Handmade plates with kid made drawings.

custom_kid_plates

For my daughter Ada’s birthday, she asked to do a pottery project as part of her 5th birthday celebration.  We brainstormed ideas for a while.  We weren’t going to be able to do a hands on / wet clay project this year.  So we decided to do kid drawings on plates.

I made a 7″ circle on paper as their template for their plate designs.  They had pencils, thick Sharpies and thin Sharpies and all dove into drawing quite quickly.  I love the confidence and lack of inhibitions they had when they did their drawings.  I know at some point in time, most kids become more self conscious with their art. I’m trying to preserve that confidence that my kids have for as long as possible.  I turned the images into decals and applied them to the plates  and fired them onto plates glazed in the colors that the kids picked out.

Ada's 5th birthday

 

They turned out great.  It was a fun collaboration with Ada and her friends. I love that there is a big group of kids eating their meals off of handmade plates that they decorated!

Here is the collection of each of the kids’ finished plates.  You can click on any of them to see them larger.

A few little notes:

  • Don’t forget, you can get kid sized dishes  as well as many other pots in my Etsy Shop. I’ve been busy are restocking it several times a week with new pots!
  • Be sure to check out Pots in Action on Instagram this week.  I’m guest hosting with the theme #PIAurban.
  • Follow me on Facebook and Instagram for regular updates!

    Emily Murphy Pottery porcelain mug

I’m guest hosting Pots in Action this week!

I’m honored and excited to be guest hosting this week’s Pots in Action challenge, #PIAurban.

#PIAurban

Ayumi Horie started the @potsinaction Instagram feed over a year ago. I’ve been a fan of Ayumi’s work for years.  Both her pots and also her approach to sharing clay in the world – both online and in the community.  Innovative videos like this and this.  And exciting projects like Portland Brick. Not to mention activism such as Handmade for Japan. Years ago, she started a collection of photos on her website of her pottery being used by their owners/ collectors submitted by those using them. She entitled this project, Pots in Action.

In part, I’m a potter because I see pots as having the incredible privilege of being part of people’s private, everyday lives. Because of this intimacy, we let our guard down around pots, allowing them to convey ideas about aesthetics, function, and social issues. Through repeated use, pots can create habit and be comforting, creating memory for those using the pots. They are objects of service and conduits between people.

These pots are independent of me; they are finding their own way and accumulating histories with various people, in various homes, in various places around the world. Many thanks to all those who use my pots and contributed to this project. Keep the pictures coming.

Her “Pots in Action” project grew and developed and took on another form with the Instagram feed, @potsinaction.  It is not limited to her work.  It is open to anyone’s work.  Each week there is a guest host who chooses a theme (with Ayumi’s help and guidance) to challenge followers. From PIA’s Facebook page:

Pots In Action is a crowdsourcing project that collects and features the best images of handmade pottery in use by potters and ceramic appreciators all over the world. Some are candid, others are posed; what they have in common is taking the pot off the shelf and putting it to work in the kitchen, out of the kitchen, wherever pots can be found…. Part of our mission is to help potters and lovers of ceramics to take better photographs. We want to help people make images that are as compelling and exciting as the work itself.

This week’s challenge, #PIAurban, debuted tonight with this write-up shared by Ayumi:

Before most potters even had websites, Emily Murphy (@potteryblog) was blogging about ceramics. This week, she tours cities for us with #PIAurban. After studying ceramics and metalsmithing at Earlham College, she spent 10 years in Chicago at Lillstreet where she taught and had a studio. She’s now based in Minneapolis where she’s made the switch to soda-fired stoneware to cone 10 porcelain. Being true to the material and firing continues to be at the heart of her work.

Emily writes, “I’m fascinated by pots, potters, studios and kilns in cities. When I first started making pots, the image of the potter that was impressed upon me was that of the country potter. Further education was through apprenticeship until you were ready to set up your own shop on your own piece of land and continue the tradition of the country potter. In the city, expensive real estate, zoning laws, close neighbors and a fast pace aren’t necessarily conducive to making ceramic objects, but because of those constraints, interesting solutions often evolve. With this week’s #PIAchallenge, I’m interested to see the influence of the city on the maker. How does the density of an urban setting encourage collaboration and shared spaces and equipment? How does the space in a city influence the scale of ceramic objects? What are the ways that the approach to clay is similar or different to a rural potter? Are there any urban potters using locally sourced clay? What’s happening with clay in the urban environment that isn’t happening elsewhere? Who is thriving BECAUSE they are in a city? What’s happening with clay in urban centers, internationally? It’s been inspiring to research the city side of clay with #PIAUrban and I’m excited to see how others interpret and respond to this theme.” A round of 👏👏👏 for Sarah Archer @sarcherize for#PIAadoptedcountry! –@ayumihorie

#PIAguesthostEmilyMurphy #emilymurphy #urbanpotter#urbanpottery #cityceramics #minneapolis #mpls #minnesotapottery #potterystudio #pottery#ceramics #keramik #陶器 #céramique #cerámica #陶瓷 #도기류 #도예 #keramikk #craft#contemporarycraft #handmade #potsinaction

I hope you’ll follow along this week and share some images with the hashtag #PIAurban! I’m really excited to see what folks share and how the interpret this week’s theme!

Pots in Action on Instagram

Lastly, my intermittent blogging is about to be more regular now.  I have lots of posts in progress! Watch out for the updates!

2015 Holiday Gift Guide

If you’re like me, you pride yourself in finding the perfect gift for your friends and family! You’re on a quest to find something that is both unique and a great match for their personality and interests and sometimes that’s really hard!  I’m here to help you make a match!

My Etsy shop is well stocked for all of your holiday gift needs.  Use coupon code: STAR2015 for 20% off of your purchase. Please note: all orders placed between Dec 3-12 will be shipped on Dec 14-15.  Orders on other dates will ship, as usual, in 1-3 business days.  

Here are a roundup of ideas if you’re stumped on what to get some folks on your holiday list!


For your favorite knitter:
This mug has a rich surface both visually and physically.  The dots feel great in your hands when you’re cupping the bottom of this mug. Available in my Etsy shop and at Lillstreet Gallery in Chicago.  Emily Murphy Pottery knit mug


For households with (or without!) kids:
These foaming soap dispensers are great for anyone who uses soap (which is everyone!), and they are especially great for households with kids.  The foam is really easy for them to spread on their hands, and the heft of the dispenser means it’ll stay put and not get knocked over easily.  I also have a selection of non-foaming dispensers in my shop. Both are available at Gallery 360 in Minneapolis.Emily Murphy Pottery porcelain foam soap dispensers


For folks with kids or with pets:
Travel mugs / lidded cups are great when you have little beings (kids or furry friends) running around and running the risk of knocking over your precious, and much needed cup of coffee.  These lids will help minimize the spillage and keep your drink hot! They can be used with or without the lid and are microwave/ dishwasher safe.  They come in a variety of sizes of styles/ sizes/ shapes. Emily Murphy Pottery porcelain travel mug


For those on the go:
These travel tumblers with silicone lids are perfect for that special someone who is always on the go- commuting to work, heading off to a pottery class or hanging out in the back yard and want to keep the bees out of their beverage! They come in a rainbow of colors and the texture of the dots keep this handle-less mug from slipping in your hand.Emily Murphy Pottery porcelain travel tumblers


For the special kid in your life:
Kids love using real pots and I love making special pots just for them!  As adults, we try to limit the exposure kids have to plastic and what is a better alternative to our plastic saturated world than one of a kind, handmade porcelain mugs!  These mini-mugs sell out quickly and I’m continually making more, so be sure to check back regularly for more colors and designs!
Emily Murphy Pottery kid sized cups


For your favorite gardener:
These vintage seed packet mugs are generous in size (they hold a whole pint!).  Fill the mug with a selection of actual packets of seeds or some hand tools  and help your favorite gardener dream of spring! 
IMG_1353


For a graphic designer:
This thrown and altered “cut and paste” plate is the perfect gift for the graphic designer in your life!
Emily Murphy Pottery porcelain squared plate


For the host(ess) with the mostess:
It can be hard to find a small, inexpensive AND handmade gift! You might need one for your kid’s teacher, for a host(ess), for a neighbor that brings in your mail when you’re away or to have on hand in case someone unexpectedly gives you a thoughtful gift and you want to have one to be able to reciprocate! These little dishes  are just $20 (plus 20% off that with coupon code STAR2015). They’re perfect for dipping dishes, spoon rest + teabag holder, jewelry holders or an infinite number of other uses! Chopsticks not included – but you could add a couple of pairs or a box of tea to make a sweet little gift! Emily Murphy Pottery dipping dishes


For the new homeowner (or apartment dweller):
My porcelain honey pots are the perfect gift for someone who has just moved into a new home.  Or maybe you know that they LOVE honey. Pair with a jar of local honey to make a thoughtful wedding gift or housewarming gift!
Emily Murphy Pottery porcelain honey pots with dots
Emily Murphy Pottery porcelain honey pots


For the coffee lover:
And of course the perfect gift for the coffee lover in your life is a handmade porcelain mug! Everyone has a preference for the perfect type of mug.  Some like a BIG mug.  Others like a smaller, americano sized cup.  Some prefer mugs with a narrow opening to keep their beverage extra hot.  And some like a mug with a tactile surface that they can feel while quietly enjoying their morning tea.

You can pair a handmade mug with a bag of your favorite coffee. Mine is Terra Nova which is my brother’s coffee roasting company located in Surry, NH.  You can buy some here
Emily Murphy Pottery curvy mugs
Emily Murphy Pottery americano cups

Or you can pair it with a print of this this and include it with their new mug.  I include the ounces that each cup holds in the descriptions in my Etsy shop so if you know someone’s favorite beverage, you can use this chart to be sure you’re getting a mug that fits their favorite espresso drink (you just have to convert ML to OZ).
espresso


*Don’t forget that orders placed between Dec 3-12 will ship on Dec 14-15.  All other orders will ship in the usual 1-3 business days.  Plenty of time to arrive before Christmas!

Emily Murphy Pottery sale

Thank you so much for supporting me throughout the years! It brings me so much joy to be able to do what I love and send my pots out into the world!

If there is something that you’re wishing that you could find, but don’t see in my shop, just ask.  My full inventory is not listed online and I still have 1 decal firing to go before Christmas!

Imaginary blogger

In my head, I’ve been writing/ blogging all along. Months have not passed since my last post. Throughout the week, I compose many posts in my head.  But then when the kids are in bed, the dishes are done and I sit down at the end of the day, I realize that my brain is not running on full power and I just don’t have it in me to write.  Instead I tend to post on Instagram and Facebook. I can complete my thoughts in those formats and enjoy some instant conversations.  But I miss the longer format of blogging. And I’m going to work on getting into the habit again.  For now, some updates!

____________________

Even though I haven’t been blogging about it, I have been making pots steadily.  I have two little ones (1 and 4) but I have managed to arrange a pretty consistent schedule of making. I’m in the midst right now of a cycle of glazing/ firing/ decals/ firing.  My studio is a mess and I’m excited to see some new work coming through the kiln and wishing that I had just a little more time to follow through on new ideas that are flowing.  I need to clear out some space in my studio for my new work so I’m having a flash sale in my Etsy shop.  Until October 15th, you’ll get 30% off your whole purchase with coupon code: COFFEE30 (in honor of International Coffee Day too).  Mugs (regular and travel!), kid cups, soap dispensers (foam and regular!), vases, plates and platters.   Get ahead with your holiday shopping or get yourself a little something!

Emily Murphy Pottery Etsy
When I brought some mugs up to the backyard to photograph, my daughter was playing out there and really wanted to be in the photo.  So here she is, sampling one of her favorite kid sized cups!

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Although I do miss the more in depth discussions that happen on a blog, I have been having so much fun on Instagram.  This is a photo that someone sent me of a honey pot of mine they had given to their mom for Christmas and this is it filled with honey from her own hives! So exciting to see my pots being used like this.  Emily Murphy Porcelain honey pot local honey

____________________

I recently got to spend a fully immersed clay weekend at the Northern Clay Center at the American Pottery Festival (mark your calendars for the 2nd weekend of September for next year’s conference, seriously!!).  My head is still trying to process all of the amazing pots, inspiring talks and demonstrations and connections with friends new and old.  One of the pots that made it home with me was this awesome alphabet plate from Jason Bige Burnett.  Here is my youngest hanging out with it – alternating signing “eat” and  tapping on the plate.

Jason Burnett alphabet plate

At the American Pottery Festival, I had a great conversation with Mary Barringer about getting back into the habit of writing (as I referenced above). So here I go… getting my toes used to the water.

Macarons

I woke up from a dream this morning with the realization that my current glaze pallet is similar to that of colorful macarons.  Inspiration in retrospect? I’ve been thinking a lot about naming my glazes with better names.  In my studio they are named in a very utilitarian way: name of base glaze + colorant.  And for Etsy, I use descriptive words like “tomato red” and “creamy yellow.” I would like to come up with glaze names that are both descriptive and can stand alone.  If I start doing some custom orders,   I’ll want to have glaze chips where the color can be easily picked out.  So all of this was on my mind when I had this dream about macarons.

Colorful macarons:
colorful macarons

Some of my glazes:
collage of colors

So now I am thinking about food flavors as names of glazes: pistachio, tangerine, lavender, caramel, mango, lemon, red velvet, mint, raspberry, apricot, maple, gingerbread, pineapple…. to name a few.   I still have to ponder all of this, but I am thankful to my dream this morning for helping me think through this!


If you’re a maker, I highly suggest that you enroll in the e-course/ lecture series THINK BIG! by Molly Hatch and Ben Carter. I’m loving it and I’m feeling really energized by it! It’s a 6 week series, but you can start any time and progress at your own pace. Join us!

Trailer: THINK BIG! A branding series for ceramic artists from Molly Hatch on Vimeo.


I’m getting back into the world of blogging, but you can also always find me in these places:

Facebook:  https://www.facebook.com/emilymurphypottery
Etsy:  https://www.emilymurphy.etsy.com
Instagram: http://instagram.com/potteryblog
Pinterest:  http://www.pinterest.com/potteryblog/
Twitter: https://twitter.com/potteryblog
Website: http://emilymurphy.com/

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!