I was going to write a blog post for Michael Kline and Stacy Lane's show, "Rubies and Vines - Lane and Kline", that focused on Michael's creative experience making work for this show. I was going to write and write and add a quote here and there from Michael. Well, he sent more than a few quotes, so Micheal, take it away...
"A little more than a year ago David and John pitched the idea of a show for Stacey and I. We weren't able to act on it at the time for several reasons, but we were excited to have a show at another time and that time is now!
Although Stacey and I show our work together during our studio sales and open houses, this was a great opportunity to make special pieces that would hopefully involve collaboration and subtle influence. I'd like to say that we worked side by side making pieces together, but the fact of the matter is that we only crossed paths in our mutual studios a few times, and now realize how much focused attention and time it would take to develop the work to the level deserving of a gallery showing. Nonetheless, collaboration and influence appeared in the work we made, just at a more subtle way than I expected.
When I think of jewelry and the precious materials that Stacey uses to make her work, the word that comes to mind is refinement. In the caseof my pottery, there is refinement of earth materials for clay and glaze. Most of these materials are common and not precious, some of these are available to me here on our property. Instead, for this show, I wanted to go even further with the idea of refinement. I decided that I would take this opportunity to work with a very refined clay and explore the possibilities of an alternative firing process.
For the last 6 monthsI have been working with porcelain clay and firing the pots in oxidation in an electric kiln. In every way this process is completely different and foreign to me. Yes, porcelain is clay, and I used familiar pattern and imagery on the finished work, but the experience was full of searching and there was much trial and error. But in the end I feel that the work flourished and an idea that began in the vague notion of refinement grew into a new understanding of working and reacting to materials.
My home clay, that I affectionately refer to as my red dirt, is a craggy and nonplastic stoneware. It has very different properties and rules than the porcelain that I have been using. Both clays assert their desire to be formed to a point that is appropriate to their nature. I try to make work that revels in the natural qualities of the materials and am in turn inspired by these same qualities. This approach to the materials and the process lets me express my ideas through the medium without irony or code.
I think that Stacey and I influence each other in subtle ways that may be seen in our use of imagery, color, texture. For example, I don't think I would have painted snakes on my pots if I hadn't seen the "Snake in the Garden Pendant" that Stacey had made. I liked the way that the snake and the vine intertwined and thought that the imagery was very suitable to some kind of treatment that I am familiar with . But finally, a new motif emerged and while it wasn't exactly how I had imagined it in the beginning, it led to the use of the snake as a border on several pieces. The symbol of the snake eating its tail is know as "ouroboros". I owe my blogging buddy, Jim Gottuso, credit for alerting me to the symbolism to this imagery.
To sum things up, I feel that the important thing about all of this work is that it does reflect the subtle nature of influence. In our case, two people who share a life and family, as well as creative lives. Some influences are overt, like the use of color or lustre, others more private and personal. It has been a great opportunity to take time away from my normal production and work in an area that challenges my ideas and skills. It's also a great pleasure to be showing with my wife, Stacey, in my favorite gallery space (anywhere!) here at the Crimson Laurel Gallery!
Maybe there are influences that you might see that play out in our work?" - Michael Kline-Studio potter
Thanks Michael, I will end with this, HAPPY BIRTHDAY MICHAEL KLINE, we, the ceramics community love you!
Rubies and Vines Lane and Kline opens May 7th, Artist Reception May 7th as well.
Crimson Laurel Gallery