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: electric kiln

Guest Blogger: Rob Haugen of Olympic Kilns

Michael Kline

Installing a New Electric Kiln – Part 1

Safety Considerations

Before Installation there are many things to consider before installing your new electric kiln. Actually, there are many things you should consider before BUYING a new kiln including amount of space, ventilation capability and electrical supply. Assuming that all of those factors are accounted for, the next concern is how to go about installing it. Where should you put your new kiln, and what are the things you need to be concerned about in terms of safety? Good questions! Let’s dive right in.

The first thing to take into account is space. Obviously you should have a space that’s big enough to accommodate your kiln but there needs to be at least 12 inches of space between the kiln and the wall. It’s a safety precaution but it will also help you access the back of the kiln for servicing. In fact, if you can give it an even wider berth, do it. It’s definitely better to have a kiln in a wide open room alone than shoved in a cramped space.

Next, you should absolutely remove anything flammable from around the kiln. Typically this goes without saying but it’s not uncommon to accidentally leave something flammable, like a shirt, near the kiln. Take time to make sure that your environment is safe and free of clutter.

Now that the kiln is in the room (away from the wall by at least 12 inches) you need to ensure proper ventilation. As the kiln gets hotter during the firing process, the room it’s housed in will also get hotter. It’s the same effect as if you were in your kitchen. Hot stove equals hot room. For a gas kiln, it’s essential that an exhaust hood be placed above the kiln to remove heat and gases like carbon monoxide. Even if you are going to install it outside, make sure that your gas kiln meets all local regulations in terms of ventilation. If you are unsure about proper ventilation, contact an electrician or other expert to guide you. You’re dealing with heat and fire so it’s definitely a case of “better safe than sorry”.

Your kiln is now placed in an appropriate area, free of clutter and set up with proper ventilation. It’s time to get down to the actual operation of the kiln.

Stay tuned for Part 2 of Installing a New Electric Kiln to learn about electrical requirements and how to stay safe once the kiln goes live.

Rob Haugen grew up with Olympic Kilns, following in his father's footsteps by providing electric, gas, and glass kilns. He works tirelessly everyday cultivating a deeper understanding of the ceramics industry and developing the Olympic Kilns.  Come by Booth #424 at NCECA and see the complete line of Olympic Kilns. 

#13 Loaded and Switched On

Michael Kline

12 down and 1 to go

I usually fire about ten bisque kilns to fill the wood kiln with pots. So I guess it will be a full load. Good to know. I need the pots! Wrapping up the painting for a full day of glazing tomorrow! Of course there will be more painting news to report later tonight. I hope I'm not wearing you all out.

Are you still with me?

Some Pots From the E-Kiln

Michael Kline

Turner porcelain with 1%Copper glaze

Turner porcelain with Amber and hillux glazes, black underglaze.

The pile of pots I brought to DC for the sale.

Some Breakfast cups with the 1% coppper glaze

I was happy to see some of the black and white underglazes working on these cups. I hope to get back and throw more porcelain for my upcoming show at the Ferrin Gallery which opns in May! I'd better get busy!

Another Bisque Note

Michael Kline

I wanted to put this in the blog so that I would remember...instead of unloading this pot and thinking, "what the hell is that little black blob on the glaze!??"

This cup has been painted and glazed. After that, I brushed some wax resist over the glaze and then cut through with a sharp little bitty trimming tool (that Becky Lloyd had given me a while back). Then I brushed some black slip over the cut through design of forlorn birdy. I'm curious if the slip will "float" in the glaze surface or fade into the under glaze.

[FIRING NOTE: The kiln may need a new coil or two as it's struggling to get to temperature. I have put some fiber on the lid to help it along. After all, it is 12 years old! It could be a long night of "stoking"]

More Painted Porcelain Pots for the E Kiln

Michael Kline


a more typical design motif by Moi
(that's french for mwaah)

Here are a few more plates that are in the electric kiln today! The white slip is barely visible in these pictures. Click on the pictures to enlarge them. You will be able to see the designs more clearly. I had a couple of these plates crack pretty badly during the bisque. Maybe they dried too fast? I don't know, but they both cracked at a sharp cut in the rim. Typical, even though I cut the foot ring first before compromising the rim by cutting it.

the designs will hopefully be more
apparent after the glaze firing.

I'm heading up to Penland to do painting a demo for Shane Mickey's class. They just built a new soda kiln and will unload it tomorrow and fire again on Thursday! They need some brush-learnin'.

Decorating and Glazing The Porcelain

Michael Kline

porcelain cups painted with
black and white slips

I spent a few hours last night decorating/painting the porcelain I had just bisque fired (to cone 07). I am firing these pots in the electric kiln to cone 9! I'm not sure what they will look like, I did a lot of guessing. My basic strategy evolved as I went along. First, I wanted to use the amber and copper glazes with black and white slips/under glazes. One of my immediate reactions was to the whiteness of the surface. I recalled a conversation I had with an App. State student I had interviewed earlier in the day about the blank canvas. I told him that when I draw I could only begin after I had smeared charcoal over the whole surface. There's something about process and about self consciousness that made me feel uncomfortable with the blank clean paper or canvas. I had the same feeling with the clean white surface of the porcelain. So I began most of the cups with a wash of black under glaze. Sometimes I would use a sponge to smear the under glaze on the surface. I did this with some of the insides of the cups as well. Then I went in with the brushes and painted some crisp clean marks of vines and such as I am accustomed to do. I went back and forth with the black and the white slips, not sure which will dominate under the glazes. My big fear is that the designs will be too stark and lack the variation that I get in the wood kiln.

Some dots that have been smeared in several directions.
Whether or not the "tails" will remain after
the firing is anyone's guess. We'll see!


Michael Kline

stackin'em up

I need shelves!!

There's something about running out of room and needing to fire the bisque kiln that makes me get real going(for a change) in the shop. I start getting more ideas about pots I want to make and need to make. Maybe it has something to do with the intrinsic properties of the bisque. We used to joke about the 'beauty' of the bisque firing! Oh, what a happy destination of pink loveliness. So much more appealing than it's drab beige beginnings. Ummm, not...
In the past I have raw glazed, and now do some bone dry glazing, but for the most part "I bisque most everything. It's generally easier for me to handle while I paint it and I handle it a lot while I'm painting.

Looking Into The Coming Week

Michael Kline

It was a great day
working outside on the new shop with Buck.
We punched out a few details, windows in tool shed,
steps into studio, siding.
Thanks for all of you who have stepped up to vote
on the cups I will send tomorrow to AKAR.
If you haven't yet, see previous post and send in your vote!

I have reclaimed clay that was sitting outside and
frozen and will be throwing more pots this week.

I also have some porcelain courtesy of Tom Turner to play with.
When the power is finally turned on at the shop, I will celebrate with a cone 6 porcelain glaze firing in the old L & L electric kiln. (something I've been thinking about doing for a while)
I'll keep you posted, of course!