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: hump mold

Aprés Bandana

Michael Kline

Stacey is cooking up some fine victuals for dinner tonight, which we will share with Naomi and Michael, just over the hill. I can't wait to get over there to see their newborn baby girl, Miriam! I've been so busy I haven't been able to get over there to visit with them, shame, shame.

While I'm there I may have a chance to compare my notes on the "cover" of their hump molded dish that has been so fascinating by these last couple of weeks. Like all things that appear simple at first glance, there are levels of complexity in this form that have been very challenging/vexing to me. Here is a short series showing how I decorated a few.

First I poured a little kaolin slip on the slabs.

Then I pushed the slip around the slab to get an interesting coverage.

I combed the patterns with my handy-dandy tricked out Mudtools rib.
I plan on painting a pattern over this, so I kept the pattern simple.

Here are the dishes after they were molded.
See this post to get an idea what the mold looks like.
Michael and Naomi do a very similar pattern,
but use their fingers to wipe through the slip.

Here are the dishes drying out yesterday over the wood stove.
They're in the bisque kiln today!

I'll try to get some pictures (I promise!) on here of the brushwork that I'm doing.

On Edge

Michael Kline

Up late with a bisque kiln, so I thought I would say hello and post a few pictures. As the title of this post cleverly alludes to, it's that time of the session when things get kind of nerve wracking and I make the mental transition from throwing at the wheel to surface and glazing work.

Also speaking of edginess, here are two ways I treated some hump molded bowls (aprés Bandana Pottery) The above edge is just "thumbed" across the edge of the mold while the clay was pretty soft. The picture below shows a bowl that has been cut with a wire to get a sharper edge. Which one do you prefer? I sort of like the first example. The process, there, seemed a little Natural, while the wire cutting was awkward. I think that shows in the end. Oh well, I have to explore the possibilities with this "cover".

I made a variety of sizes just to see how proportions worked with the mold. Also this is a good way to remember how much clay I used if I want to repeat these shapes in the future. (this is a good use of the blog for those out there wondering why they should start a blog of their own. since this blog is searchable you can go back and review whenever you want.)

Lillian came up for a spin on the treadle wheel Saturday! She's doing pretty good despite the fact that the wheel head is just below her shoulders!

On Sunday it was back to the Seagrove area for the NC Pottery Center's annual membership meeting. It was a gorgeous drive and pleasantly warm.

Here's one of the highway signs you'll see as you near
the town of Seagrove.
Six exits to pottery!!

During the membership meeting I was voted onto the Board of Directors at the Pottery Center so I'll be making frequent trips there. It's a real privilege to be asked to serve on the Pottery Center Board and I'm really excited to be a part of that fantastic nexus for pottery in our state. I'll try to introduce you to some of the wonderful potters working there. If you're interested in Seagrove and it's potters check out Three Corners Clay blog. It has announcements about Seagrove area pottery.

Back home there was much to catch up on. I scrambled to finish up the wet work and these lidded jars, the first in a long while. I can't remember the last session that I made lidded jars. But I've enjoyed these in addition to the knob-and-all's that I made last week.

More kiln work is in order for the morrow, hopefully that'll get wrapped up so I can get the brushes out for to begin the leaves and birds (and who knows what else) There's always a surprise that emerges when one sits down for several days with a brush and hundreds of pots! I hope I can record some of the fun. See you then!

Week's End

Michael Kline

Cover Week came to a crashing end as I miserably failed to refine or update the hump molded dish I was working on for what seemed like hours the other day. I have a few boards of these dishes but called it quits when I wasn't getting the results I wanted. I had come up ,with a way of making a big loaf with the size and shape that needed very little cutting, shaping etc. I had marginal success, but wished I had made new hump molds.

Don Pilcher shared his thoughts on the covers:

They can be done three ways- a spot on
replication, a nuanced restatement or an out of the box expression. Each
has a place though I'd argue they are not equally worthy of our attention
and the life of an art form eventually requires the last.
I guess my out of the box expressions would have benefited from more time. More an exercise than an expression, the covers helped me to understand outside of my box and gave me some ideas to follow up on in the next session after I fire these. Far from complete replication, these offered me a way to throw myself off course just a little by forming unfamiliar shapes and reacting to them in a spontaneous progressive sort of way. Here are a couple of shots of my table where I did a lot of head scratching and slab rolling and hump molding.

Most of the molded dishes were tossed out, but I did save a few to fire. After the day (a week) of experimenting, I needed to make some pots that were reassuring and familiar so I made a bunch of 9 lb. bowls. So at the end of Saturday night, I felt I hadn't wasted a day chasing butterflies, but had some pots that I really needed for the upcoming firing. It's good to mix the practical with the exploratory!

The vase/bottle forms got a coating of my kaolin slip and I did some combing through the wet slip. Next I will do some brushwork on glaze these in my amber/tenmoku. This form was one of my most satisfying research project even though it started out as something slightly different.

Here are the 9 lb (4 kilograms)(0.6 stone) bowls that I made Saturday evening. Sunday was overcast and the light coming from the window to the right of my wheel was great for seeing the line of the platters I threw.

I turned off the overhead lights and was able get a good sense of the line from the lip to the center of these platters. For the past week I have been using Highwater clay's Zellastone and it took a while to retool and approach this commercial clay body. It's been a real relief and convenience to just open bags for a change. But I can't wait to get a back hoe over here to get a few years supply of the red stuff to mix in the coming spring!
The Zellastone is quite a bit more smooth that my red dirt mix and wooden tools didn't work so well. I switched over to some metal ribs and got some really nice results. The above picture shows the shadow from the nearby window that is very helpful when using the metal ribs to get the inside of the bowl just right. For some reason when I'm using the red dirt clay, wooden ribs get the results that are pleasing. Could be the smooth clay versus the course red dirt clay I normally use.
Here's the platters I threw this afternoon. The bowls from last night were turned over and then covered with plastic to even out their dampness.

I'm going into the home stretch for firing 34 and will try to keep all of you informed of the goings on around the shop. February saw the biggest traffic ever at the blog and I hope you will continue to read and share with your friends who may also like to see more pottery in 2010.

Please notice that there are a couple of new ways to share the blog with others who are yet hip to "Sawdust and Dirt" after each post. Just click on the facebook link to share to your "wall" and tweet the blog if you are so in-klined.

I'd love to continue this conversation tonight, but I'm very tired and need some sleep. Big weeks ahead. Just wanted to share a few thoughts about the week's end. Leave a comment, I'd love to know what you're thinking about.

More coming tomorrow ( a new poll) and a lot of pottery in the weeks to come!
Be well!