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192 Jim Boone Rd
Bakersville, NC, 28705
United States

828-675-4097

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: today

Pots on Scholarship

Michael Kline

stamp inlay, pottery, north carolina, wip
my favorite and most challenging part was
that little place just below the rim
Last night I “finished” these jars and wondered where the time had gone. In this kind of zone I get lost in the learning of a new technique and the observation of something new and exciting emerging, but also heard the caution from the rational side of my wood kiln.
pottery, nc, wip, stamping, inlay, sanggam, mishima


pottery, nc, wip, stamping, inlay, sanggam, mishima


pottery, nc, wip, stamping, inlay, sanggam, mishima

pottery, nc, wip, stamping, inlay, sanggam, mishima
committed to the 52nd firing!

Funny Handles, or How I Delight and Scare Myself at the Same Time

Michael Kline

I've really been trying to break out of some habitual pottery making, this week. Probably due to the stimulation and/or the self conscious reactions of conferencing! There's nothing quite like seeing presenters at a conference, or working side by side with some very talented potters to shake things a little loose in the head and the hands.

That's sort of the rationalisation or explanation of this pot, anyway.


Last night I needed to handle this bottle. I felt like it needed another element to fulfill some kind of balance. This isn't exactly a NC style jug, the neck is a bit long and narrow. The proportions don't scream whiskey. (maybe the shape is suggesting more of a Chambord type bottle?) So I thought I might give it a pair of vestigial handles, as you do.

As I pulled the little handles off the side of the pot I literally flipped the attachments above rather than below the attachment in a fit of spontaneity and experimentation. It was quite a little thrill.  [private wooohoo moment]

LOL

I know, ha-ha, sometimes I can be a little full of myself or melodramatic.

Anyway, all this just to say that I went with it and kind of like it! But like a new pair of shoes (which I really need, btw) it takes a while to get used to it. This ain't exactly Catawba Valley shape language anymore. I even hesitated to share this little odd pot with you! But, hey, it's just pottery, right?

Well that's all for now. It's Saturday, which means  that I need to update the FB Ceramic Index, but there's so much to do with my clay hands. And as you know, using a computer requires clean hands. SO the Index might have to wait.

P.S.

Will I see you next week in Milwaukee? If not, you can follow my trip here, or on IG, or on FB.  If you are on FB check out our interactive group page that Carole Epp has organized. It's sort of a companion convo to our NCECA presentation on social media( Friday 3/21 9 am). 

Thanks, as always for taking the time to leave me comments and reading my pottery bloggery.


Snow Changes Things

Michael Kline


The light is very nice and even in my studio this morning. It is also blanketing the wood I cut last week! Even though it is under a roof, the wind blows the snow all over. The poplar  wood needs time and plenty of air to dry. I hope I get more of the latter and I hope the air gets closer to a sensible seasonal temp real soon!

This hope is just part of the territory when your tools and materials are as basic as earth wind and fire.

Dormant For Today

Michael Kline

I took a walk around the shop in today's beautiful sunshine. Here are some scenes from the day off.


melting ice from the storm

so many postcards 
sign by Lillian

punch list and plaster

view from showroom


wood kiln door edge

mostly broken door bricks

back of the kiln with crumbling stucco and sooty spies


light, cone pack, and plate

glazed wads
showroom

rejected
leftover teapot lids
circles

calipers and saved trimming

buckets holding treadle hostage

packing and shipping accessories

information center 
posters
blue and green tarpscape
the wedging table


Cookin'

Michael Kline


Just a quick post before heading up the hill to a long list of tasks in the shop. Ron has inspired me to eat better and this morning's nutrition comes courtesy of Stacey and the hens. Tamari roasted almonds and poached eggs!  (not pictured: black coffee) 

Visual nutrition comes courtesy of Seagrovian potter, Blaine Avery. Blaine "traded" me this bowl over a year ago. (Blaine, I owe you! This bowl continues to intrigue me and lives in the sink from almost constant use.)

Have a positive day, eat well, and make good work!








Good Start

Michael Kline

Monday.
Hitting the ground running.
With just a few days between a really super manabigama wood firing workshop last week at the Arrowmont School of Arts and Crafts and a pottery show in D.C. this coming weekend, time at my wheel is premium. No better time for ye olde 12 x 12 to get the balls of clay rolling, er, spinning.


These drinking cups are a good form to make on a clear bright Fall morning. While they obviously won’t be ready for this weekend’s show in DC they’ll be ready for my November firing and that’s what matters this morning.


Thanks to the fine folks at Ceramics Monthly for mentioning me in their article in this month’s issue. I’m just opening my new issue that i spied in my stack of mail from last week! Sherman Hall and his crew have been very supportive over the years and have sent many people to my blog’s doorstep. If you’re arriving here at ye olde blogge for the first time, thank you for reading and i hope you will have time to dive into the vast content contained here from my 5 years of blogging. To all the steadies, thanks for sticking with me through these years.

Internet Hall of Mirrors

Michael Kline

There are so many points of access to my little busy world. When I started this blog it was pretty much my only option. Now these options to share have exploded. My main choice to share what's happening here at the pottery has been Instagram. When something cool strikes, I can quickly post a picture and share it. When I do this, I can simultaneously send it to Facebook, Tumblr, Flickr, etc. Maybe you follow me at some of these venues? Maybe not. So if you just can't get enough of your internet pottery pal, here is a visual parade of the last few days.

11" tiles combed
favorite mug for this session (Bruce Gholson)

pots going to The Clay Studio in Philadelphia for upcoming show

jar with combing

oh, i can comb and incise!?!? little breakthroughs

red dirt test tiles for grass/weed ash glaze. exciting step.

knobandall

If this just isn't enough, check out what I'm listening to

Thanks for your eyeballs. Later.

Whole Lotta Round

Michael Kline



My list today included things like:

This list is in direct competition with another list: the making list.
  • handle pitchers
  • slip/comb big jug and pitchers
  • trim small dishes
  • trim big bowls
  • throw mugs
  • throw 5# pasta
I got a fair bit of both done.

I'm getting 'round.


Funny Numbers and Fresh Clay

Michael Kline












I'm a bit behind reporting on the happenings leading up to the next firing and the Cousins in Clay reunion, but here goes in a matter of a few photos!

I was happy and a bit overwhelmed to have two helpers yesterday, my intern Adam MacKay and his partner Molly Belada. Molly and Adam are undergrad ceramics majors at App State, in Boone. Adam has been helping me every week and Molly has been helping my neighbor, Courtney. After some number crunching and clay body calc, we set up the mixing area where I proceeded to find not one, but two wasp nests in two open bags of clay. Ouch. After some thorough paranoia and nest removal M and A mixed up enough of the fireclay mix that will be added to my red dirt in a week or so (I hope!)

The girls came up with a friend to make some pots (read: show off their pottery skills to their friend) but their wheel was covered with reclaim clay, so I set up my Shimpo banding wheel and hand turned it for them. It was just the thing and soon they were off to the woods to do some exploring and I was back to work.

I'm managing to get some nice pots made in and around carrying out final plans for next months Cousins in Clay Show. There's a lot to do but I'm so looking forward to seeing my old buds, Mark Shapiro and Sam Taylor, and all the pots they will be bringing. Check out our Facebook page to find out more.

OK, time for some lunch, then more pottery this afternoon.

Cossing Paths/Thinking and Seeing Out Loud

Michael Kline

I'm very curious, sometimes obsessed, with all of the ways we can share information these days. So much has changed in just the past 6 months, not to mention the last five years since I started this blog. Besides this blog, there's Pinterest, Tumblr, Twitter, Flickr, and Instagram, just to name the one's I employ when struck with the impulse to share a picture or a thought. For now, all roads seem to lead into the town square of Facebook, but I'm sure that will change as well. (does anyone remember AOL?) My internet personas are somehow connected like some Rube Goldberg contraption that most times just requires me to start the ball rolling on one of my devices which, in turn, sends it out to all of the "branches".

What's my point? I guess I'm trying to figure all of this out as much as anyone and wonder mostly whether this blog is still a vital organism. It seems heavy and sluggish. Writing takes time and who has any of that? Maybe it is much easier to shoot the camera and click than to sit here and blather on about I am thinking?  

Pictures are a must for the pottery bloggery, but words are still central to the task of understanding. 

[I think I just answered my own question. Thank you blog.]

OK, [sigh of relief] Now back to the important work of pottery!

Spied the Moon Monday

Michael Kline

Most days I wake up with a heart full of promise and a road of good intention lies ahead. After my coffee, which always seems to be there waiting for me (thanks Stacey) I do the rounds, feeding the chickens, getting the eggs, boiling the eggs, and clocking into the internets to see what's coming downstream.




Today I woke up really tired and didn't have time to go through my usual routine.

The girls are in a morning camp up at Penland so I ferried them straightaway over the mountain to their camp, came home and went to the studio to check in with the twelve from yesterday.

I spent most of the morning, aside from a brief visit from a fine group of students from ArtCentered, trying to throw small pitchers and had some success. It has been a while since I made a good group,of pitchers and it took me a few tries to get them. I often wonder if I should toss out the first couple in a series and rationalize that even the mediocre pot can be a good pot for a glaze test. And none of them were that bad really. (delusional?)

I packed some pots, went to the P.O. and dropped off some stuff over at Bandana pottery, where I sat and talked to Michael over a cold beer. Even though we live just a few few short miles apart, we rarely have time to drop in to just sit and talk shop. What a treat it is when we can.

After about 60 paces of mowing in the field and some nice callus forming on chops, I came back to the shop where it had cooled down nicely to finish my 12 for today. Well, it must be noon somewhere!? Midnight is fine with me, especially in the summer.

Just as i sit down to write this travelogue for the day, a skunk wafted by the studio and I rushed to close the doors that would keep Jack inside.  He paced between the doors looking to get out and meet this smelly dude and became so excited that I thought he might jump through the window screens!

Jack's snoozing by my feet and the skunk has moved on and it's probably safe to walk down the hill to the house without a skunk altercation. I'll enjoy the new path I've made with tonight's mowing and I'll really enjoy that path to my slumber!


A Summer Day

Michael Kline


 Some say that I'm a lucky guy.  I would agree. Making pots for a living is a pretty sweet life. Although there are those days that I second guess the vocation that has chosen me and think about the greener grass on the other side. But mostly, when I can make some pots, visit some friends and spend time outside working, I'm pleased.

Today was pretty leisurely, but I made some pots, (oddly undocumented in this photo series) saw some beautiful pots at Michael and Naomi's home sale, and mowed some of the field outside the house. The evening, after supper is when I get my exercise swinging the scythe. It's really my favorite time of the day. When the house still holds the day's hot, the field is a great place to be. The sky changes every time I pause to strop the blade and I take in deep breathes and note of the drama of clouds, the color of "pink o'clock". It's always a good workout and satisfying to see the freshly evened grass of the field.

I think to myself, as I topple the goldenrod and blackberry, that I am somehow rescueing the grass.  That someday goats or cows will thank me.






Monday Plate Day

Michael Kline

Today was a fine day, not exactly normal, but a good day. Not normal because intern Adam MacKay was here working which meant we were actually going to do some pottery work!

The day began with the unfortunate and untimely demise of our Holly Walker bowl which we have used for many years to hold all sorts of things. It was a favorite salad bowl and held many a Monday night's Broccoli Pasta. It's last passengers seem to be a stale bag of oatmeal bread, a family of smarties, and a lone pixie stix. All the occupants  survived the six foot fall from the top of the fridge, but the vessel was totalled. We will miss you Holly Walker bowl, but now you will suffer random and disparate foods no more.

The showroom remodel was put off for a day and Adam and I cleared away the debris that had occupied my shop to make room for some freshly thrown pots. We ridded the sub level of the work table that had a couple of years worth of random clay bodies never used and dried up.  It's time to break the monopoly of floor space this table takes by splitting this table in two and adding some casters, which will lend some flexibility to the work space.


As I do so often, I threw plates to start the session off. Adam and I discussed spiral wedging and after a few balls he was settling in to some unselfconscious wedging. It's nice to have someone weigh and wedge.


Suppertime brought some confidence back to handling some nice pots from our cupboard. Here is a corner of our domestic real estate, a very nice neighborhood, you could say, with a few Sam Taylor pots with an adjacent Rick Hensley. Pesto with locally produced goat cheese, carrots, and of course fresh seltzer from my SodaStream. The girls like it very much and we have some flavor testing to look forward to in the morning. Evelyn made a simple syrup with fresh mint that sits cooling on the stove.

Life is good.

Wednesday Pictures

Michael Kline

Maybe a few pictures can tell the story of Wednesday. See
(my apologies to iPad, iPhone, & iPod Touch users.)


























  • Kathy King brought her class for a tour, a demo, and here, a paper plate painting exercise.
  • Chickens in their even larger indoor palace.
  • some pots and shots around the shelves and tables of the shop.




Here is a slide show of the above images. My apologies to you with iPods, iPads, and iPhones...




Big Week?

Michael Kline

Not exactly.

My week was good, but I didn't exactly kick the kind of pottery ass that I had hoped I would. Nonetheless, I managed to get at least 12 pots made and finished each day. Most of them were yunomis, plates, and small jars. Thank goodness for quotas.

Here are a few plates that show my current interest in various textures I can get from braided rope.

In the top image I used a pretty standard braided rope, not pictured. I like the way the overall pattern is created from the overlapping. The rope is rolled immediately after throwing, the clay is very soft and care is taken to roll with even pressure. I like the way the plate is ever so slightly deformed from the rolling.

With the middle plate I used a short section of cotton clothes line rope(shown). Curiously the overlapping pattern was concentric, more or less. The resulting pattern is a composite of many side-by-side rollings. If you look closely you can see each individual rolled "path".

In the bottom plate I used a small nylon rope (shown) that I saved from my push mower when I replace that starting rope late last summer. It's smallness resulted in a slow and tedious impression, which was not so easy to roll and I didn't enjoy, but in the end I liked the subtle pattern that resulted. This may be the best pattern for over-decoration as the impressions aren't very deep and won't interfere with the painting of floral motifs.

Every day I get more and more excited about the upcoming trip to Austin Texas and the Art of the Pot show there. I just found out that I will be showing with my buddy Peter Karner, as well as my Penland neighbor, Gwendolyn Yoppolo, and Deborah Scwartzkopf! Keith Kreeger will be our illustrious host at his studio in early May. Here's a link to the Art of the Pot web site.

Well that is a little of what I am working on these days. The coming week will be mostly free of packing and shipping, appointments, and other distractions, so I hope to really get a lot made. I hope to be able to share what happens here on the blog.

Here's to the coming BIG week! I hope you all have a great one.

Instagram Today

Michael Kline

Instagram is a cool picture taking, photo manipulation app. It's also a social network where you can follow folks you know or folks you don't know, but like the pictures they take. Like most social networks, you can like, comment, and share. Unfortunately it's only available on iOS (mainly because the iPhone/iPod/iPad camera is so amazing!) If you don't have the instagram app on your iPhone/iPod/iPad or if you're not on Facebook, or Twitter, more than likely you didn't see any of these pictures from today. If you *are* on instagram and want to follow me and my photographic adventures, my username is klineola. Just go to the app and search for me! Here is an interesting article about instagram and how it is enabling anyone to take interesting photos.
Anyway, I just thought I would share some of the scenes from today. I may do this regularly, if you like. Let me know. Operators are waiting. Thanks.