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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: reclaim

Dish Soap and Reclaim Nation

Michael Kline

I spent most of the day uncovering and sorting through things in my studio. There was some fun prepping some  red dirt for a new batch of dark clay, some reclaiming slipped into plaster bats. (See illustration) 

clay kline slop NC Carolina
the only thing more inefficient than reclaiming your clay
is making a drawing of it as you wait for it to be ready. ;-)

But the only dishes I got my hands on we're the dirty ones in the sink. But that's ALWAYS good practice running your hands all over a dirty dish can sometimes be very illuminating! 

I thought the soap pattern on this metal bowl took on a pattern a lot like soda glaze. 

I did manage to clear my work table and I plan on filling it with fresh clay tomorrow! 

Until then, chiao

Episode 3: Courtney Martin

Michael Kline

In Episode 3 I begin a series of conversations with my good friend and neighbor Courtney Martin.

Episode Highlights
  • the economics of reclaiming clay scraps
  • trying to keep up with popular culture while living in rural NC
  • graffiti and 80's hip hop
  • hoarding bisqueware
  • living near in the Penland School community
  • puttering vs. getting straight to work
Episode Rsources
Names We Drop
 Follow Courtney 
Follow Michael 
Exhibition Links
"Two", Lark and Key, Charlotte, NC
"Greetings From North Carolina" Santa Fe Clay Santa Fe, NM
"Designed and Crafted 14"Signature Contemporary Crafts Atlanta, GA

"Thank" Courtney for the conversation on Twitter

Thanks for listening!!

Slackin' Pottery Bum and Self/Studio Improvement

Michael Kline

As the saying goes, sometimes you just have to remount the horse. My 500 word a day goal must have short circuited the wiring in my bloghead. It appears that despite my best efforts to NOT make any New Year's resolutions, I swung for the fences (or the stars, or the tree tops), and imploded.

I guess I could play the weather card or the snow-day-kids-at-home-almost-all-month-card. But let me just play the January card. I read that several other potters seem to experience the same thing last month. Click here for one such story. But, in defense of getting (some) things done, for the January scorecard:

1. I  managed to make my yunomi for the annual AKAR Yunomi show and  Kyle Carpenter was kind enough to include them in his recent firing. Thanks KC!  Check out Kyle's beautiful pots that are now available for purchase.

2. After 6 years I finally have a supplementary heat source! I hooked up the propane heater in my studio with the help of my farming friend Ronnie B. This is a really big deal for me, especially in the month of January when it gets really cold and I'm not always in the studio to keep the wood stove going.  I can check that one off the punch list towards my official C.O. Now if I can just get my outdoor wiring redone I will give the inspector a call.

3. And finally, I have my Peter Pugger pug mill/extruder is back in working order, thanks to the Loafer's Glory Sandblaster and Spruce Pine's Superior Construction's fine welding! The pug mill repair was another one of those projects that seemed impossible. I mean, the thing is heavy! and although it has wheels it's not easy to get in the truck without help.

So I'm really happy to have it back. The soft reclaimed clay that I have been running through it is is like a high octane boost to my February pottery fuel tank. I've discussed this before and I think there are definitely two camps. There's the "reclaim your precious clay trimmings and scraps against all odds and all costs" camp and the "are you stupid, ain't nobody got time for that" (reclaim) camp.

I guess this old dog stands stubbornly and firmly in the former. There's just something really nice about that reclaim and it is a very old habit to break. I have missed that old Peter Pugger. Pugging my clay is part of my potter DNA or something. I just wasn't feeling 100% without it.

Check this page out. Don't you think mine looks a lot like this one? (aside from my paint job)

4. (Dis)Honorable Mention: almost forgot this rabbit hole.  I opened a can of worms with my need to compile the "FB Ceramic Index" thingy. If you haven't heard, in the past couple of weeks, I've put together a list of Facebook Pottery/Ceramics Pages. You, (yes you!) can check it for the latest by clicking on the tab at the top of this page  or here. ;) I personally wanted to have an easy way to track my favorite FB potters pages and thought there might be others like me. So i dug my teeth into some FB developer code and came up with this "beta" facebook Index.  The total list is at about 300 now and growing but I've only had time to list 10I'm not sure I will be able to keep up with the research or fairly curate it but I'll keep trying. Hopefully Scott can come to my rescue and help out with his mad developer skillz.

The current "Index" is a top 10 (w/ highest followers) FB Pages. It's a great way to find clay artists. More and more are coming in every day and I'll try to update every week on Saturday. It's a live updating kind of FB "blog roll" of sorts, kinda. Not really sure. I'm hoping to find time to curate different lists. I had a suggestion to Index university clay programs, for example. Any suggestions are welcome. It's a work in progress.

So, now here I sit, humbled and sheepishly tapping at the clickety clackety keys. Trying to get a feel for that writing thing while I should be chained to the wheel to get pots made for my upcoming foiring in about 10 days!

I just wanted to check in and let you know that I didn't fall off the face of the earth, it's just that January happened and I'm back, I hope. Now it's time to fall INTO the face of the earth and my Shimpo Scream. (not the actual brand name of my 1972 vintage pottery wheel, just the sound it kinda makes)

I love your comments and feedback, so let me know what's up.


Treasure and Trash: Clay Rescue

Michael Kline

{editor's note}First off, let me apologize, in public, to my friend down Athens-GA-way, Carter Gillies. I shared a private link to a blog, by accident, that he is developing but wasn't quite ready to share. Once again, my desire to share and generally impulsive nature corrupted my better judgment. Sorry Carter, hopefully your crystalline thoughts will reemerge on a blog comment soon!


So, back to my rather random "Labor Day weekend spent Laboring"...

I reclaimed some trimmings from my buddy down in Asheville, Kyle Carpenter. I happened to be in town several times this past week and managed to haul off a s***load of scrap clay that I will happily reclaim and pug this week.
Kyle doesn't have the time, nor the the equipment to reprocess this clay. I guess I don't have the time either, but I do have my trusty pugmill which makes all old clay new again. I know there's no money in this activity, but at the same I'm not spending money I don't have on what I think is around 400lbs of clay. Let's do the math.

my time spent in this endeavor (so far)
5 min. loading in the car
5 min. hauling to the slip barrel
15 min cutting bags and pouring into barrel
10 min slathering onto plaster
? days waiting to dry ( time cost=$0?)
45 min. pugging and putting into containers.

Total est. time= 1 hr 20 min.

considering 400 lbs of zella stone @ .31 = ~ $120.

$120/~1.5 hr = $80/hr (savings?)

I don't know if this is an accurate calculation. I'm not counting the cost that Kyle might have incurred carefully bagging and storing the bags before I hauled them away. Not counting the electricity and the space in my studio the house the pug mill. I'm also not sure if I'll not get more than 400 lbs. Also I was hoping to at least get a sponge or tool of some kind, but I haven't found one (yet). ;-)

I might be forgetting other costs, but with your help we can get to the bottom of this particular clay rescue!

Your thoughts PLEASE! What do you do with your scraps? Is it worth it to you? What is the quality of your clay once it's been recycled? Good, Bad, Not sure?

Reclaiming My Place

Michael Kline

Wow, has it been that long since I was standing at the wheel making pots? Yes I think it has been! After I finally cleared all of the remnants of various projects away from the wedging table and wheel area I actually remembered what I do best. Well, at least what I really get paid to do. As I stood at the wheel listening to Jay-Z telling me why he's the new king of New York, I realized the best reason to stand up while throwing is so you can get into a groove and get DOWN.



Michael Kline

I know I have enough pots for the kiln when, either, I have fired at least 10 bisque firings, or my slop bucket nears it's capacity. At this point, just when I'm at the top of my game at the wheel, it's time to step away from the wheel and set up for painting and glazing! I might spin out a few cups and other filler pots, but that's always a distraction.

Looking Into The Coming Week

Michael Kline

It was a great day
working outside on the new shop with Buck.
We punched out a few details, windows in tool shed,
steps into studio, siding.
Thanks for all of you who have stepped up to vote
on the cups I will send tomorrow to AKAR.
If you haven't yet, see previous post and send in your vote!

I have reclaimed clay that was sitting outside and
frozen and will be throwing more pots this week.

I also have some porcelain courtesy of Tom Turner to play with.
When the power is finally turned on at the shop, I will celebrate with a cone 6 porcelain glaze firing in the old L & L electric kiln. (something I've been thinking about doing for a while)
I'll keep you posted, of course!