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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: japanese pottery

Tom Turner: Part 1: China

Michael Kline

bowl from Lonquan, China with celadon glaze

Tom came back from his stay in Jingdezhen, China last month, but it was a busy time for me and I couldn't get over to see him and the pots and books he brought back until Monday. Tom's house is jammed packed with pots from all over and he's always getting new pots from his travels or from eBay. Here are just a few of the pots Tom brought back from China. I've already shared one with you all earlier today.

Brandon was right in his speedy blog comment. It is a sagger that got a little too hot. Although you can't see from that photo, the bottom of the sagger isn't flat, but is somewhat conical shaped. So the space around the pot was minimal both above and below. Here is a description from Wikipedia of sagger:
Saggars are boxlike containers made of high fire clay or specialized fireclay which are used to enclose pots needing special treatment in the kiln. The word "saggar" is thought to have come from the word "safeguard."[1] Historically, reusable saggars were used to protect or safeguard specialized glazes from open flame, smoke, gases and flying ash present in wood fired kilns. This technique was used to protect the surface of pottery in ancient China, Korea and Japan, and was popular in the industrial potteries of Great Britain. Saggars are still used for industrial ceramic production, shielding ware from variations in heat and kiln debris.
The next piece is curious in that is is considered a "disposable" container in China. It contained wine and these pots are very inexpensive to buy. Tom says that the factory claims to make 5000 a day! Look here to see a picture of a simple device they use at the factory to glaze the bottles quickly.
The next pot has a nice surprise for the beholder when they open it. Tom thinks it's a kind of cosmetic "kit". Discreet, delicate, and fits in your purse. Seems like I remember my mother having a jar with this shape that had a powder puff in it. I don't think it was ceramic, though. Mom if you're reading this...

Above Tom's fireplace I found this nice group of pots. From China on the left to Germany and then over to Japan for the figural pieces which I believe are Haniwa. I should have taken more notes so that I could tell you more about these pieces. Usually Tom doesn't leave comments! but maybe he'll chime in for the sake of accuracy (which he's really into, and good at) and set the record straight. I love the painting on the bottle on the left, the handles and lip of the solid black bottle, and the big dent in the jug. The jug has these subtle drippy/runny markings that you may pick up if you click on the image to enlarge. They're not just wine/food stains but are in the surface/salt glaze of the pot. Any ideas?
Tomorrow I'll continue with some 19th c stoneware in Tom's collection. The pots are from New England, New York, and Ohio and they're pretty cool. (if you're into old pots)

Here's a new feature for the blog, check out today's flashback post.

Tom's Find

Michael Kline

I mentioned Tom Turner and his new pot from Japan yesterday and wanted to bring some context to the examples I showed during my painting session last night. Here is a pic of the bowl/platter . It's a very interesting format and one that is fairly common in books about Japanese pottery. There you go.

FYI: my batteries are dead in my camera and I will get good pictures of the painted pots as soon as I replace the AA's.

Climbing the Mountain

Michael Kline

maple-leaf pattern,
overglaze enamels, and underglaze iron.

Going through my boxes of stuff, I finally found the books I thought I had lost or misplaced. A while back I promised to share a story that I recalled from my bio of Ogata Kenzan. Well, it turns out I had it all wrong. It is a quote from Rosanjin, whose real name was Fusajiro Kitaoji. It comes from the book"Uncommon Clay: The Life and Pottery of Rosanjin" by Sidney B. Cordoza/Misaaki Hirano. I read this quote as I dedicated and lighted the first fire of my, then, brand new kiln in 2002. It summed up the experience I had with building the kiln and now is again appropriate at this stage of studio construction.

It happens to everyone who climbs Mt. Fuji. When you reach the last station or two, you push on excitedly, the members of you party encouraging one another despite their weariness, everyone aware that the peak is near. Then it happens. Looking up, you catch sight of a corner of the mountain and decide that this must be the peak at last. Pulling yourself together, you climb on in high spirits, only to find, to your consternation, another corner rising above the first. Surely this is it, you think, and climb hopefully on, but again the mountain does not stop. Only after several rounds of this sort of thing does one reach the top.

The ascent is difficult, but anyone with mettle enough to climb will surely conquer all difficulties and reach the peak.

For whatever reason, once a person reaches the steep places of life, all too often he or she turns back to where the going was easier. Of course, in life's climbing expedition there is no peak, no limit to how high you can go. There is always a higher level, always a more elevated plane.

underglaze iron