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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: cutting feet

Yours Truly

Michael Kline

It's been a while and I wish I could say that I've been really productive. But editing OPP1 can be even more time consuming than just sitting down and composing from the top of my head. But I hope you have been enjoying the diversity of material here on ye olde blogge. Other distractions include taking walks in the summer spring sunshine, canoeing on the pond, lifting riding lawnmowers to the detriment to my neck and shoulders, and playing in the dirt!

I finally finished processing about 500 lbs. of red dirt and came to the conclusion that I need bigger versions of my tools to get a bigger yield! (duuuH) Instead of shovel, 1/2 in. drill with jiffy mixer, I need a backhoe and a 100 gallon blunger! Then we'll be talking! I also had some good feedback from Tom Turner about my clay body and we invented (at least in on paper) a giant french coffee press type of clay plunger. (to separate rocks and small stones from slip before it is dried and pugged)

I finally cut the plates that have been under plastic since Sunday. I noticed this subtle influence as I was looking over this patterned wire cut. Can't say it was a conscious thing, but I had a little chuckle and thought I would share.

freshly thrown plates among stuff confiscated from Jack

Tried to make 12 by 12 (midnight) and did them by 1 a.m. Instead of making after supper pots, I got into selecting and arranging some pots that will be heading to GA and the Signature Shop's next exhibit, The Southern Pot. Below are the pots (on the 1959 Blaupunkt New York console) that will heading to 3267 Roswell Rd. All are for sale. Contact the Signature Shop for the pots and email me if you're interested in the Blaupunkt!

...until next time!

other peoples posts.

Super Bat

Michael Kline

When I pulled out my super bat yesterday to cut some feet on a large bowl, I tried to remember if I had mentioned it or explained here. Hmmm? No matter.

It came about after needing to trim large bowls on the treadle wheel. Since the treadle has a limited bat width because of it's mud box (splash pan) I had to go over the pan to use larger bats. For years (before I put bat pins on the wheel head) I would put a cookie of clay down on the wheel head, put a small bat on that, then another cookie, etc. until I cleared the pan. One day, I had an idea to build a custom bat that would do the same thing but be more efficient and I came up with the "super-bat". It's worked very well.

the superbat and it's clearance.

The only thing about the superbat
is that trimmings invariably fall to the floor and make a bit of a mess. But no problem. I have found a place on the pot where trimmings tend to go neatly into the pan. See the following video.

I've got to get the MeTube video production crew back in here to keep up with the Joneses, Philbeck's, Fitch's, et. al.

some jugs that I handled before I shut down the shop yesterday.

weather report. more snow fell last night.

Chasing Plastic

Michael Kline

Hey! You win some, (a lot, really), and

every once in a while, thankfully rarely, your lose one.
It's been so long since this has happened, it's always humbling, not to mention fun to play around with the pieces!

Why cry over spilled-milk, or cut-through-bottoms? Have fun. Delight in the mistakes. Do better next time. There's always another chance to make good.

Lot's of plastic to chase on Tuesday.

Day Two of the Big Week!


Michael Kline

Just finished the yunomis. I'm not that excited by them. If I had more time I would go back to the wheel where I could take the info from the trimming session and work that into new forms. It's a chicken and egg situation. But here they are. What do you think? I know it's all about holding these cups, and without that info it's tough to assess. Then think about all the pots you've ever seen in books, even in museums, that you haven't touched or picked and think about how biased we are to surface because of that. It's crazy! To me this form is so much about holding.

These feel a little heavy in places and some feel too thin/light

Problem Solving

Michael Kline

After rewriting the XML code of my blog template, which took a considerable degree of problem solving I was faced with some pottery problems. The problem with this series of plates was the contrasting colors of clay on my trimming chuck. I trim the feet of these pots on a clay donut that is slightly larger in diameter than the plate or bowl I am trimming. This way I can quickly lift the pot and get a feel of it's trimmed weight and return it to continue if needed. This approach is usually pretty efficient. But with the white kaolin slip already on the pots and the red dirt clay as my chuck I was getting some smearing on the pots.

So I thought it would paint the chuck with the white kaolin slip and avoid the smearing. But since the slip is very fine grained and smooth, I lost the grip of the coarse red dirt clay. It actually was so slick that this plate slipped off the chuck and got some bad bruises!

I ended up going back to three clay coils to hold the plates in place. A little slower, but always reliable.

I usually cut out the little peak that I get when trimming the foot. One of my mentors, Michael Simon always had these beautiful peaks under his cups, bowls, and plates. For many years it gave me great pleasure to try to get a nice point on my pots, too. One day though, I decided it was time for that point to go and decided from that day on to cut it out! Now I call it the belly button!

Every once in a while I leave the point. After all, cutting it out seems a little contrived even though I like the belly button. I think a lot about Michael when I make pots, even though I don't try to make the pots he makes, his commitment and mastery continue to inspire.

Introducing the eBat™

Michael Kline

the eBat™ clearing the treadle wheel

the eBat™ underbelly

I love using the treadle wheel to cut feet on plates, bowls, etc. It's relaxing to hear the clip clop of the treadle and I get to sit down for a change. Plus it's very easy to stop to make adjustments. But when I have big plates or bowl I always have to use the Shimpo Scream™ without the splash pan and clay trimmings fly everywhere!


Now I have just the thing! The eBat™! Tonight a moment of iClarity™ took me to the next level. Now there's the super duper eBat™!
[eBat™ because names with the e or i in front of them look cool. ™ because I just learned the keystroke for "™"] The new Kline Pottery eBat™ will accommodate up to 18"platter or bowl.
Order yours today!
Maybe I will start a specialty tool business!

Maybe not.

Fire One Hire One

Michael Kline

Our newest and youngest employee,
Lillian, age 4.83

Just to keep the balance of employment here in Mitchell County, we've decided to hire Lillian back to do some sub contracting. She will be in charge of feet and other trimming/cutting duties. Since she is underage please don't post or share this information. We wouldn't want to risk having her parents hauled off to the pokey.


Michael Kline

Here are a few of the cups that I've been working on the last couple of days drying by the woodstove, in hopes that they will be ready and there will be space in Courtney's kiln by weeks end. It's been great to make pots in the shop with wood heat. It's been a long time since I've had the pleasure of being absolutely cold waiting for the fire to get going in the morning and on the other end realizing that it was so hot that I needed to open a door! Ahhhh. I'm not complaining.

the tea bowl chuck
'apres' Stonepool
I also wanted to share with you the "chuck" I am using to cut the feet on my swirl/twirl cups/yunomi. I got this idea from Mark Shapiro, who has probably made a gazillion teabowls over the years. I remember the hundreds we would load into every kiln load at Stonepool.

The center dosen't really support the cup, but, instead, keeps it from flying of the wheel if it comes loose from it's clay moorings. Ideally the clay pad is soft enough and the rim size of the cups are relatively the same size and a little trench emerges as you use it. Unfortunately it also dries a little bit as you go on. I just go back and re-wet it from time to time. Since all of the cups were of varying sizes I had to make my chuck to fit the average size.

Like many of these pottery processes, cutting the feet, getting good balance, visual and otherwise, is hard to get without repeating the cycle a few times. Just as in throwing each new pot gets you closer to an ideal, cutting these feet was a little disappointing, and I wish I had thrown a few, then trimmed a few to get all the notes right the next time around. I threw all of these cups before i had trimmed a single one. Doing the swirl added a complication. Since the swirl is essentially inlay, trimming away the feet cut most of the inlay away. I tried leaving the outside untoached in some cases, but I wasn't exactly happy with the weight, etc. So decisions had to be made, heads did roll, or something like that. Anyway, to the drying unit and hopefully bisquing and glazing in the days to come.