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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: red dirt

false start: apologies

Michael Kline

red dirt and stoneware blend

My goal today was to get just a few pots made, not EVEN 12x12, but all I managed to get was the temperature up in the shop, some warm water to throw with, and this pile of clay sorta blended.

Then my buzzer went off!

Does this ever happen to you?!

For those who are anxiously awaiting something more elaborate or, in my FB words, longform, I guess that will have to wait too.

My apologies. But thanks for coming around and checking.

Falling and Painting Walls

Michael Kline

wearing my brand new Ron Philbeck T.

I spent yesterday afternoon painting a couple of the gallery walls at Crimson Laurel Gallery in Bakersville in prep for Stacey and my show that is hopefully all set up as of today. [that's one sentence y'all]

The wall was covered in red dirt clay from my field, but only after I tripped over some short black pedestals just inside the back door entrance to the gallery and spewed my clay ALL over the display along those walls. As I came tumbling down the clay went flying and I ended up with a welt the size of Texas on my shin. Not a good way to start a day. The irony was that as I set to spreading the remaining clay on the wall inside our gallery, David, John, and Deb cleaned the floor, the walls, the ceiling, and all the pots out in the hallway. [You'll be happy to know that no pots were broken during my Chevy Chase moment.]

I'm back at it with the red dirt this morning, making jars and pitchers. Last wet day is Saturday, also the day of the reception at CLG. Hope you can make it and see the completed walls in all of their snake-ified, bird-ified, and moth-ified glory!

(Oh, and the pots and jewelry, too!)

And Now For Something Completely Different

Michael Kline

I just wanted to sneak this in before Don's post!

What is going on here, you might say? Well, I pulled out the home clay last night after taking the Turner Spic 'n Span Special for a spin around the shop and started my cycle for the wood kiln. Yes, on the heals of the very recent session with porcelain, (won't be the last), I'm going to try to simultaneously make stoneware and porcelain. What a crazy idea, right? Well here goes!

one for the losers (subtle), any guesses why?

Dirt Love

Michael Kline

Ooo I'm loving the new recipe I just ran through the pug mill! The addition of bentonite and sagger clay are making up for the red dirt's lack of plasticity and is throwing itself right out of the pugmill! Usually I don't use much of the clay until it's rested a day or two, but, likewise, I can never resist trying some right away.

The red dirt that I'm using was dug around Easter and has been sitting around mellowing . This afternoon I took the sun dried slop that I mixed the other night (fireclay, feldspar, sagger, bentonite) and ran it though the pug mill and then weighed it in six pound balls. Then I weighed six pound amounts of red dirt. Then I matched the two and threw them into the mill together. The other end of the mill produced a slightly marbled pug of gray and red. So I ran them through again to homogenize the two clays. Then I put the finished clay in some plastic totes.

Now, tonight, I'm making a few pots before calling it quits on the making side of things.

The bisque ware is piled up all over and I will get to setting up my painting area tomorrow.

While I am really loving this clay, I wouldn't mind being here or here this weekend. I wish all my potter friends at these events much success! Sell'em all!

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone

Red Dirt Harvest: The Earth's Best Clay, Really

Michael Kline

after about 2 weeks of very dry weather the clay is ready to be bagged, or stored.
notice the big space between the wrapped clay block and

the wooden frame.

Maybe not a commercially viable clay, but it's the only one like it for me. Maybe this makes it more valuable to me!? Maybe it makes the pots better? Who's to know? It's still a lot of work until I improve the "extraction" process!

Here's the update I promised on last week's clay harvest. A narrative in pictures...

The texture of the sheet (and some air bubbles) is intact when uncovered

I got this trick from Ron about cutting the clay to remove.
each section holds about 100# clay
ready for storage. notice impressions from the wire in the clay frames.

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.

Friday Roundup

Michael Kline

It was a gorgeous day to be outside digging dirt, cutting wood, and walking with Jack. The clay pit in my filed has been neglected until today and I dug about 6 five gallon buckets of dirt, blunged and sieved it through my window screen sieve/box. It settles quickly and is in a garbage can and two galvanized tubs. Here's a picture of my sponge-siphon drawing extra water off of the clay tub. I thought of this after hanging a towel on the edge of my clean up water bucket one day. After a few minutes I noticed that the towel was wicking water out of the bucket and onto the floor. So her you can see where I've rigged a big sponge over the edge of the tub and held it in place my the angle iron. It really poured for a long time like this until the water level had gone down beyond the reach of the sponge. I know you're probably thinking that there has got to be a more efficient way for some one to process their clay!! I'm sure there is, but this is all on the fly so that I can get the clay processed for tomorrow's mixing. Usually I let this red dirt sit in racks for a couple of weeks.

I have the girls to "help" tomorrow and will try to mix about 800 lbs of my red dirt stoneware.

I continued where I left off before the rains, with the kiln wood cutting and stacking. The wood's pretty soggy, but I think will be fine for #33 coming up on the 25th. It'll be a close one. I guess they all are. Maybe next year I will catch up.Ha!

My good pal IlaSahai came over to make some pots for the first time in a long time. Ila and I go way back to my earliest days in Worthington, Mass. Originally from Gloucester, Mass. Ila has been involved with the Penland School as a core student and later as a resident artist! Like many former resident's, Ila bought property in the neighborhood and now calls Bakersville home. She is currently on the faculty at ASU (Appalachian State University) in Boone, NC. It was great to see her making pots in my studio. She'll be back tomorrow to tend to the pots she made today. It's been a long time since we worked in the pottery studio together. Well, technically I wasn't making pots today, but you know what I mean, and I hope we can do it more often!

Here's an article from 2006 on Ila's residency at Raliegh, NC's Artspace Gallery 1

That's all for now, nighty night...