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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.

Thanks for visiting.

The Best of Sawdust and Dirt

A record of the goings on around Michael Kline Pottery!

Filtering by Tag: plates


Michael Kline

Plate Trimming

Michael Kline


Michael Kline

Today, I'm cutting plates.

There are a couple of ways I do it. One is with a fettling knife and another is with a modified cheese cutter. Here is a video I produced wayyy back in 2008 showing how I use the cheese cutter.



There's also this video.


Michael Kline

 I got the message from my "coach" and good friend, Ron Philbeck, to "go make some pots" this morning.

So I did! (after all the office work that was past due.) It was a sloppy 12 x 12 and they came a little after noon, but they are done and I'm off and running for the day. Sometime its takes a coach!
Thanks Ron. [Ron really is a coach. A Crossfit Coach! Go Ron!]

Speaking of coaching, why don't you take the 12 x 12 challenge with me. Post your daily dozen on your favorite social media outlet: blog, twitter, instagram, facebook. Use #12x12 as your hashtag and that way I can find your pics and collect them for a post on this blog next week when I get back from the NC Potters Conference!!

when the boss speaks, you listen


Michael Kline

Hello folks, I'm currently juggling slide presentations, video editing of some upcoming POTR videos,
writing  programs for upcoming workshops, and trying to slowly get some pots made for the March firing. Maybe this is the new reality for a potter? At least it is for me.

Do YOU find yourself and your life filled to the gills with stuff to do?

Epiphany: After being ridden to my bed last week with the flu, I have come out on the other side with a fresh outlook and a new vigor to get  more focussed on the work to be done in and around the studio. It's a little early for spring cleaning, but I have decided to get outside for a little while any day that it was not raining or stormy, to work on the grounds, get some vitamin D, and make studio/kiln the beautiful destination it is for my visitors. 

combed kaolin slip
Get outside when you can and take a deep breath of air. 

Odd Bird-Fellows

Michael Kline

There are times when piles of mail, pots, coupons, cables, and angels come together in a moment that just has to be documented!

This plate came from Kyle Carpenter's salt kiln a couple of weeks ago.  The drawing is as awkward as the bird seems to be trying to take flight. Maybe it's a turkey scrambling to get out of the road and an oncoming car, may be it's one of our hens being terrorized by Jack? Some of the choice pieces are in a show in Iowa City. Others lurk here for study and some for sale in the showroom. I will reopen my online gallery soon where some of these pots will be available. Stay tuned here or sign up to get email announcements. 


Michael Kline

It's March and my firing is coming up fast. Why am I still making pots?


So much for 12 pots a day. That luxury is out the window as I try to cover my bases for upcoming place setting shows at NCECA and the Penland Gallery. It seems like the place setting show is this year's cup show. They seem to be popping up everywhere. It's understandable. It's logical. But is it profitable in the context of a group show giving 50% to the gallery? Is the risk equal to the publicity that one might gain from such a speculative venture?

Be ware, says the old potter.

I guess the price just needs to go up like everything else these days.

Consider the loss rate with warping, cracking plates, the shipping that I have to pay, the price of fuel, and on and on. The flip side, for me, is that I really like the frame of a plate for my painting, and doing these shows give me the "permission" to break out some new riffs and motifs. Obviously for anyone trying their hand at the pottery career, it's not about the money. But you damn well better make some along the way or you'll be out before you're ever in!

Speaking of adding it all up, and getting back to the 12s that Ron mentioned briefly in his post yesterday (do I hear a pottery bloggery echo?), it appears that I just didn't do the math or maybe some days I didn't make the 12. Whatever the reason, there's always more planning one can do. Next time I need a checklist of pots and maybe keep a count of what I've made as I go along. It's a process, it's timing, it's cyclical. You (read "I") have to factor in last minute requests, like 4 pitchers for the NC Museum of Natural Sciences!


OK, now they are made.

Now, where did I put those brushes???

[addendum: Carter just posted a very thoughtful edition on the subject of the 12's. the pottery bloggery pool ripples again!]

Drawings and Layers vol. 2

Michael Kline

Sometimes the sketch is better than the finished piece. I thought so after I painted these last night! But maybe I'm measuring success with a different ruler than other possible beholders. These were fun and I'm excited about the possibilities of this new design. I'm mostly excited to follow the brush and the ink and where it goes, where it takes me. Just as the kiln is the teacher, or the clay is the teacher, I follow the ink coming off the brush and react to it's nature. Of course there are patterns that I'm comfortable with and there's always the confidence or lack of to limit the outcome. But during the painting of these paper plates, I waived the concerns of the objects I was painting for a bit and it was so refreshing!
Should these be framed? Should they go on a pedestal in the gallery?

Maybe I should keep some of the best ones? Most probably I will give them to folks at the opening tonight as a gesture of gratitude for supporting me and what I do.
That seems more appropriate. But maybe we'll frame one, too?!

Hope to see you tonight in Asheville.

Only on Etsy, This Friday!

Michael Kline


More shameless promotion of this coming Friday's ETSY sale!! Here are some more exclusive previews for ya! One of these is not like the others! And the others are just in time for the Labor Day weekend...wink, wink, nod, nod! Tune in on Friday morning for the fun! Tell your friends by using one of the "share" buttons after this post!!

Packing and Pugging

Michael Kline

stacey surveying the roadside damage

What do you say when you walk through your yard and you realize there has been a car accident, come and gone? Stacey was the first to see four hemlocks that were "felled" by the apparent accident. We found out that there had been a car that had run off the road damaging the row of hemlocks near our pond while we were away for a couple of hours that Saturday evening. The State Patrol claimed that the trees were within the State DOT right of way and so no insurance claim could or would be made. Wow! No note. no nothing. Just a big mess to be cleaned up.

Around here if a large tree falls into the road after a storm you bet there will be some chain saws buzzing away no doubt from the DOT "call list" of boys with saws, trucks, and wood stoves. But in this case four eight inch (in diam) hemlocks didn't warrant the DOT to have this sight cleaned up. Broken glass, plastic BMW parts, a rear view mirror all left behind.

They could have at least left a note.

OK, now that that rant is off my chest I can move on to the news of the day!

Toni Campanella is back from Cleveland for some summertime fun at Penland and here to work at the pottery. First off, we packed a bunch of pottery that was waiting to get out into the world. Some pots went to Dow Studio in Deer Isle, Maine! So look out Down Easters for some southeastern pottery! Better late than never...Another is on its way to the Ohio University wood fire conference, in Athens Ohio. Check out the blog that Bryce is keeping to highlight the events there.
We also pugged some of the clay that was ready and left some that was just too damn soft. I tended to the plates I threw the other day and tried to fashion a new wire tool after my Mudtools wire broke. I've been trying to pay special attention to the handling (cutting off, flipping) of the plates and hoping to get less warping this time around. I had cut the plates off after they were thrown, but they had to be cut again. It was asking a lot for the wire to go through the drier plates. I'll try to blog about the repair of that Mudtool wire tool, because it is possible. But if you want to buy me a new one that would save me from myself!


Yours Truly

Michael Kline

It's been a while and I wish I could say that I've been really productive. But editing OPP1 can be even more time consuming than just sitting down and composing from the top of my head. But I hope you have been enjoying the diversity of material here on ye olde blogge. Other distractions include taking walks in the summer spring sunshine, canoeing on the pond, lifting riding lawnmowers to the detriment to my neck and shoulders, and playing in the dirt!

I finally finished processing about 500 lbs. of red dirt and came to the conclusion that I need bigger versions of my tools to get a bigger yield! (duuuH) Instead of shovel, 1/2 in. drill with jiffy mixer, I need a backhoe and a 100 gallon blunger! Then we'll be talking! I also had some good feedback from Tom Turner about my clay body and we invented (at least in on paper) a giant french coffee press type of clay plunger. (to separate rocks and small stones from slip before it is dried and pugged)

I finally cut the plates that have been under plastic since Sunday. I noticed this subtle influence as I was looking over this patterned wire cut. Can't say it was a conscious thing, but I had a little chuckle and thought I would share.

freshly thrown plates among stuff confiscated from Jack

Tried to make 12 by 12 (midnight) and did them by 1 a.m. Instead of making after supper pots, I got into selecting and arranging some pots that will be heading to GA and the Signature Shop's next exhibit, The Southern Pot. Below are the pots (on the 1959 Blaupunkt New York console) that will heading to 3267 Roswell Rd. All are for sale. Contact the Signature Shop for the pots and email me if you're interested in the Blaupunkt!

...until next time!

other peoples posts.

Problem Solving

Michael Kline

After rewriting the XML code of my blog template, which took a considerable degree of problem solving I was faced with some pottery problems. The problem with this series of plates was the contrasting colors of clay on my trimming chuck. I trim the feet of these pots on a clay donut that is slightly larger in diameter than the plate or bowl I am trimming. This way I can quickly lift the pot and get a feel of it's trimmed weight and return it to continue if needed. This approach is usually pretty efficient. But with the white kaolin slip already on the pots and the red dirt clay as my chuck I was getting some smearing on the pots.

So I thought it would paint the chuck with the white kaolin slip and avoid the smearing. But since the slip is very fine grained and smooth, I lost the grip of the coarse red dirt clay. It actually was so slick that this plate slipped off the chuck and got some bad bruises!

I ended up going back to three clay coils to hold the plates in place. A little slower, but always reliable.

I usually cut out the little peak that I get when trimming the foot. One of my mentors, Michael Simon always had these beautiful peaks under his cups, bowls, and plates. For many years it gave me great pleasure to try to get a nice point on my pots, too. One day though, I decided it was time for that point to go and decided from that day on to cut it out! Now I call it the belly button!

Every once in a while I leave the point. After all, cutting it out seems a little contrived even though I like the belly button. I think a lot about Michael when I make pots, even though I don't try to make the pots he makes, his commitment and mastery continue to inspire.


Michael Kline

I gave this pot to Stacey, since it had a little crack in it. It was one of my faves from the bird series I started with at the beginning of the XXXII session. I'm enjoying a bagel and sausage for my late lunch on this very plate.

Dental Details

Michael Kline

A visit to the dentist again today and a new packing of the the old dry sockets! Oh a lovely way to start a pottery day. Then some packing and shipping of some pots for an exhibit at my alma mater, the U of T in Knoxville, with my friends, Ted Saupe, Sun Koo Yuh, Adelaide Paul, and Andy Nasisse! The show is entitled "Beyond Surface: Ceramics!!!" (my emphasis) I like the way that sounds. After all, you can't judge a book by it's cover!

After the packing of sockets and the packing of pots, I got around to slipping a bunch of plates. As has been my recent habit to play around as a slipware potter for a few plates, here are some highlights. I plan to paint some imagery in the centers with either wax or underglaze.

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'.

Just Plates?

Michael Kline

A "tray" by former Mitchell/Yancey
landfill potter , David Eichelberger,
as "plate of the day" on

Naomi Cleary has led me to a nice blog called A Plate a Day. Seems like all of the pots are from various galleries. There certainly are a lot of plates to see but the most curious tag is 'not a plate'. What's keeping this blog from spiralling out of control and sharing the table with other competing shapes? Only time will tell. In the meantime enjoy the dishes. Thanks Naomi!