Spring Sale! And some news…

I’m having a little impromptu sale this week in my Etsy shop until Monday! Screen shot 2014-04-07 at 10.48.11 AM

Just head over to my Etsy shop, and when you are checking out, use coupon code SPRING2014 to get 20% off your order, plus $5 flat shipping.  Sale ends next Monday, April 14th, so don’t wait!

The reason why my shop will be closed again after the sale is because I’m expecting another daughter in just 2 weeks!

This was me in Milwaukee for NCECA a few weeks ago:
Emily Murphy
Ada
 is super excited to be a big sister!

Big sister
I have been working like crazy to get a bunch of work done before I get lost in the world of a newborn.  Right now everything is just greenware or bisque.  So when I do get back into the studio, eventually, I’ll be glazing up a storm! 

I’ve been working on a squared dinnerware set.  These are the mugs part of the series:
squared mugs Emily Murphy Pottery

Ada has been hanging out with me in my studio, getting her hands a little  dirty… and tiring herself out!
kids and clay

I’ve been having a great time throwing… wishing that there were either a few more hours in the day, or I had a little more energy at the end of my pregnancy :)diner mugs

I did somehow manage to have enough energy to get to NCECA in Milwaukee last month.  It was so fun to see so many friends and meet some folks that I have only know through this blog or my Facebook page. Not to mention some great talks, demos and exhibitions!  And I picked up a few new tools, like these MKM rollers:
MKM pottery tools
So now you can see why I haven’t been posting on here much lately. But I do post regularly on Facebook, Twitter and starting to post a little more regularly on Instagram too.

Happy Holidays!

The business side of my holiday season is winding down now, and the personal side of the holiday season is revving up for me!  I’m giving my self a little more time this year to prepare for all of our family festivities. I really want to thank you all for your support this season! It’s been really wonderful.

My online holiday Etsy Sale has just 3 more days to go… ending on Wednesday, December 18th at midnight. Then my shop will be closed up until early January. So if you have some gifts left to get, now is the time to order! And if you have one of my pots on your wish list, remind the gift givers in your life to order in the next couple of days. Get 20% off using coupon code JINGLE at checkout! Plus $5 shipping/ address! If you’re looking for some creative ideas, check out my Gift Guide.  Emily Murphy Pottery Gift Guide We have had a pretty harsh start to winter here in Minnesota (yes, worse than usual!). I delivered some work to a gallery here last week and it was -6°F (actual temperature).  And the windchill was -27°F. Lots of folks still came out and shopped during my recent Studio Sale.  It made me feel all warm and fuzzy! 

I had a lot of requests to post some of my soda fired work on Etsy this season, so I just posted some of my favorite pieces! Also available for the 20% JINGLE discount. Emily Murphy soda fired potteryI’ve been replenishing my “Etsy Shelves” in my studio (and online, of course!) regularly.  And just added a whole new slew of pots over the weekend.  There are some really wonderful pots available for immediate shipping!Pots from Emily Murphy Pottery available on Etsy

I haven’t actually been making any pots over the last month…. instead my time in the studio looks like this:IMG_7204

I feel like one of Santa’s elves.  There is nothing I love more than having my pottery used.  And sending pots out into the world is what makes that happen!

And as I wind down with selling pots this season, I can focus on making the holidays magical for my family! Ada got to visit with Santa a few weeks ago.  She was totally enchanted and now keeps telling us how much she loves Santa.  She shared her wish list with.  It was nice and simple… a baby doll and a backpack.  A backpack “for stuff” specifically! On Christmas morning, I’m not sure who is more excited, me or the kids.  I really love the magic of this time of the year!

Ada and Santa Claus 2013
photo by Amy Wurdock Photography, Minneapolis, MN

 I hope your holiday season is merry and bright! All the best to you and yours! 

Gift Guide for Emily Murphy Pottery

I love giving gifts! I love trying to figure out the perfect gift for someone.  It has to be unique, thoughtful and personal.  Sometimes I get a little stuck and I find that looking at online “gift guides” will help give me a spark of an idea! I’ve been doing most of my Christmas shopping on Etsy and at craft fairs.  Etsy’s gift guides are a great starting point if you’re looking for inspiration.  I thought I’d make my own gift guide for my Etsy Shop to help you out!

Don’t forget that your whole purchase is 20% off (except custom orders) in my Etsy Shop using coupon code JINGLE through December 18th, 2013.  Plus $5 shipping/ address.

For the gardener:
Pair one of my vintage seed packet mugs with a pair of gardening gloves or your favorite gardening book for a perfect gift for the avid gardener in your life!  I love reading gardening books in the middle of winter… dreaming of digging into the dirt, while drinking a toasty cup of tea.Vintage Seed Packet Mugs Emily Murphy Pottery

For the cook:
Looking for something for someone who love to cook? A little dish / spoon rest  and a handmade wooden spoon would be something that would be used all the time! Look on Etsy for a wooden spoon (like this one) or a local gourmet kitchen shop for one.
Spoon rest small dish

For the locavore:
Do you have a locavore that you love? Pair one of my handmade porcelain honey pots along with some local honey for a sweet gift! You can look on Etsy for local honey (search for your state plus honey). Or if you have a gourmet shop or food co-op, you’ll find several choices there!  honey pots, travel mugs and soap dispensers7

For the kids:
Kids love having something that is just for them… and just their size! Start them off early loving and appreciating handmade pottery!  Package it with some tasty hot cocoa (from Etsy or a local food shop) and maybe some amazing homemade marshmallows (from Etsy or make your own!)

Etsy kid mugs

For the kid at heart:
Nostagia in a cup! These are grown-up (or big kid!) sized mugs that have the same imagery of the kid sized mugs. You can do the cocoa and marshmallow pairing like above! Or of course, you could always pair it with coffee for the grown-up recipient!

Big wheel and tricycle mugs emily murphy pottery

For the tea lover:
A unique porcelain mug, a tea infuser and some loose tea would make any tea lover full of warmth! Etsy has some wonderful tea infusers. And an amazing selection of teas, like this sampler! And of course, you can find both at a gourmet kitchen or food shop, or at most coffee shops.

Handmade porcelain mugs emily murphy pottery

For the hostess with the mostess:
For someone who loves to entertain, something that is both practical and beautiful is perfect.  These berry bowls are totally practical – you can wash your berries (or grapes…) in them, and then serve directly from the dish! You could even give the colander full of some colorful berries at a holiday party for a one of a kind hostess gift! handmade porcelain berry bowl colander emily murphy pottery

For the mom or dad:
I mentioned this in a previous post, these foaming soap dispensers are fantastic for kids! And as a parent, you really want more beauty in your home and less plastic in your life, but it can feel like a losing battle! The foam is great for really getting soap everywhere you need it to be without messy drips.  I wrote a blog post with suggestions on where to buy and how to make your own foaming soap!

handmade foaming soap dispenser emily murphy pottery

For the new homeowner / apartment dweller:
Do you know someone who recently moved into a new house or maybe their first apartment? Get them a couple of matching plates or mugs for make it feel even homier! 

Emily Murphy Porcelain pottery

For the coffee lover:
Of course the obvious choice for someone who loves coffee is to give them a mug.  But these handmade porcelain travel mugs are even better than the standard mug! They can be used with or without the lid.  The lid is great to use at home if you like to keep your drink piping hot.  Or if you have kids or pets that might knock over your hot coffee next to your computer (yikes!).  And it also works as a travel mug ;). Pick up some coffee from your favorite roaster.  Etsy has a ton of roasted coffee bean options! handmade porcelain travel mug with silicone lid emily murphy pottery

For the person who has everything:
And then there is always the person who has everything that you can’t figure out what to get for them.  A beautiful porcelain oil lamp would be a wonderful gift. It’s unique, practical (we always light ours when the power goes out!) and is small enough to not worry about where they will put it! Plus, it’s more interesting and than another gift of a candle.  And can be used as a small bud vase too.  Complete the gift by giving it with a bottle of lamp oil. You can purchase smokeless paraffin lamp oil at most hardware, grocery and big box stores. You can also purchase it online, including through Amazon. There are many brands, you just want to look for 99% pure paraffin; sootless, smokeless, odorless. It’s quite easy to find!

handmade porcelain oil lamp

I hope my little gift guide gave you some ideas for some of the folks on your holiday shopping list!  And if you buy something from my Etsy Shop, don’t forget to use the coupon code: JINGLE to get 20% off your purchase through December 18th, 2013!

Holiday Sale at Emily Murphy Pottery :: Dec. 5, 7-8 :: Minneapolis

If you’re in the Minneapolis/ St. Paul area this week, I hope you’ll stop by my Holiday Studio Sale!  20% off everything, including Seconds, Samples and Discontinued Items that are already marked down 50-75%! (and if you’re not local, you can still participate through my Etsy sale!)

Thursday :: December 5 :: 5pm-7pm
Saturday :: 
December 7 :: 10am-5pm
Sunday :: 
December 8 :: 12noon-4pm

I thought I’d give you a little tour of my studio; it’s nearly all set up for my studio sale

When you get to my house (3015 10th Avenue South, Minneapolis), you’ll be greeted by my Pottery signs! You can enter through the front, or the back (there is a parking lot across the alley from us that you can park in), and then find your way to the back door.  Enter there to go down to my basement studio! There will be lots of extra signs too!Emily Murphy Pottery Studio Signs
I’m located near the Midtown Global Market in the Powderhorn neighborhood of South Minneapolis.  There is plenty of street parking, as well as easy access from the Greenway and public transportation.  There is a craft fair, No Coast Craft-O-Rama, happening on Saturday at the Market, so you could stop by my studio sale and the craft fair and get all your shopping done directly from independent artists!

Once you get down to my studio, you’ll see shelves and shelves of pots! And they will all be 20% off!  I’ll have plenty of yummy things to eat and if the kids come with you, there is a hang-out area for them next to my studio with toys and Christmas movies playing (although they’re welcome to hang out with you too!).
Emily Murphy Pottery Minneapolis Studio
Lots of handmade porcelain dinnerware, glazed in celadon. If you’re one of my customers who collect it, this sale is the perfect time to add some new pieces to your collection!

I’ve been having fun adding some new colors into my work.  And some new forms like the travel mugs on the top shelf with silicone lids!DSC01559
These vintage seed packet mugs are a great gift for your favorite gardener!  (and yes, this display is set up on the top of my kiln!)
Next up on the tour… The wall of mugs! A little something for everyone! I love making a huge variety of mugs in different sizes, shapes and colors so everyone can find one that they feel like is really “their mug.”
DSC01566
I have some soda and wood/soda fired pieces too!
DSC01574

And the final photograph (although not the end of the sale!) is my “Etsy wall.” Everything here is up for sale on Etsy, but you can still buy it from me during my studio sale! I just keep them together, with a piece of blue tape on them to denote that they are listed online.  I want to take down a listing ASAP if someone purchases it in person! I have to keep nice and organized when I’m selling items online and in my studio.

What is NOT photographed yet (because it isn’t set up yet!), is my Seconds, Samples and Discontinued items! They are already marked down 50-75% off, and then you’ll get another 20% off on top of that! They are priced to move… because I am ALWAYS making more!

And back to the topic of Etsy… my online sale is going on until December 18th! I’ll continue to add new pieces to my shop until then, but just know that things are moving quickly! Use coupon code JINGLE to get 20% off your online order (excluding custom orders). Plus $5 shipping for each address!

So that is the tour of my Studio Sale… or at least the part that is set up! Feel free to share this with friends and family who live in the Twin Cities even if you don’t! I sell online and through galleries throughout the year.  But this is the one time of the year where I can connect face to face with folks and I really love it!  I hope to see you this weekend, in my studio, or online!

Behind the scenes…

*Just a reminder that my Etsy Holiday Sale is LIVE through Dec. 18th! Get 20% off your whole purchase by using coupon code JINGLE at checkout.  Plus, $5 shipping per address. Not including custom orders.*

I had a shop open on Etsy for years before really adding anything to it. (Sound familiar to anyone else?) I was intimidated by the process and overwhelmed at where to even begin tackling it.  I knew that I really needed to have my whole process figured out before really diving into it.  I wanted to make sure that all my customers would have the very best experience shopping for pottery online.  I know that buying pottery online is hard.  It’s 3 dimensional, tactile and really personal.  Part of selling one of a kind items online is that you not only want to represent them in the best light, you want to represent them accurately! You don’t want someone to receive their box of pottery and be surprised at what they find inside (unless it’s a happy surprise)!

I thought I’d share a bit of my behind the scenes part of the process. It might help you if you’re starting to think about opening a shop.  Or if you like to shop on Etsy, you might find it interesting to know what an independent artist goes through to sell online! No matter how organized you are, it is a lot of work! But by doing a bunch of work up front, you’ll save yourself a lot of time later.

Before I even think about listing anything, I make sure I have a good supply of boxes, bubble wrap and other shipping supplies.  More on that later.

  • I pick out work to list after a firing. Mostly limited to what ships easily and what photographs easily.
  • I measure work (HxWxD, plus volume when helpful) and write on note card; place with each piece.
  • Using my DIY photo booth, I photograph work in order that the pots are on my “Etsy shelves.” I aim for no fewer than 3 images, and up to 5.  Which can easily mean 10 or 15 photos of each pot.  I try to get as many angles as possible of a piece, use a ‘prop’ if it helps, and perhaps a group shot.

What is my Etsy Wall, you ask? They are a set of shelves that I keep almost all of the pots that are either listed, or about to be listed on Etsy.  These pots have been photographed, measured and are ready to go out into the world! It’s conveniently located next to my photography area and across from my desk.   
Emily Murphy Porcelain Pottery - Etsy wall of pots

  • After photographing the work, I upload the photos to my computer and edit them in Picasa (free photo editing/ management software from Google). I crop into squares which work best on Etsy because nothing gets cut off when the photos are made into thumbnails on the site.

Editing photos in Picasa for Etsy
This next part is really important!

  • I write/ edit descriptions for each type of piece and keep in one (long) Google Drive doc that I aptly titled Etsy Descriptions. Descriptions are both personal, descriptive and specific. I include care instructions, measurements, key words, etc… A new description for each piece and its variations.
  • I then piece everything together to make an Etsy listing. Etsy has a great tutorial on making listings.
  • Once listed, I mark everything that is up on Etsy with a piece of blue masking tape to note that it is live. It’s an simple low tech way for me to keep track of what’s listed. I also want to be sure when I have customers in my studio to shop, that I double check anything that has blue tape on it to see if it has just sold if they want to buy it.
  • Then I post the new listings on social network sites- Facebook, Pinterest, Twitter, etc… I don’t think you can really rely on Etsy alone for people to find your work, you really need to assume that you’ll only get traffic from your advertising via social networking and blogging.  That’s my approach. I use it as a shopping cart system for my website, blog and Facebook page.  Anything else is a bonus.
  • And again, I make sure I have everything I need to quickly ship before I post anything. I ship in 1-3 business days- but I try to ship the day I get the order whenever possible. I use the USPS and free Carrier Pickup to ship.

About a year ago I started using double walled corrugated boxes.  They are incredibly strong.  I don’t have to double box with them.  I don’t worry at all about pieces surviving the rough and tumble shipping journey anymore! Here is a photo of my pieces bundled up before going into their boxes. I’m going to do a separate post about packing for shipping another day.Emily Murphy Porcelain Pottery Etsy2

So that is my process in a nutshell. The key, for me, has been keeping all the parts organized. My descriptions are very looong. I’d rather be too wordy than leave a customer with lots of questions.  I want to create a really full “image” of each piece for everyone viewing my work online. It’s hard to buy tactile, 3-D work from a 2-D computer…. but I try to make it as good of an experience as possible!

Emily Murphy Porcelain Pottery travel mugs

Do you have any tips to share about posting on Etsy? Or do you have any things that you particularly like to see/read when you’re shopping on Etsy? I’d love to hear from others!

New! foam soap dispensers

I have been working on a new item this fall… foam soap dispensers. I’ve been using (plastic… eek!) foam soap dispensers for a while at home.  Guiltily, I admit. They sit next to my regular handmade pumps. I have been looking for the foam pumps for a while so I can make my own and just recycle the plastic pumps!  Finally I found them!  Foam soap dispensers are so great for kids.  It’s super easy for little ones to get the soap all over when hand washing with foam.  That’s why I started using them at home. But I love them for myself too!

Emily Murphy Pottery Handmade Porcelain Foam Soap Dispenser-001

You can purchase foam soap refills in many stores and online.  And you can also make your own! Here is a list of places to purchase foam soap refills:

  • Method foam soap refills form Target (in stores) and Amazon
  • Dial foam soap on Amazon
  • Kiss my Face foaming soap on Amazon
  • Vermont Organics Unscented foaming soap on Amazon also available in a gallon refill here.

A Google search will help you find many more options.  Below the next image are some links to recipes to make your own foaming soap.

Emily Murphy Pottery Handmade Porcelain Foam Soap Dispenser-002

Here’s a link to make your own foaming soap by watering down regular liquid soap. And here is one to make your own by using castille soap like Dr. Bronner’s.  You can find tons of variations on these recipes through a Google search.

Emily Murphy Pottery Handmade Porcelain Foam Soap Dispenser-0021 

This one is using one of my new glazes:

Emily Murphy Pottery Handmade Porcelain Foam Soap Dispenser-0011Emily Murphy Pottery Handmade Porcelain Foam Soap Dispenser2

Here is the pump in action!  A special thanks to my favorite hand model :)

Emily Murphy Pottery Handmade Porcelain Foam Soap Dispenser

A quick reminder that Saturday, November 30 starts Etsy Holiday Sale.  20% off your whole purchase (except custom orders), plus $5 shipping in the US.  Enter coupon code: JINGLE at checkout to get the discount. honey pots, travel mugs and soap dispensers1If you’re in Minneapolis/ St. Paul, I’ll be having a Holiday Studio Sale next week, December 5, 7-8, 2013. More to come on that!

It’s holiday sale time! 20% off on Etsy starting Nov 30… and studio sale the following week!

It’s that time of the year again! Starting this Saturday, November 30th, using coupon code, JINGLE, you can get 20% off your whole purchase in my Etsy shop.  Plus, $5 shipping per address.  If you want it shipped to multiple recipients, it’ll be $5/ per shipment.honey pots, travel mugs and soap dispensers1Much of the work is posted up in my Etsy shop already, so you can “pre-shop” and pick out your favorite pieces so you’re ready to snag a great deal when the sale goes live!

Here are some pieces that are listed (or soon to be!).  A new design of honey pots! Comes with a 6″ honey dipper.  You could substitute a spoon for the dipper and use it as a chutney jar.
Blue glazed porcelain honey pot with slip trailed dots by Emily Murphy Pottery

Blue glazed porcelain honey pot

And here are some new pieces.  Travel mugs with silicone lids.  The great thing about the design of these mugs is that they are great to drink from with or without the lid!
Creamy yellow glazed porcelain travel mug with circle pattern and silicone lid

Creamy yellow glazed porcelain travel mug with circle pattern and brown silicone lid
Aquamarine glazed porcelain travel mug with branch pattern
Aquamarine glazed porcelain travel mug with flowering branch pattern

And here is another new item… a foam soap dispenser! I love using foam soap, and it took me a long time to find pumps that I could use with my pieces.  The foam is so great to use with kids because they can coat their hands easily when washing by themselves.

Tomato red foam soap dispenser with butterflies and brushed nickel pump
Tomato red foam soap dispenser with butterflies and brushed nickel pump

And these honey pots have been flying off the virtual shelves. Luck for you, I made lots of them for the holiday season!Celadon glazed porcelain honey pot with bees buzzing and honey comb

Celadon glazed porcelain honey pot with bees buzzing and honey comb

And here are couple of my favorite mugs! Aquamarine glazed porcelain mugs with floral pattern

Pair of aquamarine glazed porcelain mugs with floral pattern

I love the brushed copper soap pumps! Amber glazed porcelain soap dispenser with leaves falling and brushed copper pump

Amber glazed porcelain soap dispenser with leaves falling and brushed copper pump.

So there is a little sneak peak of my Etsy sale! Saturday is Small Business Saturday.  I hope you’ll swing by between November 30th – December 18th and do some shopping!

If you’re local to the Minneapolis/ St. Paul area, you can shop via Etsy and use coupon code: LOCAL PICKUP to make arrangements with me to pick up your items from my studio!

Also, I’ll be having a Studio Sale next week for anyone who is local.

If you’re in the Minneapolis/ St. Paul area, I hope you’ll stop by my studio sale! 20% off of everything in my studio, including my seconds and samples that are already marked down!
Emily Murphy Pottery Studio Sale

Thursday :: December 5 :: 5pm – 7pm
Saturday :: December 7 :: 10am – 5pm
Sunday :: December 8 :: 12 noon – 4pm

3015 10th Avenue South. Follow the “Pottery” signs to the back of the house to my basement studio. More information to come!

In the studio and out of the studio.

I know it has been a while (too long…) since I’ve posted here. I have been busily working away in my studio and spending time with my family. Life has been good. But something had to give, and it was the blog this time. I’ve been overwhelmed with blog updates that are only in my head, and way overdue updates to my website. So I’ve just been hiding from it all. That’s the best way to deal with things, right?

Anyway…back to the pots for a moment! Here is a favorite pair of mugs from an earlier firing.

Emily Murphy Porcelain Pottery_mugs_yellow_circles
Creamy yellow mugs with interwoven circles by Emily Murphy pottery. Glaze fired to cone 10, decal firing.

Since I’m gearing up for a busy holiday season, I just finished several back to back glaze firings and decal firings.  I’ve been photographing, sanding, measuring and packing up pots and sending them out to various corners of the country. It’s definitely the busiest time of the year for me, and most potters!

And for a non-studio update… This fall I got myself a new sewing machine and decided I should break it in by making some super fun Halloween costumes for my daughter, Ada and nephew, Shiya. I tried to have this post up the day before Halloween, but ended up having to do a big blog overhaul to fix a bunch of things that was causing problems.  Luckily it is almost all fixed and working again!

Both Ada and Shiya picked out the themes of their costumes. I present to you: Ada Rainbow (as she called herself!) and Shiya the Most Awesome Viking Warrior ever (also his self appointed name). I love how Ada was mimicking Shiya’s fierce look.  Does that make her a fierce rainbow?

Fierce Rainbow and Viking Pottery Blog

The rainbow is all felt. It’s a mirror front to back.  We found oodles of images online and I made up my own pattern to fit Ada. It’s basically an a-line dress with straps.  And I found a long sleeved red shirt at the 2nd hand store.  The awesome rainbow hat was one that we already had from Zulily.

The cutest rainbow costume ever Emily Murphy Pottery Blog

Shiya’s viking costume was super fun and came together really easily.  We live near the Midtown Global Market where there is a little Swedish/ Scandinavian shop that always has viking helmets! I got a nice neutral shirt and sweater from a 2nd hand shop.  He already had a pair of brown pants.  The rest are layers of fur, felt and leather.  I found some really cool bronze buttons to attach his fur cape together. My favorite part is the fur wrapped boots.  I just wrapped the fake fur around his boots and wrapped some leather cording to secure it on.  Such an awesome look… I might need to steal it for my own boots! Same thing was done around his arms.  Anyway, it was the perfect Minnesota Halloween costume.  Nice and warm!  
Homemade Viking Costume

And while we’re on the topic of handmade costumes… Last year Ian and I made the kids’ costumes together.  They were both owls.  Really adorable owls.

owl costumes at the petting zoo

Ada the owl… She’s grown so much this past year! And yes, those are owl sneakers on her feet! 
homemade owl costume Emily Murphy Pottery Blog

We made our own owl faces  with felt onto fleece hats.  And used lots of different patterned fabrics to make up all of the feathers… so many feathers! 
DIY Owl costume Emily Murphy Pottery Blog
When I was a kid, we always made our Halloween costumes (except for 2nd grade when I really really wanted a store bought Strawberry Shortcake). I think it instills a love and excitement for handmade things at an early age. 

Ok, back to the pots….Here are some photos from my earlier firings.  I realized that I never posted these! Some of these will soon be up in my Etsy shop or  are already on their way to a gallery near you!

Emily Murphy Porcelain Pottery_oval_vases

Emily Murphy Porcelain Pottery_squared_platter_with_circles

Emily Murphy Porcelain Pottery_honey_pot_bees 

Emily Murphy Porcelain Pottery_square_platter_with_dandelion

So that should catch you up just a little bit as to where I’ve been during my absence from this blog! And even though I haven’t been blogging, I do keep my Emily Murphy Pottery Facebook page pretty up to date! It’s a little easier to post a photo as I’m working. I’ll be posting more soon now that my technical difficulties are mostly resolved.  Hope all has been well in your corner of the world.

how-to: make your own colorful t-shirt with freezer paper stencils

I’ve been busy in the studio this week. Packing up and shipping pots from my Etsy Shop (still having my $5 shipping sale!). Throwing mugs to replenish my very depleted mug inventory. Having some really interesting conversations on my Facebook page (like this one about flocculating glazes). And rescuing my mailing list from my old computer that hadn’t been on for several years and transferring it to MailChimp.  It sounds productive when I write it all out- but day to day, I have been feeling very unproductive. Ada has not been the best napper this week which has majorly cut into my studio time. But it’s ok. I’ve met my biggest deadlines for the season, so I’m not stressing too much my less than productive work time at the moment.

__________________________________

I wanted to share a project I did with my nephew, Shiya, for his 5th birthday last month. I found a tutorial via Pinterest for making an “All by Myself Tee” from the blog i am momma hear me ROAR. Shiya is *really* into colorful clothes right now. And when I say he’s into color, I mean serious, head to toe, saturated color. He prefers to wear all one color – which means his socks, underwear, shirt and pants are all the same color. He takes his personal style very seriously. When I found this tutorial, I thought it would be a really fun way of celebrating his birthday and adding some more vivid color to his wardrobe.

Materials:

  • t-shirt(s). I wanted long sleeve because it’s winter here in Minnesota! I got these from Amazon.
  • freezer paper. I used these printable sheets. You could probably get them in a craft/sewing store. You can also just use a roll of freezer paper. I have heard that Walmart carries it but Target does not.
  • fabric paint. I used these paints. But you could use pretty much any fabric paint- but I would not use puffy paint.
  • X-Acto knife. Just a standard craft knife. Make sure you have a new/ sharp blade!
  • cutting mat. I’m sure you could make due with a kitchen cutting board or a piece of cardboard. But if you’re doing a more intricate design, a cutting mat would make the process go much more smoothly.
  • an iron. This is for heat setting the fabric paint and for getting the freezer paper to adhere to the fabric.
  • brushes. Anything will do – foam ones are nice. I have these brushes and the different shapes are nice for making patterns. But you could also make your own by cutting standard foam brushes. The brushes, like most of the supplies on this list can be used over and over again for other projects.
  • cardboard. This is to put inside the shirt so the paint doesn’t bleed through to the back of the shirt.
I printed out my images onto the freezer sheets. For the number 5 shirt, I used Google Drive (formerly Google Docs) and picked a font and sized it up to fit the page/shirt. I had the images for the other shirts. But if you’re in need of an image- just look up something like “stencil” on Google Images and you’ll find things like this image of a bicycle that you could print out. Or you could hand draw something- or trace an image. If you want to make a stencil from a photograph, you can do a Google search for tutorials for making stencils with or without Photoshop. The image part is wide open!

Once you have your image on the freezer paper, you can start cutting! I tried using my X-Acto with whatever blade was in it and it did not work very well. I put in a new blade in and it was much easier.

After the stencils were all cut, I used an iron to adhere the freezer paper to the shirts. Make sure there is no water in the iron. And take your time to make sure all the small parts and edges are well stuck. If it isn’t, the paint will bleed under the stencil.

Then I got some cardboard from the recycling bin and put some cardboard inside the shirt so the paint doesn’t bleed from the front to the back.

And then it’s time for the fun part! Shiya dove in and started painting.  Every picture I took during this step of the project, Shiya had a look of intense concentration.

Once the paint was dry (which was pretty quick)- I peeled off the freezer paper stencil. Shiya was really really anxious to see the results!
Here’s the frog:

And the rocket ship:

And the really fun hedgehog:

And the very special #5 shirt! Shiya was very proud!

I let the fabric paint completely dry, then I used an iron to set the paint. I put a piece of cloth between the iron and the paint. You can also iron on the reverse side of the paint. I didn’t have any paint come off on the fabric, but it still seems like a good idea. Follow the directions that came with your paint for heat setting. It seems like a pretty common process to have the iron (without water) set to medium, and then iron for a while (longer than if you were just getting the wrinkles out). After that it was safe to put through the wash.

These shirts have been getting lots of wear since we made them last month! And he gets asked about them whenever he wears them- and he proudly says that he painted them!

Sending pots out into the world!

I love making pots. I make them so they will be used. I don’t want them to sit on a shelf- whether it’s in my studio, a shop or gallery. I want them to find homes. I hope to have one of my mugs be your favorite.  The one that you have to wash even though every other mug in the cupboard is clean because that’s the one you have to have your coffee from. To have one of my bowls be your morning oatmeal bowl. I would be honored if you had a slice of birthday cake off of one of my plates. Or if you washed your hands daily with soap from one of my soap dispensers.

Here are a few places that you can find my pots!

My brother, Jeff, and his wife, Eliza own an awesome coffee shop/ cafe on Main Street in Keene, New Hampshire (our hometown), Brewbakers. They roast their own coffee, have amazing soups, sandwiches and baked goods. They have live music, art exhibits and a great vibe. And now they have mugs for sale that I made! One side has the Brewbakers logo, and the other side has a word such as: percolate, energize, caffeine… No two are the same!

For the next month, my father, Jim Murphy, and I will be featured artists at Vermont Artisan Designs on Main Street in Brattleboro, Vermont. It’s a really wonderful gallery that I have frequented over the years and I am so happy to be part of. Tonight, Friday, Dec 7th, is their gallery walk.

I am really excited to be part of Lillstreet Art Center’s holiday show, Let There be Light, once again this year! Lillstreet was where my studio and where I taught for 10 years. I always feel like I’m sending my pots home when I ship them to Lillstreet. It’s always a wonderful place to shop during the holidays- in the artists’ studios on the 2nd and 3rd floors and in the gallery!

Last weekend’s studio sale was a great success! I really do love opening up my studio and spending the weekend seeing old friends and meeting new ones. I even got to meet quite a few folks who read my blog- but I hadn’t met before. That was such a treat! I will definitely be having a spring studio sale!

If you’re not in one of the places I listed above, you can get some great pots! Below are just a few of the pots that you’ll find in my Etsy shop! I’m having a $5 shipping sale right now! I’m stocked up with boxes and bubble wrap and ready to ship!


In between shipping pots this weekend and playing in the snow that is forecasted… I’m hoping to get my hands back in wet clay! Enjoy your weekend too!