you will join in the discussion and I'll see you over there!

Simon Levin@AKAR

Michael Kline

Rough Square Plate, 12.5 x 9 x 1.5",
slab-built stoneware, wood fired

Simon Levin, who has brought you wikiclay, Facebook's American Mug, Simon Says, and the Google Map of WWW (world-wide wood kilns), is now being lauded by the folks at AKARDesign for what he does best, his beautiful anagama fired pottery. This month's show features Simon along with Sam Chung. There is also new work by Sue Tirell and Jeff Campana! So check it all out today @10 a.m. CST or 11 a.m. EST because tomorrow never knows! (i.e. he/she who hesitates could get lost, or turn off your mind, relax and float down stream to AKAR !)

Simon Says

Michael Kline


Simon Levin is a regular contributor to Sawdust and Dirt. He lives and makes pots in Gresham, WI. When Simon is not making or firing pots, fighting fires, or caring for his lovely family, he is creating such wonders as WikiClay! To find out more about Simon Levin and his pottery go to woodfire.com. If you have questions for Simon he can be reached at simon@sawdustanddirt.com otherwise please leave comments for Simon here!
See Simon's most recent work at AKAR beginning tomorrow, June 25th!


I thought I would take a moment away from answering the questions that flood my inbox, and use that time to draw your attention away from the namby-pamby narcissistic blather that you people call advice requests. There are larger issues that directly affect our ceramic world. More specifically I am referring to a conspiracy that has infested our field to a disturbing level and is so underground and subversive you may not even know it is there. I am talking about the Rabbit Conspiracy. Yes rabbits! Sculptural rabbits, slip trailed rabbits, scraffito rabbits, glazed rabbits. The use of rabbits in clay is spreading like.... well I am sure an analogy will present itself.

Perhaps you think I am crazy, well let me lay the facts before you and let reason, logic, and overwhelming evidence open your eyes. Look at the January 2010 issue of Ceramics Monthly, check out the ears front and center!

lisa clague's "all of us"

Or the cover of 500 Animals.


Many of the great artists of our time have fallen victim to the conspiracy, Ken Ferguson could barely handle the Rabbit influence.His work soon began to succumb as the rabbits took over.


And if Ferguson's proliferation of rabbits is not proof enough, look at these current popular artists' examples.

beth cavener stichter

lesley hildreth

kelly connole

ron meyers

russell wrankle

The rabbits have even affected the ancients. Glazes are said to have a lovely Hare's fur. Or look what this has done to our ceramic history. Clearly you cannot deny these to see among the Mimbre's peoples.



I suspect Bernard Leach was the grand high rabbiteer at some point. Not only did he make work that looked like this,
but lets look a little deeper down the rabbit hole, shall we? His student, perhaps the foremost American potter is named after a den of rabbits. Warren Mackenzie. Too subtle, huh? The whole thing is insidious. Bernard strongly influenced popular ceramic author Robin Hopper. Are you starting to believe me yet? For heaven's sake my own graduate professor was named Bunny McBride. Are you all ears yet? Let's look at who is rising to the top of American pottery today, Ayumi Horie. Why? Perhaps because she is prolific in spreading rabbits around.



Unscramble Ayumi Horie's name and it spells "I IOU MY HARE". Think about it!

Simon Says

Michael Kline


Dear Simon Says,

I am really into boxing. I don't know why. I have been tracing the early career of Muhammad Ali from when he was Cassius Clay. The history really interests me, but I also really love to watch a good sparring match. My boyfriend thinks it is too violent, we decided that if you are a fan of boxing he would let me enjoy the sport without nagging me. Are you a fan? Do you have a favorite boxer?

-The Ring of Truth


Dear Ring,

I am into boxing, but I actually prefer double boxing. I feel it is much safer especially when, as you say, you are working with a glasseous clay. I just don't think the risk is worth it not to double box. Now I am not a glaze guru like Pete Pinnell, but I can tell you that Kona F4 and G-200 are a pretty good match as far as spars go. Using more of them should keep your clay from being so glasseous.

I can't really say I have a favorite boxer. Each of my apprentices has had their strengths and weaknesses in this skill. I hope I have helped.

-Simon




Dear Simon Says

Okay, I am a fully committed male in a heterosexual relationship. The thing is, at work I have developed a flirtatious relationship with a member of the same sex. I guess you could call him my "Work Husband". My fear is that I might be leading my co-worker on, as well as confusing myself as to which "team" I play for. Not sure where to go from here?

Thanks
The Talented Mr. Guilty


Dear Mr. Guilty,

Now a lot of people say that just because I am some macho woodfire guy I don't like glaze. That simply isn't true. I just don't want someone forcing the glaze lifestyle on me.
I believe strongly that there are two types of people in this world. There are those who divide people into two groups, and those who don't, and I am thankful that I am neither. That being said, there are three types of pottery, Heterosectional, Bisectional, and Homosectional. These categories are nothing new, they date way back.

This Mycenaean jar is made with symmetry in mind making it a great example of bisectional work.



Now you may say, well that was just the way of the Greeks. Jomon Pottery But look at how flamboyant this Jomon pieces is. Now just because a piece is flamboyant doesn't mean it is homosectional. In fact I am certain that this piece was made with the top section added, rather than being carved from one piece. Moving over to Africa we can see this point even clearer, this pot is very understated but obviously homosectional.



What is great about ceramics today is that we can make whatever we want without worrying about being judged. We owe this privilege to artists like Peter Voulkos who started out as a raging heterosectional artist with works like this.

Eventually Voulkos took this to an extreme and ended up a sectional deviant.



Confronting societal notions about pottery during the sectional revolution, such avant-garde artists have left us a legacy of freedom. So go out there Mr Guilty, don't feel bad, make what you want to make, just be yourself. I hope I have helped.

-Simon

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 woodfire.com
If you have questions for Simon he can be reached at simon@sawdustanddirt.com

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.
-Simon




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,
Velocirapture

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 woodfire.com
If you have questions for Simon he can be reached at simon@sawdustanddirt.com

Walking and Talking (With Jack)

Michael Kline

yesterday's output needing work this morning

Bailey's Peak through a bare poplar tree









Poor doggy, Jack, just doesn't get walked enough! He's just got all of this energy that gets wasted and misdirected to the detriment of our shoes, soft toys, and plastic anythings! So off we went this morning on our loop around the high meadow behind our house.


Meanwhile, the studio was getting warmed up for my 12 starters that I was determined yet unsuccessful at getting done by noon. I was close, but I'll blame it on Sam for gumming up the works with inspiring convo! Even with my headset I had to stroll and talk every once in a while. Sam and I are coming up with a really neat something for the blog. I'll fill you in when we have it ironed out. Meanwhile I hope you've enjoyed our other guest bloggers (Simon Levin and Ellen Denker) so far.

Now back to work!
16 tankards by 1p.m.
will you give me credit?

Simon Says

Michael Kline

[Editor's Note: Many years ago I met Simon Levin at a pottery conference at Arrowmont. We all went out and had some dinner and spent the evening in stitches, laughing. Simon's wit is unmatched. So when I thought about inviting other folks to join in the blogging fun here I immediately thought of Simon.
Simon is not only a great potter, father, and husband, he also dishes out some great advice. If there is something really troubling you or a universal truth that you are in doubt of, maybe Simon can help. Just drop Simon an email and maybe he can sort things out for you in a future edition of "Simon Says". Without further ado, here are our first "callers" ...]
Dear Simon Says,
My boyfriend seems to be paying less and less attention to me. We hardly even fight any more. Any Suggestions?

-Living with Apathy

Dear LWA,

I think you need something to fight about. We need to fill our lives with things we are passionate about. There is nothing like a good mug like one by Ayumi Horie, or Karl Borgeson to start a row. "Where's Karl?" "You got to use the Ayumi last time!" Or what about a lovely Julia Galloway mug? "Who left Julia all dirty and in the bathroom?" I mean good pots are great fodder for arguments. Its a rich mine for passionate discussion. So go out there LWA and buy some sweet crockery to fire up the relationship.

-Simon

Dear Simon Says,
Since getting married I have gained some weight. My wife is constantly teasing me about my love handles. Sometimes she will even say "You're fat"! She knows how this hurts my feelings. What should I do?

-Chubby Hubby


Dear Chubby Hubby,
Your letter really spoke to me. I too love handles. Linda Christianson makes such a great one, or what about Josh DeWeese's; you could hardly get looser than that. And on the flip side Pete Pinnell's are tight but oh so elegant. You know good handles, ones you can really enjoy are deceptively hard to make. They should be appreciated. It took me a long time to develop my handles.
josh deweese pitcher

linda christianson basket/vase

pete pinnell ewer

I am not sure what your point is about fat shinos (although I am pretty sure it is spelled shino not She-knows). On the right pot they can speak about generosity of material, but they can crawl and cause problems.

I suggest you fill a nice Tara Wilson pitcher with beer, drink out of a Kristin Keiffer mug and think about their handles. Or perhaps you could bake a nice artichoke cheese dip in Linda's casserole with the side handles and nosh a little while you contemplate the quiet beauty of a good handle.

--Simon

Simon Levin is a regular contributor to Sawdust and Dirt. He lives and makes pots in Gresham, WI. If you have questions for Simon he can be reached at simon@sawdustanddirt.com

Name Dropping

Michael Kline

Kelleher

After publishing the previous post, I realized that I forgot to mention that Matt K is in a show at RedLodge Gallery with Brad Schwieger, Matt Long, David Hiltner, Jason Hess, James Brashear, Ted Adler, Dean Adams, and our wood-kiln-map guy, Simon Levin! After all, what would this blog be without mention of Simon!? The show is called INFERNO! Here are some other pots from the show.

Long

Adler


Levin

Speaking of whom, Simon will be joining the Sawdust & Dirt columnists later this month, along with Mark Shapiro, Ayumi Horie, Don Pilcher, and Sam Taylor. More on this exciting news later.

On the Map

Michael Kline


My kiln has been put on Simon Levin's Google map of wood kilns!

Follow this link to see the map and visit kiln sites around the world. When you visit the Google Map of Wood Kilns, there will be a list on the left side of the screen that will point you to other kilns on the map. If you click once on the blue markers a pop up window will show you info about the kiln as well as a picture of the kiln. Have fun touring the wood kiln of the world!

front/door side of the kiln after a firing