Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Video: Slip Inlay Process



What's more fun than scraping slip off of a pot?

(don't say winning the lotto)

Watching a hyper-lapse video of someone scraping slip off of a pot! (of course)

Monday, April 20, 2015

420


Rainy morning skies turned bright clear blue and my spirits lifted as I was just a little bit soggy from a lot of weekend rain and ever growing and deeper grass. Maybe my shoes need some more mink oil or something.

Just wanted to throw a couple of things your way and keep you up to date.


I continue to get a kick out of my inlay stamping carving and scraping. I slathered several coats of slip on the stampings and carvings of these plates Then I started scraping like a scratch ticket lotto freak looking for the payoff. I played around with layering black and white slip and the payoff, for the prefired time being, is really pleasing. Contrasts in the raw state don’t necessarily mean the same in the fired and glazed state. So I reserve my giddiness until I get more glaze and slip tests worked out.


But for the time being I am really enjoying the process despite the enormous time it takes. I feel several deadlines bearing down on my calendar and need to pull myself away from these pieces to produce some of my bread and butter pots, but it isn’t easy.

Before I go a couple pieces from this afternoon’s #pottersofmeerkat session. I threw several jars and the latter two I picture here. They were both stamped wet on the wheel and are a little lumpy. But I like how they are coming out. I’ll do some carving on them tomorrow.

Thanks for reading and as always, I hope you are lovin' the spin YOU’RE in!

Sunday, April 19, 2015

Show-Room



It’s spring in the mountains. Grass is growing, flowers blooming, and customers are finally streaming into the showroom here at the pottery.

This week I’ve been slogging through piles of stuff that has accumulated in my showroom in its winter dormancy. And just in the nick of time it was ready for yesterday’s visits! I have another group tour this Tuesday so I’ll focus on the grounds now that the showroom and studio are once again presentable.

What does a Kline pottery tour include, you ask? Well depending on the group, be they potters or not, I usually walk them through the kiln area, the studio and then, of course conclude with the finished pots in the showroom…aka “exiting through the gift shop.”

If the group is a class from the nearby Penland School, I sometimes arrange to do some kind of demonstration. The demo is usually brushwork, but occasionally I do a throwing demo.

So, if you want to take a tour of the pottery just drop me an (email)[mail to:michaeljkline@gmail.com] and I’d be happy to show you around. If you can’t come here in person maybe you can see what’s happening by tuning into one of my live streams and I’ll show you around with my phone! Here’s a recent stream.

There’s much pottery to make this week as I’ve just pugged about 600 lbs of reclaim and I don’t like to let that sit around too long. So my Shimpo will be spinning a lot of clay this week.

Stay tuned for the relaunch of my podcast that has been long overdue. I needed to revamp the format and release episodes more regularly. Currently I have 5 episodes in the wings and counting. Should be some good stuff for you there and j send my apologies to all the faithful for your support.

I would love your support for the podcast with a donation of ANY amount. Please see the “tip jar” at the top of the right sidebar.

Ok! If you’ve read this far I truly appreciate your readership and look forward to sharing more of my potter’ life in the coming weeks!

Thursday, April 16, 2015

Glazes Workshop in SC

John Britt workshop in SC glaze testing education

Clay Club: Glazes Workshop in South Carolina June 5-7, 2015:

John Britt workshop! This will be a great opportunity for students to fine tune and explore glazes.

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

FB Ceramic Index Update

It has been a while since I have updated the Facebook Index of Ceramic Artists. Ten months to be exact!

A little background:
It was my interest in statistics that prompted me to set up a short list of my peers a couple of years ago that I recorded dutifully every week or so in my little tattered Field Notes pamphlet. This analog list in pencil was then transferred to a spreadsheet, and eventually became this list.

Why track this kind of stuff?

Aside from your personal preferences  concerning Facebook, Google, and "big data" the Facebook Page is a pretty awesome marketing tool for your business. Through posts on my FB Page, I get feedback from fellow potters and get an idea what my pottery customers "like" and respond to. Comments and likes are akin to compliments and smiles from folks who visit my studio or at events where I  meet folks in person. The stats from my Page help me to decide what is working or not, what content people are interested in.

In addition to looking at my own marketing practice, it's insightful to look at what others in our field are doing to market their work. It's helpful for me to see how others are growing their following on Facebook and to try to figure by what means.  FB introduced their "Pages to Watch" feature, which (looks suspiciously like my FB Ceramic Index ;-)  to help "compare the performance of your Page and [your] posts with similar Pages on Facebook."

Check out this awesome article written by Justin Rothshank about his use of social media to market his pottery.

So, I highly recommend that you set up a facebook page now if you haven't already. Building a strong social media following takes years to develop and the sooner you start the better off you will be. Consider your facebook business page an outlet for telling your story as an artist, a place to share your thoughts, your pictures, your milestones with others. At the least the process will provide an additional perspective on the work that you do, even if, at first, just your friends and family follow you.

An explanation:

Since data is only as good as you can accurately interpret, I sort the Pages according to the biggest change in followers during any specific time period. My reasoning for this is based on the assumption that changes in follow-ship are usually the result of diligent activity on the part of the artist managing the page. The more postings, events, etc usually result in increases of likes.  (although this article claims that changes in likes may be because of a variety of page activity, not just posts to the page)

So here are the top Pages from the Sawdust & Dirt Facebook Ceramic Index that had the biggest change of followers since June 2014.

How these boxes work:

Each Page Box is scrollable and if you click on posts within these boxes you will be transported to the FB Page. You don't have to be logged onto FB unless you want to comment or like pages. If you are logged into FB as your Page admin, you might have to switch to your personal identity. sorry.
If you want me to list you on the Index, leave your Facebook Page URL in a comment or email it to me

Monday, April 13, 2015

Dish Soap and Reclaim Nation

I spent most of the day uncovering and sorting through things in my studio. There was some fun prepping some  red dirt for a new batch of dark clay, some reclaiming slipped into plaster bats. (See illustration) 

clay kline slop NC Carolina
the only thing more inefficient than reclaiming your clay
is making a drawing of it as you wait for it to be ready. ;-)


But the only dishes I got my hands on we're the dirty ones in the sink. But that's ALWAYS good practice running your hands all over a dirty dish can sometimes be very illuminating! 

I thought the soap pattern on this metal bowl took on a pattern a lot like soda glaze. 




I did manage to clear my work table and I plan on filling it with fresh clay tomorrow! 

Until then, chiao
Michael

It's Monday Somewhere

The clock just ticked into a new week, here at midnight North Carolina.
The family and I are just back from a wonderful week away from home in the sun and sky and ocean of South Carolina. The travelogue would have contained stories of leisurely good times, bike mishaps, bug bites, banged heads, jellyfish, and campground intrigue.
But a logbook wasn't kept, but pictures were taken and we did some live streams via Periscope, a fun way to say hi to the world outside the camp.
So, upon the return of any travel, it's always nice to sleep in one's own bed and appreciate home in a way that may be hard to appreciate in the day to day living in it.
The other contrast to a week of leisure is the work that lies ahead. I strolled through the studio tonight just to make a few mental notes on what it is I want to do this week as I start the road to Firing 52!
It was nice to see what I had been working on before I left a week ago and am excited to get my hands back into the clay again.

Here's a picture I took for Instagram, and later shared on my Facebook page, and thought I should include it here just to round out my audience.
More of this work to come as well as some other exciting things in the weeks to come!






A mashup of 4 recent platters with Mishima/sanggam style deco.
Posted by Michael Kline Pottery on Monday, April 6, 2015

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Stories Potters Tell: Clay and Community in the St. Croix Valley Pottery Tour

Here's a great new video by the American Craft Council about the St. Croix Potters Tour. There are so many family faces and pots!

I'm very excited to announce that I will be showing my work at Guillermo Cuellar's studio in 2016, so let's get together next year in the St. Croix Valley!

Friday, March 20, 2015

AKAR Yunomi Preview

yunomi for AKAR Design Gallery with wax resist swirlware floral motifs cobalt blue


I wanted to follow up with a little critique of these yunomi that I have sent to AKAR which I will not do at this point, sorry. Such a tease! But I DID manage to shoot some individual shots of the cups! I wanted to get some nice pictures before I shipped them off, so here they are! 

The 2015 AKAR Design Yunomi Show preview

yunomi for AKAR Design Gallery with wax resist swirlware floral motifs cobalt blue

yunomi for AKAR Design Gallery with wax resist swirlware floral motifs porcelain local native clay pottery

yunomi for AKAR Design Gallery with wax resist swirlware floral motifs porcelain local native clay pottery

yunomi for AKAR Design Gallery with wax resist swirlware floral motifs porcelain local native clay pottery

Tuesday, March 17, 2015

The Chosen Ones

yunomi cups for AKAR Design annual yunomi show swirlware decorated pottery

Out of the 30 swirl cups that I fired last month in the wood kiln, these are the 5 i have chosen for the annual AKAR Design Yunomi Invitational [2014] [2013] [20??]. I wanted to choose a group that showed a variety of color, swirl, and brushwork.

The process is a curious one, that begins with an invitation to do a show along with some of the best potters in the country and challenges me to make cups that push my abilities and techniques into new areas. Curious because in the end you might say these cups look like the kind of cups that you might expect from me. And you would be partially right, I guess.

But, contrary to my last post, this palette and style is but a subtle variation and refinement, not the kind of obvious change I talked about the other day. Each firing there are a handful of pots that are unusual and maybe not what I expect. Then I try to reproduce their goodness, whatever it may be, often missing the mark or guessing wrong on the combination of variables that affect a pot in the wood kiln.

So, to get a group of pots for a show like the Yunomi show, I might need 30 to get 5 or 6 exceptional ones. It's a strategy or process of "make bunch and some might fly" that many a studio potter are grateful for and since it's fun to make a lot of pots, its a great way to work.

But the other thought I have, or the other question you might pose, is who am I to judge?

Everybody has different tastes, different needs. Some like their pasta soft and some like theirs al dente. But in the end, I guess someone has to throw it against the ceiling to see if it sticks. [ba dum tssshhh] and I guess that would be me. But in the end, or at the point of sale, you, O fair and trusted customer, are the final judge!

The AKAR Yunomi show opens on the morning of May 15th and a LOT of the pots sell in the first hour! My advice would be to be take the morning or the day off, bookmark the website and get a front row seat! You should also follow AKAR Design on the Facebook for some fun preview action!

Thanks so much for reading!!