Day 22: @Klinehaus

“Hi. Can I ask you a question? Before you answer, let me ask you another question.” – Merlin Mann

Dear Pottery Bloggers,

Envious yet? If not, this one should do it.

Cindy and I got to spend a good chunk of the day hanging around with MK (a.k.a. Frodo, The Esteemed Mr. Kline, Klineola, etc.) at his place just a few miles down the (winding, mountain) road from P-land.

As anyone who’s ever had an “open” studio knows, there are several versions of the studio tour: the Drive-By, the Stop In, the Have a Chat, the 60-Minute Special, and the Grand Tour; the last of which consists of something like a few hours of intense conversation interspersed with a detailed investigation of showroom, studio, kiln shed, property and house; includes a homecooked meal, and is generally followed by transacting for a small stash of pots before apologizing for blowing most of the day and beating a retreat, the whole way home saying to one another, “That was amazing!” and “Why don’t we do that more often?”

Needless to say, we were privileged to something like the Grand version today, and it was… well, in a word, grand.

(I suppose there’s even something beyond that — say the Grand Mal Tour (you know, because it’s mind blowing)(sorry) — in which you have multiple meals and then drinks and end up around a campfire looking at the stars and talking shit about how big the universe is or something, but that probably happens rarely amongst people who aren’t already old friends or playing romanticized roles in some dumb movie.)


So I got the play the role of ” don’t be creepy” blog fan; to look around going “Oh yeah, this looks familiar” and “I remember when you wrote about this thing here”, which, since Michael and I had laughed at this phenomenon the other day, had a tasty meta layer to it. (Nothing like blog nerds getting together “IRL” and talking about their blogs. Ugh… I kind of hate myself for enjoying that as much as I must confess that I do.)

I also got to see a metric ton of really excellent pots, many of them verging on flat out amazing. The showroom was overloaded with pots I’d love to own, and Cindy and I really had to work at it to settle on a few mutual favorites. It will be a great pleasure to have more MK pots at home to use and study.

Then there was the “close but no cigar” pile; which is always an education in what the potter was going for, where those pieces came up short and by how much, talk of technical glitches and aesthetic also-rans… somehow that’s another layer of pottery heaven.

And, of course, the personal collection, from dirty coffee mugs scattered around the studio (including, gratifyingly, one of mine — and it didn’t even appear to have been placed there strategically in anticipation of my visit), to an open kitchen cupboard with literally months worth of information stored in the clay there, to shelves and cabinets and things on the floor around the house; the collective physical manifestation of two artists’ acquisitions and curatorial preferences, compiled and layered over years of domestic life. Often, stepping into another artists’ home is like a reassuring brush with the truth that we’re not the crazy ones; that it’s the rest of the aesthetically bankrupt world that’s got it wrong. I love that.

Ah, my god. I could go on and on. And of course, there are photos — where are the damn photos, Cooper, right?! — but alas, they are lingering on the memory card of a physical camera someplace, just a few hops too many away from the Internet for me to dig through them and come up with a few representative frames just now. Later, I promise. (Also, since Cindy was doing the shooting, and I frequently felt the hot, self-conscious vortex of the lens aimed in my (and MK’s) direction, I expect there will be some good ones.)(If I cared about blog traffic — news flash: I really don’t — I believe that’s what those in the biz refer to as a “teaser”.)

Ah… the stuff I’ve already missed: Jack the dog, the scythe, the clay pit, like Jack Troy’s vision made real; venison chili, those Sam Taylor pots — jesus do I need to get me some of those — that one little, narrow, casually fluted and oh so lovely cup by St. Simon himself; plates with sweet little pictures carved in by young hands; talk about so many things, the intertwining, unremembered but cherished thread of a conversation that fuels itself and seems endless, never enough time or breath to touch every idea or say it all; the landscape — those mountains, trees, sky, dirt, a place with a very strong sense of place; a Ruggles & Rankin pitcher that I just might commit a crime to possess; a tile floor that’s definitely going to set an expectation with the wife; the indecision over which big pot to choose, where and how to crack open the war chest and make our stance on what represents our ideas about which pots are worth owning the most, which objects we want to personally encourage the world to generate more of. My oh my.

What a day.

Oh yeah, and: Teeerpstra!


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