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192 Jim Boone Rd
Bakersville, NC, 28705
United States

828-675-4097

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: old pots

Tom Turner: Part 2: Salt Glazed

Michael Kline


If I had taken more notes and been a better student I could then pass on more information to you about the pots in this post. But as it stands, it's been over a week since I visited Tom and looked at these pots and I didn't have my notebook with me.

One important thing that happens, though, when handling pots or objects of any kind is a sort of downloading of non-verbal information. Textures, weights, shapes become internalized and this data is kept in hand memory and visual memory. We become scanners and cameras as we handle and turn these objects. You don't have to be a potter to do this. All of us handle hundreds of objects every day. Our relationship with any object is the product of these sensory interactions merging with our own needs and desires. We need a cup of tea or coffee, we desire that particular cup. The necessity of food and eating for survival is the primary job for which pottery exists, the culture of that pottery is lead by our desire for function and style. The available technology at any given time in history is the catalyst for expression in the art of the potter.

Although I don't consider myself a scientist, I am infinitely curious. This curiosity leads me to answer questions that I have in my work as a potter. As a contemporary potter I am fortunate to have examples of previous potter's research available in collections like Tom's, like the Mint Museum's, and others, like the Freer/Sackler. In any research discovery stands on the shoulders of the past. Unfortunately, a lot of what I do in the studio is redundant in the search for these answers.
I'm not sure, yet, how to minimize this. But continuing to study is crucial.
No matter if you are making pottery or sculpture, no matter if you are new to clay or a veteran, it is essential to the success of your work to know the history. We may be doomed to repeat the failures of the past, I know I have, but we can also enjoy the satisfaction of perpetuating good ideas and good forms with our work.
I meant to talk more specifically about the marks on some of these pots, but I've gone on a tangent. Last week, Tom and I were were looking at handles, their attachments, and capacity marks. These images show a few ways of marking and embellishing.


In the process of answering questions about these pots we learn about the needs and desires of the people who made them and the culture that surrounded them. In turn, we learn about our own needs and desires, both as potters and as people. Thanks Tom for sharing.

I'd better get myself in that studio and make some pots today! Thanks for indulging.


Tom showing proper form when holding an old pot

***Click here to see another Stedman/Seymour pot you might find very interesting. I can't imagine what it was for or how it might have been used. Maybe you have an idea?

Michael Kline

our dining table near my computer "work station"
with the Etsy collection, sorting through the images!

It's been a busy day of preparing the images for the online kiln opening on Tuesday. Lucky for me that my old eMac is still grinding along, chewing up pixels and uploading'em to the new shop on Etsy. It doesn't have anything listed yet, but I'm setting it up. I'm learning how to work around some of the ways the Etsy folks want everything to work and hopefully we can have a smooth run come Tuesday morning. Looking at all the great pictures and different views of these pots reminds me how digital photography has changed the way I see my work. Joy Tanner has a great camera, much more sophisticated than my point and shoot Fuji. I'm seeing little details that I had no idea were there. I highly recommend all of you potters taking big pictures on your digital cameras and then looking at them on your computer. There's something really interesting about the views you can have of your work. Some edges are out of focus, glaze details pop out. The lips of some cups are tapered differently than I remember.

All in all it was an interesting day, but at times I got a little zombified and had to walk away from the eMac. Mid morning brought a wayward potter/traveler. Ron Philbeck came by to pay a visit. Ron lives about and hour and a half from me in Shelby, NC, but we rarely get to hang out and we always get excited talking about pots and blogging. Today Ron stood at my door and reached his arms with a little bundle of something wrapped in tissue paper. It looked like it had made quite a journey and sure enough
it was this sweet little jug that Doug Fitch had sent along in Ron's luggage for me to study! Thanks SO much Doug! That was very kind of you to think of me. Now I have a souvenir of Ron and Sarah's trip to England! I hope that someday I'll get to make the pilgrimage to the Fitch Pottery in Devon. For now, though, I'll have a little bit of England to sit on my special shelf in my workshop next to my old southern pots. I'm sure it'll help me with my "pitchers" which I need to make real soon.

Why I [Heart] the NC Pottery Center

Michael Kline

click on images to see larger version.

Just got this card in the mail and it reminded me how much and why I love the NC Pottery Center. Here's a beautiful facility that is home to a wonderful collection of pots, old and new. Here's a venue for a showing of pots from our great state's pottery tradition and how these pots have been interpreted by the Garner's! If you'd like to be a part of this wonderful organization, they would love to have you as a member.

From the card:


click on image to see larger version.


As a matter of fact, if you are looking for something to see and do today(Saturday), and you're in the vicinity of Seagrove, go by the Center and see the kiln being fired TODAY! The Garner's are firing the groundhog kiln at the NCPC today with their Webster reproduction work for the show! Get a good look at the pots through the firebox before they are displayed in next month's show.

I hope to get out and see the show, maybe try to get over for the opening with the family on August 14th. We are planning a getaway some time soon. It'll be good to see all my cousins over in Seagrove!

"Skipping School"

Michael Kline

Just like a bunch of high school boys skipping school, Tom, Matt and I were out driving all over Madison and Buncombe County while all the other potters were diligently working away in their studios. Instead of drinking cheap beer, doing donuts in gravel parking lots, and getting into trouble we were looking at old pots. Ah, times have changed. It was a perfect day and I thought I would share a few pictures of our travels. I took these pictures with my phone, I apologize for the sub par quality.

Matt and Tom posing in front of some really
awesome pots at an undisclosed auction house

a detail of a rifle stock
with a stem/leaf element

a nice slip trailed flower

a nice slip trailed rabbit
from the same lot

a group of pots
in Tom's dining room
a very nice 2

Tom also took us over to see the location of the old Reems Creek Pottery that was run by George Donkel. We saw the pottery site and the beautiful two story house he lived in. I didn't take any pictures but found this interesting picture courtesy of Google books.

Well that all for now. It's late and it's time for for some much needed rest. After all, I have to go back to work tomorrow!

;-)


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.