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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: history

History of Ceramics

Michael Kline

7 Year Itch

Michael Kline

what the blog looked like in 2008 (courtesy of Rosti Eismont of The Studio Potter!)
Today is the anniversary/birthday of ye olde Sawdust and Dirt blog! My first blog post was 2/6/2007! You can read that first post here.

And my my! How times have changed!

But back in the day there weren't many potters taking the time to journal about their pottery, potters were late bloomers to the technology. I remember the excitement of reading Ron's adventures, which was a portal into an unseen world of pottery bloggery leading me to potters all over the place! But after a short while it seemed that the potter bloggery was all the rage! [Wasn't it? ;-)]

early blogroll screen shot

While there was scattered contempt in our field of the early adoption by potter bloggers, these early blogs opened the many doors and windows into the potter's work to the pottery community at large. As we became comfortable with the  technology of sharing through the blog, the community expanded with  the likes [no pun intended] of Facebook and later Instagram (among others) as that online community grew worldwide. Although joining the world of FB was slow in our field in those early days it eventually became a huge presence in our lives. and how we keep up with each other.

Because of the Facebook explosion and it's ever increasing community and functionality, my blogging slowed down and eventually I gave it up for a short time. FB just seemed to be easier and the I tried to reach a slightly wider audience of not only potters, but collectors as well. Eventually I came back to the blog because it was a more appropriate format for me to dive deeper into ideas. Besides, it was a better archive and easier to search.

Blogging is still, for me, a better format for writing, while Instagram and it's parent, Facebook are better visual storytelling. Today I maintain a Facebook presence, an Instagram stream, AND try to write on this blog occasionally. Although these communities sometimes seem like a hall of mirrors,  there are still folks who haven't adopted FB and IG, or have tried and dropped it.

Well, I'd love to write more about this subject, but my Shimpo Scream awaits me. I will be speaking at NCECA about social media next month and will be sharing more thoughts on where all of this is going for me, personally.

So for now, I wanted to thank all of you who read this blog and have supported me over the years. I especially want to thank Ron, Shane, Emily, Doug, Hannah, and all the others who inspired me to take the time to start a blog.

As the times and the technology changes, I think we will always have a hunger to be better at what we do and I think by taking the time to share what we do in whatever ways we can with each other, satisfies that hunger and helps to make our ceramic culture the best it can be.

And of course, thanks to all 577, 039 visitors to the blog (to date so far). Without your support I probably wouldn't be here today.


Carolina Mingei

Michael Kline

I just spoke to my porcelain buddy Tom. He's really excited about this survivor. I can see why. He sent these pictures. Tom's thinking from the evidence of bloating and burn outs/melt outs that the pot was an early, maybe 1850's, pot made from an exploratory field of clay. Tom pointed out to me, and as I see, that the clay had several technical issues. It could have been essentially a test or clay that was being used for the first time or an example of some transitional clay. During our conversation I kept thinking that he could have been talking about my clay, haha. Perhaps it was a pot made from the best available clay at that time. Obviously this was not a beginning potter, but the materials may have been new and untested. The jar's rim/lip is unglazed and I think the deformation is from other pots being stacked upon it. I don't recall what Tom said about that. Here is a picture of that rim.

I would have to say that there must be many more similar pots out there yet to be discovered by the wider pottery loving audience. It's exciting to see these pots surface and have access to them. Thanks Tom for sharing!

Here is Tom's recent, and very relevant commentary in Ceramics Monthly.

The UTK Anagama-Melrose

Michael Kline

I dug up these two images to show you that the pots haven't really changed that much over these years. Here are a couple of pots from about 1985 that were fired in the anagama kiln at Melrose, the University of TN graduate studio. I had somehow finagled my way in to getting a studio there as an undergrad because I was interested in the wood kiln and the salt kiln, both at the Melrose Studio. They were most likely in a kiln that was fired with Peter Rose. The pots are, what I called then, loose.
I just didn't know how to thrown that well, and was happy to be making pots that looked Asian. Japanese potter, Shiro Otani, had built* the anagama a couple of years earlier, and I was under the influence that lingered there at UT, after Otani's residency. As a matter of fact, Shiro was teaching at Arrowmont at some point, and I went to meet him and tell him that I was firing the kiln he had built. I brought a couple of pots with me to show him. He generously took a moment to look at them and didn't say a word, he just handed them back and smiled. As a young potter from Tennessee, I didn't know how to interpret his response. I think he was just being polite!
The kiln and studios were bulldozed in 2005 to make room for a parking lot.

The kiln was actually built by Ken Shipley, Stephen Frazier, Patrick Houston, and others after the kiln built at Arrowmont built by Otani.