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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: sawdust

Sawdust Day

Michael Kline

Here's John Simmons making a beautiful stack and standing on the truck bed to reach to top row. This is more than we will need for the firing in February but it forms a nice wall to the elements.

There's never too much wood!

Beginnings 2010

Michael Kline

As I gather news of all my potter-blogger buddies it seems like everyone is finished with the parties and celebrations and is setting back to the work of making pottery. As much as I'd like to be stepping up to the Shimpo to make new pots, I am preoccupied with all of the tasks leftover from 2009.

The kids loft bed, stepping stool, and book shelf that I put together for them for Christmas sit in the studio ready for paint. My pile of logs still need to be split and added to our dwindling supply of firewood for the two wood stoves. Everything is frozen solid out side, including slips and glazes that were left in the tool shed. (I've gotten out of the habit of preparing for Winter since I moved here to NC from the unrelenting winters in Massachusetts. We hardly have more than 3 or 4 inches of snow that lasts for a day or two, much less 15" and highs in the 20's.) I need to dig more red dirt!

It seems that, for me, the return to the studio work is a little like a plane waiting for permission to land, circling high above. I always have to clear the runway and tie up loose ends before I can think about getting the clay to spinnin'.

Today was a sawdust day. I cut cord wood all afternoon and split a fair amount. Besides the cord wood, there is a massive pile of edgings to cut for the winter and spring firings. The snow needs to melt before I can. The chain on the saw needs replacing. (This post is a looking like a big to-do list!)

Hopefully by next Monday I can get to the dirt, but for this week it looks like a lot of sawdust!

Sawdust, Again

Michael Kline

After making a handful of pots last week, I realized that I needed some places to put the pots when they're finished. In the words of Gomer "gawwwwaaaawwwwleeeee". Or in the words of Homer, "DOHHH!" So this Gomer/Homer moment spun me into a sawdust mode and I installed a couple of remnants from the old shop over the weekend. Below is a tidy picture of the new /old counter top where I almost immediately installed (temporarily) the dusty old analog stereo system. What is it about horizontal surfaces? Gravity? I just want to fill them up with whatever is around...

LinkTo the right of the door is the drybox/storage rack. When the pots are finished and ready for the kiln I can slide the ware boards of pots all the way in and stockpile'em. Below, Evelyn tests the strength of not only my ware boards but the dry box rack itself. I wasn't worried about her furry friend(above) but I was relieved when all hell didn't break loose after she put all of her 40 pounds down upon the board. Phew! I guess it's a go!

Sawdust and Clay?

Michael Kline

As you can see the wood working tools have barely cooled off and the sawdust is still everywhere, but I really NEED to make a few pots. Make way for plates! It's barely a start and there are a few fixtures not in place, but what the hey? (or is it hay?) For those paying attention these plates are not being made with my usual clay body. It's a commercial, premixed stoneware. Hmmm. [My red dirt stoneware reclaim is still under plastic until I can get a decent wire that won't snap when I tighten the turnbuckle. I have a mind to tear open our piano. hehehe...]

Another beautiful day here in the mountains. Doors and windows are open. Bees are buzzin'.
Back to work before picking up my gals from Montessori School.


Kind Words of Support

Michael Kline

Yesterday it was all about the dirt and today it was all about the sawdust. I continue to cut and split a giant oak tree up in the woods above our house. Both of these activities reminded me of my love of these two materials, these gifts of this place. The field where my studio and kiln are built has the most unbelievable depth of red dirt that I've seen around. There are very few stones, and that is rare here in the mountains. The wood I'm cutting is for our house, our heat. But I'll have to cut more wood for the kiln and for the studio. That will require a new chain for the saw and some days when it's not raining. We have more rain forecast for the next week, maybe next week I will get some dry time.
A few things have to happen inside the new studio before I can have the final electrical inspection but we're close. I have to be careful how I define close, as we've said that many times before. There are quite a few things left on the ole punch list, but I'm excited about moving the wheels into the studio and building some counter tops, tables , and, of course, the wedging table/clay storage bin. Soon I will be posting pictures of pottery work and the road to the thirtieth firing!
If you haven't participated in the survey, please do. It's at the top of the column to the right. It will only take a moment and will be helpful to inform me about the functionality of my commenting service and want to make sure that everyone can have a say here at S & D.

Thanks for all the encouragement that you all sent my way in the past few days. I appreciate your support and thank you for reading.


Michael Kline

Micah had a few days of sawdust and ended up with this proud stack of mostly poplar.
Here is the 'rick' before it's loaded. This is a fairly new system and is movable. In the end we can cut the same amount as my other more permanent cutting rick's.
Here is the stack after being tied down and cut. We usually cut the shorter ends off first, then make the middle cut, which yields two bundles of 60 inch sticks that will fit snauggly in the fire box. Now if I only had a little tractor....Hmmm.

Wood and Clay

Michael Kline

Many thoughts went through my head today as I cleaned up the wood yard. Like how am I going to make the pots, stack the wood, clean the shelves, etc. It reminded me of a riddle my mother-in law Jackie asked me once. Question: "How do you eat an elephant?"
Answer: "One bite at a time." It's metaphorical, of course, I wouldn't go out and try it if I were you!?!

I got my trimming tools confused! (for Craig)

Getting Edgy

Michael Kline

It's a week and a half till the firing and I'm reporting the "sawdust" part of my work. I'm still cutting and stacking wood from my massive deliveries late last summer to make room for some fresh wood. The poplar seems to do the trick and I have a bit of oak and maple, too. It's too hot to cut wood all day, so I did some cutting this morning and then a little more this evening. I failed to get a picture but I will be repeating for the next few days.

I struggled to make the pots on my list for today, but they're made. Sometimes that's the way it happens. Some days you flow and some days you stumble. Most of my mind was wrapped around the absurdity of my studio situation and the audacity that I should attempt to make good work. There is probably a reason potters don't work out of doors, several in my recent experience. The big surprise of today was a decision to bisque my bigger pots back at the old shop! How crazy is that? I planned on firing Courtney's brand spanking new kiln, but her wiring wasn't sufficient to carry the load and she's blowing fuses. Luckily I have an old service panel that we can install in the next few days if she can find an electrician. In the meantime I did my calculations and realized that I needed to jump on it and start bisqing, anyway. At ye olde Mushroom Factory I have two kilns and will have to commute to the pots. So into totes the pots go, carefully wrapped. It's so absurd it's got me laughing and crying, (and whining). But that's the way it goes.

In other news, I had a nice visit with Pamela Theis of "Salt/Soda Firing" and some of her classmates from Penland. We looked over the pots and they took some pictures of the train wreck that is my compound. Hopefully Pamela will get to come over again before she leaves for home.

The Disqus campaign has been fairly successful, I think. We had over twenty people register and leave brief comments and got the ball rolling. Cynthia from Colorado Art Studio, was extremely helpful and shared her research. If you don't want to register but still want to keep up with a thread, you will be able to click on the RSS feed for that particular thread. Just click on the comment link then click the options button and look for subscribe. If you're not sure what that means, get in touch with me and I can help. It really works best if you register, but I certainly understand if you would rather not. In the meanwhile I think it will be fun and more interactive. Thanks everyone. And if you missed the post the other day, scroll down until you see an duck and read, and register, for a chance to win a piece of my pottery!

Tomorrow, more sawdust in my forecast and more clay.