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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: slipware

Surface to Form

Michael Kline

One thing leads to another. After cutting the feet into these soon to be rabbit plates, I went back to the wheel to throw some shallow bowls and wanted to use something from the energetic combing in the edges of them and Voilá! (that's french for voila)

the following resulted. Form follows surface?

Monday's are reserved for the Antiques Road Show on PBS. We just saw this piece appraised at $5-7000. Look familiar faithful readers? Maybe message follows form. We'll have to ask Ellen if she was watching...Meanwhile here are a variety of the pig flasks, all with writing.

Now it's time for some after supper pottery. (remember its crunch week!) Cueing up the Jay Z.
On to the next one. See you in the a.m.

The Week: briefly

Michael Kline

Crunch Time here with firing XXXVI just around the corner. Deep thoughts abound, but difficult to share with you as it takes time to distill here, but here are a few pictures that are always easier pass on to you.
went to American Folk Art Gallery in Asheville
to pick out mattes and moulding for the framing
of these drawings I've been doing for the
October solo show!

a full corn moon lighted my way back home from
late nights of drawing and potting
oh, there's the tack I was looking for!

fun with my slip comb

Hannah Mc Andrew: Big Fan

Michael Kline


Hannah McAndrew! That's who!

Congratulations and shout outs go to Hannah McAndrew of Castle Douglas, Dumfries and Galloway for being the 300th follower/fan of the blog! I know Hannah has been reading the blog for quite a while, now, for she has left numerous comments. Maybe the only explanation can be that Hannah has holding out for the big prize money.

Hannah joins the illustrious company of fan #200 Martina Lantin (January 6th, 2010) and fan #100 Amber Hosford (May 4th, 2009)!!

If you haven't seen Hannah's fine slipware, please check out her web site and her blog!

Thanks for reading Hannah!

35 Unloaded

Michael Kline

Here are the pots unloaded from the kiln. I'm still busy getting the site set for the sale and haven't got to look over the pots carefully. But my impression of the kiln is good. No kiln blues this time! I'll be shooting preview pictures to put on Facebook and Sawdust & Dirt, as well as a brief e-newletter special edition! Let me know what you think!

Aprés Bandana

Michael Kline

Stacey is cooking up some fine victuals for dinner tonight, which we will share with Naomi and Michael, just over the hill. I can't wait to get over there to see their newborn baby girl, Miriam! I've been so busy I haven't been able to get over there to visit with them, shame, shame.

While I'm there I may have a chance to compare my notes on the "cover" of their hump molded dish that has been so fascinating by these last couple of weeks. Like all things that appear simple at first glance, there are levels of complexity in this form that have been very challenging/vexing to me. Here is a short series showing how I decorated a few.

First I poured a little kaolin slip on the slabs.

Then I pushed the slip around the slab to get an interesting coverage.

I combed the patterns with my handy-dandy tricked out Mudtools rib.
I plan on painting a pattern over this, so I kept the pattern simple.

Here are the dishes after they were molded.
See this post to get an idea what the mold looks like.
Michael and Naomi do a very similar pattern,
but use their fingers to wipe through the slip.

Here are the dishes drying out yesterday over the wood stove.
They're in the bisque kiln today!

I'll try to get some pictures (I promise!) on here of the brushwork that I'm doing.

Baker's Dozen

Michael Kline

The emails are coming in with pictures of the days work, so far. Keep it up y'all. There are people out there who need good pots! Who are they going to call? I hope you! Be-ware, be ready!

Here's my entry for today. I had some fun with my slipware comb! Now it's lunch time and then more slip work this afternoon!

Family Tradition?

Michael Kline

evelyn at the treadle!

Today was a snow day and the girls were home with yours truly. Stacey had a pile of work to mow down up at Penland and we thought it best that I stay home and try to supervise the chaos!

Evelyn had quite a day! The girl was in the flow. She made up a cake recipe this morning with a lavender chocolate frosting. Hmmm, I know what your thinking, because that was my first thought, too...but it was pretty tasty. By some kind of trial and error she's getting better at her epicurean lab work! It will do her good when she starts glazing her pots! In my mind I saw us all heading up to the shop at some point and I could tend to my pots while they played quietly in the corner! Ha! Well come 3 o'clock we finally made it up there!

We got Evelyn set up on the wheel John Britt gave us and she fit it without any adjustment. Then we came up after supper for more and she ended up with a decent board of pots. In the past I would help her center and sometimes show her where her fingers should be, but today she was on her own. I was across the room handling pots myself.

some of E's pots

some of my pots

Here are Monday's mugs with handles. I thought I would dip and comb the pots before the handles to get a better combing on the handle-less cups. But then the handling got to be a challenge. I may try dipping just the handle part of the mugs. In my experience that seems to work OK.

Still not sure about the stencils. It was exciting to cut the paper and apply them and was fun to see the contrast of the clay and the slip, not to mention the sharpness of the stencil design. Some of the patterns reminded me of some patterns on a dress that Stacey has. The dress has white lace or crochet??? flowers on a black fabric.

The stencil-play intrigue me as anything new and different to one's experience can be. I thought about all the folks who do a stencil treatment with their pots and also thought how I could incorporate some brushwork. Placement of some of the stencils seemed awkward. I didn't handle one mug because I couldn't decide which design would have to be covered up, all in the cyclical experience of making pots. These things can get worked out. I also thought that I could use plastic for the stencils and reuse them. I guess we'll just have to wait until after the firing to make any judgements.

Well I'm back tomorrow for a full day. I'm hoping I can get my 12 pots made. There is a one hour delay to school in the morning but I'll be at the Shimpo! See you there.


Michael Kline

I found this tree to have a very interesting seed?nut?bud? and
will look at trying to create a pattern in its honor!

Jack's backside on our walk
In the ongoing effort to stay caught up and not get too distracted in the endless list of projects I usually fail. Today was full of auxiliary activities and I reminded myself that all of them contribute in the final big event of the firing in a few weeks. This beautiful autumn day included cutting wood, organizing/putting away all of the random things on my tables that are in the way of the oncoming ware boards and bats full of pots.

Here are some images/impressions of the day.


bear grass, Christmas trees, and the distant Black Mtns.

oh yea, pots!

Meanwhile, I'm still working on the blog and it's internal problems in the commenting department. I'm playing around with WordPress and trying different themes and widgetry! I'm finding out how steam lined I have made this process on Blogger and to learn a new application is a little intimidating. I am pursuing the possibilities but may not have anything that I can confidently go with for a while. All this stuff takes time!

Unintended Changes (or, OOPS, I Slipped!)

Michael Kline

Many potter bloggers talk about their love of the freshly slipped pot! I love it, too. Those slipware potters must have a lot of fun!

In other news, there were some unfortunate things that happened last night as I was updating the blog. Without getting into details I wanted to let you know I'm working on getting back to normal. For now you will notice at the bottom of each post there are some reaction checkboxes. Please feel free to "react"!!

I hope to have normal commenting back soon. Thanks.

Slipping, Combing Earthenware!

Michael Kline

I'm making some limited edition earthenware dishes for Evelyn's Montessori class! The class has a special literary tea once a month and since there are several potters kids in the class, the teacher asked us to make some dishes. Anyway, here is a video showing a way I came up with to apply some white slip to some freshly thrown plates. I could have brushed the slip on, but I wanted an even layer.


Michael Kline

slipped plates
click on image to enlarge

Sometimes, in the course of working, things don't go as planned or the pots aren't as money as they could be. Sometimes the "not caring" after one of these pots leads to more daring maneuvers. Sometimes those maneuvers pay off and leads to other creative paths. The other thing about ceramics is the time lapse of cause and effect. What may "feel" good, often may not work technically. The materials change so much in the process that experience and careful observation have to come into play. Aha, empiricism. Can you "see" the one that's not like the others. I didn't center that one on the banding wheel before I scratched through the slip. But I liked it and went for it. What had I to lose? After all, as Cynthia Bringle might say, "It's just clay." So I try things and wait for the kiln's final say and go from there.

Working within the pottery's restraints requires faith.

If you're a potter, what do you think about the nature of experience and the creative moment? If you're not a potter, how does the nature of risk and discovery effect your work?

Back to it!

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.

That Pitcher: Update

Michael Kline

Here's the latest on the pitcher we're "following". The kaolin slip was poured onto the pitcher with a paper cup leaving some nice blank areas totally by chance. Now if I can only get it dry and bisque fired by Wednesday!!???!?