Get in touch!

Use the form on the right to contact Michael Kline!

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: time


Michael Kline

When I start a session in the studio, whether it be a long one or a short one, there are some obvious tasks that need to be checked off the list.
  • schedule firing date
  • mix and pug clay
  • clear wheel
  • clear wedging table
  • piddle around for an undetermined amount of time
OH! Yes, the last one is a very interesting one. I could expand on that last one quite a bit, and might if I had time! But like a dog circling around a resting place a few time to prep the area for lying down, I circle around the studio, thinking of all kinds of things that need to be done. There are all kinds of things that have very little to do with making pots and are barriers to just getting to the wheel and turning it on.

Part of the issue for me is the clearing of piles of random stuff that finds its way to my work table, residue of finished and unfinished projects. Packing materials, tools, yesterday's afternoon cup of coffee. You get the picture, right? Maybe you have the same stuff getting in your way?

But these things can all be put away routinely. These aren't the real hurdles for me. The real challenge to getting my work started is some kind of psychological-emotional leap of faith (maybe self doubt) There's a kind of re-remembering that I has to happen.

I have to remember to breathe, clear the mind, and prep my hands, arms, back! Each part of the process has to be re-membered each time I start, whether it be throwing, decorating/painting, glazing, cutting and stacking wood for the firing, firing the kiln, even stacking the bisque kilns.

It seems that these activities require lots of hats and a lot of remembering. They are usually contrary to one another, like working with the wetness/dryness continuum in forming the pots, then the abrupt change to painting hard, pink bisque ware, then firing the wood kiln.

There's a LOT to remember, right? It's fascinating and perplexing at the same time. In the beginning it sometimes feels like one is starting down the pottery road with square wheels. (Well, maybe they're hexagonal.)

I guess my point is that my particular processes can be bumpy, turbulent. I guess it doesn't have to be, I've certainly tried over the years to smooth out some of the edges with some alterations to the process, but I guess I've settled into this process, because it produces (or I produce) the kind of pots I like to make!

The pots would be different if I change course. It's not that I live and "never" learn, although it might seem so sometimes. Evolution happens, sometimes.

But beginnings are slow. Momentum/Flow takes time. After some time passes and I remember that I am in the shop to make pots and the way is made clear and the clay is wedged, the wheel spins. Ideas come forth, remembering happens, momentum build, pots fill the shelves.


Now, what is that firing date?

Future Pottery

Michael Kline

Hello King Friday XV,

Uncle B and I had some good times in the past couple of days. I'll miss him today as his "Friday" came yesterday and he's off to the Piedmont today with family. Today, I’ll no doubt finish up my mugs in record time. There isn't likely to be any banter, except that echoing in my head.

One interesting concept that stuck in my brain after yesterday's talking (and yesterday's post) is somehow related to the idea of the ceramic third eye, or maybe better yet, the ceramic mind's eye. I'm not sure how. It's also related to time travel (bear with me, please) and future pottery, good lord willing.

Part of the agenda that Uncle B set in front of me, scribbled on a scrap of paper, was the notion of limits, deadlines, procrastination, and the addiction to urgency. (paraphrased) I had a rush of thoughts. The first being that I wanted to put off that agenda item till later—Pass!


Then I panicked with the thought that I have too little time to be at Penland in the first place, making pots for charity when I should be making pots in MY shop for MY kiln! At the same time, the real silver lining for me is that I AM  building momentum making pots, I AM having a thrilling time in conversation with Scott C(Uncle B) and so what’s the big deal?

This could turn into a very tangential, stream of consciousness post, so let me try to avoid that train wreck, or some random meteor shower of thoughts, by saying that everything we do in this moment as artists is some kind of investment in our future work.

I ask myself,

  • how will this time I'm spending effect the work I make? 
  • am I spending this time working toward making better work? 
  • is this studio full of crap that is encumbering a good flow of creativity? 

The pots I make for Penland I do ultimately for Penland’s benefit. But it is also helping ME make better pots by allowing me time to work out some form ideas with very few of the usual risks. As Scott said yesterday, something to the effect of, “at least we were keeping our hands muddy” the time spent in conversation and clay are rare and can’t be measured. Progress was somehow being made.

The progress bar is moving along! [or is it?] There’s a lot to be said of the progress bar.

All I really want to say, as I sort these thoughts out on the keyboard, is,

Keep pushing, keep striving! Your future pots deserve it.

Now,  Go on and get outta here!

It’s later than you think.

Have a great weekend.

Photo Dump

Michael Kline

Here they are.

The pictures from the camera.

But you'll have to go here until Blogger has an easier way to upload pictures en masse.

Thanks for traipsing all over creation to see pictures. Don't you have pots you should be making? ;)

Ripple in Time

Michael Kline

Timing is everything, someone once said. In my case I have to confess that it takes me a long time to make a pot, or a kiln load of pots. As I've spoken about before here, life in the summertime, the kids home from school, friends visiting from Penland, put a pleasant speed bump in the old pottery making path.
My approach, and maybe potters everywhere, relies on a certain momentum. Clay dries or stays damp, depending on the weather. A potter walks through the shop pushing their finger into soft pots, checking the clay, waiting for further attention. This gesture keeps the potter in "touch" with the pots. Momentum in the shop is an accumulation of all of these moments of "awareness" that one gets from being in the shop. Remembering also comes with this momentum: pots that still want to be made, updates on shapes from previous cycles of work, attempts at new forms.
Blogging has been a real good outlet for me and a great way of staying in touch with you. But there comes a time when I've just got to get the pots made. This, hopefully, will serve as an apology for not being in touch with all of you (whom I'm so grateful for).
I've had to postpone my firing, and cancel a show. But in the scheme of time and momentum, the pots will be better, I hope. Thanks for reading!

Friday News

Michael Kline

News? Maybe not, but I wanted to say that for the last few days, Stacey has been in Seattle presenting at a conference and I have been the alpha parent. I've realized how much Stacey does for and with the kids while I'm chasing drywall around a room, making pots, and chasing my blogs around the world. I'm walking just a few miles in my darling's shoes and my feet are sore, maybe even a blister or two. After three days of flying solo, though, I think I'm getting the hang of it, (we finally arrived to school this morning a little early). But the house needs picking up and there's laundry, etc. What really amazes me about Stacey is that she still makes time to do her art work and make beautiful jewelry. [Renee Margocee wrote an interesting post about this here] I mentioned a little while ago, but I'll mention again Stacey's web site, for those just coming into this conversation.

I may have also said this before, and many non-bloggers ask me when do I have time to post regularly, the answer is that Stacey provides the wiggle room I need to get this blog published within and around my own responsibilities of parenting and potting. I hope you find this blog worthy of your time.

So my hat is off to my lady, Godspeed, really.

Now I better get back to work, because before I know it will be time to run into town to get the girls from school, and oh ... what's for dinner tonight???


Michael Kline

I just wanted to share some pictures of the handles I just put on some jars. I put a couple on yesterday, maybe a bit too late, ouch.

So with the rest of the jars, still a little soft, I went ahead and attached them. What was I waiting for anyway? I guess it's a holdover from the old types of handles I make, that get pulled off the pots. These just get "laid" on and thumbed into place. So with my left hand inside the jars I used my right to do the thumbing.

By thumbing, I mean that use my thumb to smooth the handle into place after it has been set into position. I use a little water on my thumb for lube. Here is an archived post on handles. Today's handles weren't done exactly as in the archive, but close. I didn't add the coil on the top of the handles.