Hand-thrown pottery vase with hydrangeas by Michael Kline., North Carolina potter.
Who knew that a trip to the 2016 Apple Festival in Hendersonville, North Carolina, would have so many perks — a stay in a tiny house, tours and tastings at apple orchards, and drives along back roads through some of the most scenic country in the South.
But a little-known (to us, at least) show and sale of contemporary art pottery just may be one of the best finds of the trip. Cousins in Clay, featuring potters Bruce Gholson, Samantha Henneke, and Michael Kline with guest Kristen Kieffer, offered some of the finest pottery creations we’ve seen, all in a pastoral setting.
Because we’ve been familiar with Michael Kline’s pottery for quite some time, we were on a mailing list advertising this Labor Day weekend show and sale. But being in Kline’s backyard and seeing the pottery was an experience in itself.
Under the tent: Looking over the selection of Michael Kline pottery.
Michael Kline greeted us by the tents in the field behind his house. And the more he talked, the more we felt like old friends, not just casual shoppers who dropped by on a summer’s day.
Quiet, country view at the home of Michael Kline and Stacey Lane in Bakersville, NC.
Turns out, his mother-in-law, Jackie Lane, is a friend of ours from Knoxville, a connection we never made before. But how fortunate for us: We enjoyed chatting with her and meeting her daughter Stacey Lane (Michael’s wife), a jewelry designer who teaches and displays at nearby Penland School of Crafts.
Stacey Lane (wife of Michael Kline) and their dog Jack greeted us under the checkout tent.
To say we were “wowed” by the pottery would be an understatement. With an earthiness that comes from a blend of clays, Kline’s pottery stands on its own with signature bold vines against pale, grainy backgrounds.
Multiple textures, earthy colors, signature motifs — this is Michael Kline Pottery.
Each piece was a treasure. From huge, hand-thrown pots, to chunky, hearty plates that would be starring pieces on any table, Kline’s unique pottery is easily identifiable. We could see it featured in any Southern magazine, showing classy clay pieces in a country setting or standing proudly alongside antique pewter and hand-blown crystal.
With a shape reminiscent of an earthenware jug, this piece features a slightly darker background.
Kline positioned this stunning vase in the middle of a long country table filled with pottery — quite the centerpiece!
Coffee mugs by Michael Kline
His newer work reveals an interest in detail — tiny, repetitive motifs — covering hefty mugs . . .
Repetitive designs on mugs by Michael Kline
and forming delicate edges on serving plates.
A rim of daisy-like motifs adorn this platter of subtle colors and textures.
We wandered down to his studio, a simple house with tools of the trade: potter’s wheels, a utilitarian yet beautiful kiln, and pieces filling cupboards and tables.
Michael Kline’s workshop in Bakersville, NC
Inside Michael Kline’s workshop
Plates on display inside Kline’s workshop
Bert takes a closer look at Michael Kline pottery.
Taking a peek inside Kline’s kiln
Deep inside Michael Kline’s kiln
And who wouldn’t want to “set a spell” on this porch with summer flowers and stately pottery?
Beauty on the porch at Michael Kline’s workshop
Our serendipitous trip to little-known Bakersville, North Carolina, remains a fond memory. Fields of flowers, weathered fences, and an out-of-the-way workshop where the marvelously collectible pieces of Michael Kline Pottery originate — it doesn’t get any better, or any prettier, than this.
One of our favorite pieces shows off what Kline does best: incorporate local clay and earthy colors for one-of-a-kind creations.
Apologies for this fuzzy picture — the only one I took — of Bert and Michael Kline. Guess I need to go back for a better shot!! (Please, please.)
Join us for more travels in North Carolina. Next stop: Penland School of Crafts!
For more information:
Michael Kline Pottery, 4062 Snow Creek Rd., Bakersville, NC; http://www.klinepottery.com/
Cousins in Clay: http://www.cousinsinclay.com/
Stacey Lane Studio Jewelry: http://staceylane.com/home.html