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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: tea bowl chuck


Michael Kline

Ha, I'm still here, still hungry after two tomato sammies! I've moved on to another favorite, crackers, cheese, and pickles. Anyhow, I forgot to post a picture of the chuck I used to cut the feet on the spheres. The little recess in the bottom allowed me to cut the ones with the necks.

One Rather Long Ramble: Or Am I Going To Ever Going To Get Back to the Wheel?

Michael Kline

Somehow it all makes sense I guess. There are things in your life that have their influence on you, people, pots, and finger paintings! I just saw this drawing as I was putting together this morning's post and thought, "oh, that's interesting." It could be that I'm drawing conclusions or implying that this drawing has influenced me in some subconscious way when really it just hangs on the door that we go in and out of all through the day. Now I'm confusing myself. Anyway you can draw your own conclusions or draw your own finger painting, or just draw!

When I was at Highwater Clays the other day I bought a bag of Grolleg kaolin for my #6 Tile kaolin slip. Go figure. I call it T6 slip, but it has a little bit of Grolleg in the recipe. It's a recipe I got from Linda Christianson somewhere down the road. It worked really well, so why change a good thing? Well that bag of Grolleg kaolin was $44! Yes, I know it is from England. Yes I know it probably one of the world's best clays. But come on!! I tell myself that it's just a small portion of the recipe and the bag will last a long time. But come on! I putting it on dirt! Oh well. If it works is there a reason to fix it?

[In researching this post, it turns out that all dry materials have gone ¡way! up. Did you notice this, or am I just a little slow to catch on? The Grolleg is actually ¡cheaper! than the #6Tile!! See for yourself...]

I digress.

Where were we?

Oh yes, I pour the slip on the slabs, spin the bat that the slab is on, and then comb away.

Here is the hump mold just after I have shaped a dish. You can still see the ghost image of the combed slip. Below are the molded dishes aprés Bandana. Stacey thought they looked too much like Michael and Naomi's pots. I said, "Oh good!!" I don't think she knew that it was covers week here at the pottery. And what would be so wrong about that, anyway? I guess this idea of originality is a problematic one for us potters.

I also saw some nice doodlings from Dylan Bowen. You can see for yourself. It's a doodle thing! (aka what goes around, comes around)

On to more formal thoughts, or more well formed thoughts, anyway. [damn, ever since Simon's post yesterday, I've been trying to be as clever, sorry, I'll leave the irony to Mr. Levin]

Here is a bottle/vase/call-it-what-you-will, on a specially made chuck for trimming. This series of pots started out as a cover of the Bruce Gohlson "big gulp" yunomi the other day and by the second board of 'em it had morphed into this shape. To see the bottle/vase just hold your monitor upside down, or stand on your head, or scroll down, whatever is more fun, or easier, your choice...
The cup shape grew into a vase shape quite naturally.

Here are a couple that asked for ears!

After that I was back at the treadle wheel for some more trimming. I took the still soft chuck I used for the bottle/vases and reshaped the top to accommodate the MSimon cup covers! The updated chuck's effectiveness was marginal but it worked and I got them done.

The feet were tricky. I soon found that I had looked closely at the finished fired cup when throwing these, but hadn't looked closely enough at the foot. For most of these I had left too much clay in bottoms which needed a lot careful tweaking to get the cups where they wanted to be. A process that made the feet look a little overwrought. Most of them were taller and narrower in proportion than the original.

This one had the nice profile, a decent weight, and the foot was close, but a far cry from Mr. Simon's. The scale is a little off.


The scale is one of the things I like about Michael's cup. It's volume is very specific to my coffee in the morning or a good gulp of water. My version will hopefully find a home where it is "just the thing".

For me, it's back to the drawing board, or rather, back to the wheel! It's getting on noon and here I am at a keyboard!

Don't forget to take this weeks poll! Just a few hours left! Scroll down and you'll find it on the right hand sidebar. Thanks.


Michael Kline

Here are a few of the cups that I've been working on the last couple of days drying by the woodstove, in hopes that they will be ready and there will be space in Courtney's kiln by weeks end. It's been great to make pots in the shop with wood heat. It's been a long time since I've had the pleasure of being absolutely cold waiting for the fire to get going in the morning and on the other end realizing that it was so hot that I needed to open a door! Ahhhh. I'm not complaining.

the tea bowl chuck
'apres' Stonepool
I also wanted to share with you the "chuck" I am using to cut the feet on my swirl/twirl cups/yunomi. I got this idea from Mark Shapiro, who has probably made a gazillion teabowls over the years. I remember the hundreds we would load into every kiln load at Stonepool.

The center dosen't really support the cup, but, instead, keeps it from flying of the wheel if it comes loose from it's clay moorings. Ideally the clay pad is soft enough and the rim size of the cups are relatively the same size and a little trench emerges as you use it. Unfortunately it also dries a little bit as you go on. I just go back and re-wet it from time to time. Since all of the cups were of varying sizes I had to make my chuck to fit the average size.

Like many of these pottery processes, cutting the feet, getting good balance, visual and otherwise, is hard to get without repeating the cycle a few times. Just as in throwing each new pot gets you closer to an ideal, cutting these feet was a little disappointing, and I wish I had thrown a few, then trimmed a few to get all the notes right the next time around. I threw all of these cups before i had trimmed a single one. Doing the swirl added a complication. Since the swirl is essentially inlay, trimming away the feet cut most of the inlay away. I tried leaving the outside untoached in some cases, but I wasn't exactly happy with the weight, etc. So decisions had to be made, heads did roll, or something like that. Anyway, to the drying unit and hopefully bisquing and glazing in the days to come.