The Cousins in Clay are Bruce Gholson, Samantha Henneke, and Michael Kline. 

The concept of "Cousins in Clay"  is attributed to Michael  who referred to a visit to his “clay cousins” Bruce and Samantha in Seagrove, on his blog Sawdust and Dirt.  After the cousin reference in his blog, Bruce and Samantha invited Michael to participate in their first Bulldog Pottery Studio Art sale, and titled it “Cousins in Clay”. This has now become a bi-annual event with exciting guest nationally recognized clay artist cousins from across the country. The Cousins in Clay shows happen at Bulldog Pottery in the early summer and at Kline Pottery on Labor Day weekend.

Bruce Gholson makes a diverse range of functional and decorative ceramics working with a variety of clays and glazes. Bruce received his M.F.A. in ceramics from the New York State College of Ceramics at Alfred University in 1997, and his BFA in ceramics from the University of Georgia at Athens in 1978.  Bruce worked at Berea College’s Clay program in Berea, Kentucky for three years as the graduate apprentice, making pots, managing the materials inventory, firing schedules, and studio maintenance.  Originally from Stillwater, Oklahoma, Bruce started making pots in 1973 after his first exposure to clay in his hometown’s college ceramics facility at Oklahoma State University in Stillwater, OK.  Bruce has work in many private and museum collections including AMOCA, Schein-Joseph International Museum of Ceramics Art, Mobile Museum of Fine Art, Arizona S.U. Art Museum, Gregg Museum, and Mint Museum.


Samantha Henneke grew up in Blacksburg, Virginia, and attended her home-town college, Virginia Tech. While searching the halls for her place in life she finally found it during her junior year while taking a pottery class, in the spring of 1991.  After completing one more year at Virginia Tech, she transferred to the New York State College of Ceramics in Alfred in the fall of 1992, and graduated cum laude with a Bachelors of Fine Arts in Ceramics in 1995. Her studio art pottery aesthetics are traditional with a flare - a dotted mug, an insect on a plate, or swirl on a covered jar.  Samantha also enjoys creating fantasy garden landscapes depicting life in the garden. She composes crystalline glazed paintings on porcelain canvases of scenes such as a red dressed girl working with a dung beetle, a larger then life red-eye fly portrait, or a girl skipping through a garden of flowering shoes. She participates in exhibitions throughout the year, has appeared in a number of publications, and has ceramic work in national museums such as the Mobile Museum of Art in Alabama, the Mint Museum Randolph in Charlotte, and the Gregg Museum in Raleigh.


Michael Kline has been a studio potter since 1993. He studied pottery, painting, and printmaking at the University of Tennessee where he received a BFA. He also studied under Michael Simon at the Penland School of Crafts in 1989. Michael has written articles for the Studio Potter magazine and from 2007-2015 wrote a almost daily blog, “Sawdust & Dirt”, which later turned into a podcast with the same name. His work has been published in numerous pottery books, including Robin Hopper’s “Functional Pottery.” He has led many workshops and given presentations of his work at universities and clay centers across the country, including the Penland School and the Arrowmont School. Michael appeared (ever so briefly) in the 2007 film “Craft in America” which broadcast on PBS. Michael is a former board member of the NC POTTERY CENTER in Seagrove, NC.

In 2008 he joined his pottery friends, Samantha Henneke and Bruce Gholson of Bulldog Pottery, to form Cousins in Clay, a biannual pottery sales event in Seagrove and in Bakersville.

Michael is a member of the Penland Potters guild. He lives in Bakersville, North Carolina and is married to goldsmith Stacey Lane. Stacey and Michael have two daughters, Evelyn and Lillian.