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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: week ahead

Week's End

Michael Kline

Cover Week came to a crashing end as I miserably failed to refine or update the hump molded dish I was working on for what seemed like hours the other day. I have a few boards of these dishes but called it quits when I wasn't getting the results I wanted. I had come up ,with a way of making a big loaf with the size and shape that needed very little cutting, shaping etc. I had marginal success, but wished I had made new hump molds.

Don Pilcher shared his thoughts on the covers:

They can be done three ways- a spot on
replication, a nuanced restatement or an out of the box expression. Each
has a place though I'd argue they are not equally worthy of our attention
and the life of an art form eventually requires the last.
I guess my out of the box expressions would have benefited from more time. More an exercise than an expression, the covers helped me to understand outside of my box and gave me some ideas to follow up on in the next session after I fire these. Far from complete replication, these offered me a way to throw myself off course just a little by forming unfamiliar shapes and reacting to them in a spontaneous progressive sort of way. Here are a couple of shots of my table where I did a lot of head scratching and slab rolling and hump molding.

Most of the molded dishes were tossed out, but I did save a few to fire. After the day (a week) of experimenting, I needed to make some pots that were reassuring and familiar so I made a bunch of 9 lb. bowls. So at the end of Saturday night, I felt I hadn't wasted a day chasing butterflies, but had some pots that I really needed for the upcoming firing. It's good to mix the practical with the exploratory!

The vase/bottle forms got a coating of my kaolin slip and I did some combing through the wet slip. Next I will do some brushwork on glaze these in my amber/tenmoku. This form was one of my most satisfying research project even though it started out as something slightly different.

Here are the 9 lb (4 kilograms)(0.6 stone) bowls that I made Saturday evening. Sunday was overcast and the light coming from the window to the right of my wheel was great for seeing the line of the platters I threw.

I turned off the overhead lights and was able get a good sense of the line from the lip to the center of these platters. For the past week I have been using Highwater clay's Zellastone and it took a while to retool and approach this commercial clay body. It's been a real relief and convenience to just open bags for a change. But I can't wait to get a back hoe over here to get a few years supply of the red stuff to mix in the coming spring!
The Zellastone is quite a bit more smooth that my red dirt mix and wooden tools didn't work so well. I switched over to some metal ribs and got some really nice results. The above picture shows the shadow from the nearby window that is very helpful when using the metal ribs to get the inside of the bowl just right. For some reason when I'm using the red dirt clay, wooden ribs get the results that are pleasing. Could be the smooth clay versus the course red dirt clay I normally use.
Here's the platters I threw this afternoon. The bowls from last night were turned over and then covered with plastic to even out their dampness.

I'm going into the home stretch for firing 34 and will try to keep all of you informed of the goings on around the shop. February saw the biggest traffic ever at the blog and I hope you will continue to read and share with your friends who may also like to see more pottery in 2010.

Please notice that there are a couple of new ways to share the blog with others who are yet hip to "Sawdust and Dirt" after each post. Just click on the facebook link to share to your "wall" and tweet the blog if you are so in-klined.

I'd love to continue this conversation tonight, but I'm very tired and need some sleep. Big weeks ahead. Just wanted to share a few thoughts about the week's end. Leave a comment, I'd love to know what you're thinking about.

More coming tomorrow ( a new poll) and a lot of pottery in the weeks to come!
Be well!


Weekend Wrap

Michael Kline

Here are a few things that I have been working on over the weekend. The firing is coming up next weekend and I'd better get to painting the accumulated bisque ware really soon, like Pronto! That's an Americanism from the mid 19th century for "stop throwing those pots and get to painting!"

Anyway I took advantage of the dry breezy weather to continue to get stuff dried out for bisqing and did some drawing, aka scratchin', on some jars. I usually do this on the pots that I'm planning to coat with the crackle slip. It "pushes back" the drawings so that they're subtle amongst the graphic vine pattern. It's a somewhat fun activity, the scratchin', but I'm still a little timid and not as confident as I am with the brush.

Also I made a few wall pockets, some with swirl. I just sent my last out the door and on the way up to Madison, WI. I have never seen these made by anyone, but I have a nice one by Alex Matisse that hangs by our front door. It is one of those shapes I don't make often, but should since they always are the first to sell. Go figure...

I returned to a form I haven't made in a few years. Probably since my first show at AKAR about 7 years ago, the bottle. (I guess the handles make these flasks, or flagons. I wasn't so happy about the handles, and with each pot tried something a little different, and left one without handles which I liked. It's a hard call, with just a few to work with. I lost a few in the process of making. One of the redeeming benefits from making a series is that they reflect a process of seeing and updating with each try. A natural rhythm can be established and the pots go beyond the initial idea/sketch stage and become one's own, hopefully. But one must have faith in the process and stick to it.

Tomorrow I hope to wrap up the throwing and set up the deco stage. I have a few bisque firings to do still and hopefully will have time for everything I've made in the last few days.

Looking Into The Coming Week

Michael Kline

Sonny G's getting ready for the firing, too.

Wow, it's hard to believe I'm in the home stretch! It crept up on me. So I probably won't have a lot of time to sit around and enjoy the freshly mown grass and the shady trees. Time to kick out some pottery! Micah Cain is coming over today to get the kiln ready and cut some more wood so there will be enough to burn when the time comes. When is that time? Looks like it will be right around the big (sorta) Grand Opening on the 9th. At least if I fire during the grand opening I will have plenty of help?! hehehe. We'll see. The show at Ferrin opens on the 16th so I'd better get to work. Have a great Monday, ya'll.