Get in touch!

Use the form on the right to contact Michael Kline!

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.

Thanks for visiting.

The Best of Sawdust and Dirt

A record of the goings on around Michael Kline Pottery!

Filtering by Tag: drawing

Dish Soap and Reclaim Nation

Michael Kline

I spent most of the day uncovering and sorting through things in my studio. There was some fun prepping some  red dirt for a new batch of dark clay, some reclaiming slipped into plaster bats. (See illustration) 

clay kline slop NC Carolina
the only thing more inefficient than reclaiming your clay
is making a drawing of it as you wait for it to be ready. ;-)

But the only dishes I got my hands on we're the dirty ones in the sink. But that's ALWAYS good practice running your hands all over a dirty dish can sometimes be very illuminating! 

I thought the soap pattern on this metal bowl took on a pattern a lot like soda glaze. 

I did manage to clear my work table and I plan on filling it with fresh clay tomorrow! 

Until then, chiao


Michael Kline

I painted a few paper plates that went out to some of my star customers from last week's Etsy Sale.

It's a great way to keep the brushes limber while there aren't any pots to paint. I hope to take this technique on the road to my upcoming workshops in NYC and CT. More on those soon.

Want a plate? Buy a pot!

Today I start making pots. Film at 11.

Guess who?

Drawings and Layers vol. 2

Michael Kline

Sometimes the sketch is better than the finished piece. I thought so after I painted these last night! But maybe I'm measuring success with a different ruler than other possible beholders. These were fun and I'm excited about the possibilities of this new design. I'm mostly excited to follow the brush and the ink and where it goes, where it takes me. Just as the kiln is the teacher, or the clay is the teacher, I follow the ink coming off the brush and react to it's nature. Of course there are patterns that I'm comfortable with and there's always the confidence or lack of to limit the outcome. But during the painting of these paper plates, I waived the concerns of the objects I was painting for a bit and it was so refreshing!
Should these be framed? Should they go on a pedestal in the gallery?

Maybe I should keep some of the best ones? Most probably I will give them to folks at the opening tonight as a gesture of gratitude for supporting me and what I do.
That seems more appropriate. But maybe we'll frame one, too?!

Hope to see you tonight in Asheville.

The Week: briefly

Michael Kline

Crunch Time here with firing XXXVI just around the corner. Deep thoughts abound, but difficult to share with you as it takes time to distill here, but here are a few pictures that are always easier pass on to you.
went to American Folk Art Gallery in Asheville
to pick out mattes and moulding for the framing
of these drawings I've been doing for the
October solo show!

a full corn moon lighted my way back home from
late nights of drawing and potting
oh, there's the tack I was looking for!

fun with my slip comb

Daily Drawing Book

Michael Kline

Let's get back to work!

Enough of this talk!

Well, it's not so easy, is it?

Well, here are some more drawings from the Drawing Book I've been working on for the show. I'm not sure how this will all play out on the pots since I tend to decorate and glaze "en masse". [that's french for en masse] I have several bisque firings under the belt already, so maybe I should take some time each day after some ink drawing to do a few pots!

Some of the stuff that is going through my head, when I stop to think about it, is an attention to the materials and the process. In this case pen, brush, ink, paper, crayon, etc. It seems that I'm most pleased when the drawings come off from pure exploration of these mnaterials, and not from my preconceived notions of what the drawings should be. The above is a good example of a discovery that just touching the wet page with a tiny tipped brush would create these beautiful dots where the ink spread. The colored page on the left is one of that separates "chapters" in the book. Each "chapter has 12 pages. I'm sure my bookmaker friends could tell us what this is called. Essentially each "chapter" is bound this way.

I have some beautiful pots that my friend Sam made. On some of those pots are great little picture framed images that I think he masks out with a paper after he has dipped the pots in slip, then brushes iron or some oxides over the slip then peels the paper off and paints an image that seems to over step its frame in a beautiful way. I'm not sure of the sequence, but I incorporated that technique with these drawings. See below one such example of Sam's design.

mmm, more dots

meow, meow

Drawings and Layers

Michael Kline

a detail of a larger drawing

a slightly different detail
of the same drawing

loop-d-loop fun

loop-d-loop + reeds+ fake writing

Here are a few of the drawings I have been working on. These are all india ink on tracing paper and were photographed through the window of my studio. The above are each either two sheets, or three sheets that were put together in different orders. I'm playing around not only with line and form but with the various compositions and how they look together in varying degrees of transparency. I have bumped up the contrast a little to get an accurate darkness of the top sheet. I have been drawing these very quickly and usually do about twenty sheets over a ten minute flurry. Then I spend a fair amount of time looking at them in various combinations. This is awkward territory for me and I'm hoping to be more confident and less self-conscious. I think the drawings will be better.

Anyway, I hope this is a little window into what I'll be doing in the coming weeks. I will share more thoughts as this process evolves.

Ramping Up the Creativity Curve

Michael Kline

More plates from today and some sketches in ink from a couple of days ago. It's a slow start but that how is usually is at a beginning of a cycle. I'll have help in the coming weeks and hopefully July will be a big month!

I'll be working on the 2D work for the October solo show at American Folk Art in Asheville, NC in the coming weeks as well. I have a lot of ideas but doesn't anybody? The difficult part is, always, producing good work. My plan is to make time every day and space in my studio to explore some of these ideas and work through the "creativity" curve to get to the other side of those ideas. Just as the pottery comes out of the kiln in a far more interesting way than I had "imagined", my drawings will, hopefully, take a similar journey.
More to come.


Michael Kline

Here's another drawing. This one is on tracing paper and it was scanned for this image. I like the light and dark that was created during the scan. Like my salt slip on my pots there is a lot of variation with a simple palette. The drawing has been fixed on the side of our fridge with magnets and the ink has faded from being in the sun and next to our stove. There may be a little sauce as well. Quite a lot to list in it's description if it ever makes it to the show in October! See how the drawing looked in this post from the past!

Chicks and Marriage

Michael Kline

nine years ago Stacey and I got married
in the little church over at Penland!
[photo by Nancy Barnett]

Wow 9 years!! Where does the time go? I guess time does fly when your having kids and making a home. I guess I forgot to mention keeping a pottery business afloat , and building a kiln and studio! It's been a blast, Stacey!

So, like so many parents with kids we'll celebrate our anniversary with the girls tonight after their swimming lessons and then hopefully we'll get away (sans kids) on a date by ourselves to hear some music, have a nice dinner, and use big words of affection while gazing lovingly into each others eyes!! I just hope that I'll remember some "grown up" words!


Speaking of girls, I just couldn't help share these pictures Lillian took last night of the new chicks in our hen house!

These are just a couple from the 150 or so that I just downloaded from the camera!! Ha! She's really been enjoying taking pictures with the old FujiPix. When I was Lillian's age (1967) the camera and it's film were reserved for special occasions with the occasional snapshots. With digital cameras it's become almost too easy to snap off a few hundred. But it's pretty cool that she's getting into taking pictures!

In other news I'm getting ready to do some drawings and paintings for a show I'll have this coming October at the American Folk Art Gallery in Ashville. Betsey Rose and I have been planning a great show of new pots, as well as some new drawings in ink and other goodies, TBA. You'll see it first here so stay tuned.

here is one from a few years ago that
hangs in my showroom.

One Rather Long Ramble: Or Am I Going To Ever Going To Get Back to the Wheel?

Michael Kline

Somehow it all makes sense I guess. There are things in your life that have their influence on you, people, pots, and finger paintings! I just saw this drawing as I was putting together this morning's post and thought, "oh, that's interesting." It could be that I'm drawing conclusions or implying that this drawing has influenced me in some subconscious way when really it just hangs on the door that we go in and out of all through the day. Now I'm confusing myself. Anyway you can draw your own conclusions or draw your own finger painting, or just draw!

When I was at Highwater Clays the other day I bought a bag of Grolleg kaolin for my #6 Tile kaolin slip. Go figure. I call it T6 slip, but it has a little bit of Grolleg in the recipe. It's a recipe I got from Linda Christianson somewhere down the road. It worked really well, so why change a good thing? Well that bag of Grolleg kaolin was $44! Yes, I know it is from England. Yes I know it probably one of the world's best clays. But come on!! I tell myself that it's just a small portion of the recipe and the bag will last a long time. But come on! I putting it on dirt! Oh well. If it works is there a reason to fix it?

[In researching this post, it turns out that all dry materials have gone ¡way! up. Did you notice this, or am I just a little slow to catch on? The Grolleg is actually ¡cheaper! than the #6Tile!! See for yourself...]

I digress.

Where were we?

Oh yes, I pour the slip on the slabs, spin the bat that the slab is on, and then comb away.

Here is the hump mold just after I have shaped a dish. You can still see the ghost image of the combed slip. Below are the molded dishes aprés Bandana. Stacey thought they looked too much like Michael and Naomi's pots. I said, "Oh good!!" I don't think she knew that it was covers week here at the pottery. And what would be so wrong about that, anyway? I guess this idea of originality is a problematic one for us potters.

I also saw some nice doodlings from Dylan Bowen. You can see for yourself. It's a doodle thing! (aka what goes around, comes around)

On to more formal thoughts, or more well formed thoughts, anyway. [damn, ever since Simon's post yesterday, I've been trying to be as clever, sorry, I'll leave the irony to Mr. Levin]

Here is a bottle/vase/call-it-what-you-will, on a specially made chuck for trimming. This series of pots started out as a cover of the Bruce Gohlson "big gulp" yunomi the other day and by the second board of 'em it had morphed into this shape. To see the bottle/vase just hold your monitor upside down, or stand on your head, or scroll down, whatever is more fun, or easier, your choice...
The cup shape grew into a vase shape quite naturally.

Here are a couple that asked for ears!

After that I was back at the treadle wheel for some more trimming. I took the still soft chuck I used for the bottle/vases and reshaped the top to accommodate the MSimon cup covers! The updated chuck's effectiveness was marginal but it worked and I got them done.

The feet were tricky. I soon found that I had looked closely at the finished fired cup when throwing these, but hadn't looked closely enough at the foot. For most of these I had left too much clay in bottoms which needed a lot careful tweaking to get the cups where they wanted to be. A process that made the feet look a little overwrought. Most of them were taller and narrower in proportion than the original.

This one had the nice profile, a decent weight, and the foot was close, but a far cry from Mr. Simon's. The scale is a little off.


The scale is one of the things I like about Michael's cup. It's volume is very specific to my coffee in the morning or a good gulp of water. My version will hopefully find a home where it is "just the thing".

For me, it's back to the drawing board, or rather, back to the wheel! It's getting on noon and here I am at a keyboard!

Don't forget to take this weeks poll! Just a few hours left! Scroll down and you'll find it on the right hand sidebar. Thanks.

Last Post of November

Michael Kline

A drawing by Evelyn

I guess the holiday is over and the month is over. Where does the time go? Here's where the new shop stands,
  • Main room painted
  • Showroom not painted, not even sanded
  • most electrical devices installed
  • electric not on
  • mud everywhere, no surprise
Here's what I hope to get done this week,
  • Finish drywall in showroom
  • paint primer in showroom
  • paint finish coat showroom
  • install wood stove and chimney with Shane
  • put gravel on muddy entrance
  • trim doors
  • trim windows
  • clean floor of dust
  • set up tables for pots
  • set up track lights
  • set up pots/jewelry
  • tidy up
Thanks for allowing me to bore you with these details. I can't wait to get the wheels in place get some clay splattered around on the walls and make some pots. Oh, how I long to take some pictures of some freshly thrown pots and tell you how sweet it is to be making pots in the new shop. I appreciate your patience and thanks for reading.