Category Archives: Emily Murphy

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!

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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

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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! 

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.”
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I have some soda and wood/soda fired pieces too!
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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!

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.

gratitudes

Even though I am perhaps a week later for this… I just felt the need to express how thankful I am feeling. For so many things… I really want to thank you for the outpouring of support that I felt after my last post about my nephew Ayrie. It can be so hard to put yourself out there so fully. But it was so wonderful to be received with warm, open arms by so many people. I am now getting several emails a day with folks sharing their stories of their journeys through their grief. So thank you. It’s so wonderful to be able to connect with folks all around the globe.

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This weekend (Nov 30 & Dec 1) will be the first time that I have opened up the door of my Minneapolis studio for a sale. You can get more info on my holiday sale  here and you can view the Facebook event here. It has really been fun and energizing to share the images of my new work, and setting up my studio (like this photo I posted of my wrapping/packing station that I posted on my FB business page – something that maybe only other potters would be excited about!). Before moving to Minneapolis, I had a studio at Lillstreet Art Center in Chicago where I had a whole community of potters and other artists right in the same building. It is so different having a studio at home. But having such a great community online through this blog and Facebook makes me feel like I’m still in a big building full of artists!  So in honor of your support and encouragement, I’m sharing this coupon for 20% off all full priced items this Friday and Saturday *in* studio only.  Just mention it when you’re checking out (no need to print it out).

If you’re trying to figure out how to balance holiday shopping with the kids this weekend… We have a play room in our basement next to my studio. We’ll have holiday movies on and lots of toys to play with where they can hang out. And kid-friendly snacks and drinks (as well as grown-up drinks and snacks too!). And there is a good chance that Shiya and/or Ada will be there hoping to play with some friends!

Here are some little dishes that I made just for this sale. (And had so much fun making!)  They are small (4.5″ – 5+” in diameter). Perfect for a small snack, a spoon rest, a place to put your tea bag or ball. Just the right size (and sturdy weight) for a kid. Or maybe you could toss the change in your pocket or your jewelry at the end of the day. An infinite number of uses…

And below is what the bottom looks like. I cut them off with a stretched out spring when I took them off the wheel. A nice, simple surprise on the bottom of the pots. By the way… I am dabbling in Instagram as you can see. Here’s my page– a mix of pottery and family.

One more note about the sale… My sister, Nora, is organizing a great project this holiday season – Gift Bags for Homeless Youth. We’re going to put together (at least!) 30 gift bags that we’ll give to the organization Face2Face to distribute to local homeless youth. I will have a box at the sale to collect items for donations- toiletries, gifts cards, etc… If you have anything you would like to donate, we’d love to have you be a part of this! More information can be found at the event page on FB.

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 I hope you have a wonderful weekend. Hopefully you can make it to a pottery sale or art fair this weekend no matter where you are. Or if you’re having one, best of luck! I think I am missing about a dozen here in the twin cities since I’ll be busy with mine! ‘Tis the season!

ayrie

This is a post I have literally written a half dozen times over the past two years.  It’s never seems to be good enough. I can never seem to fully express what I am feeling. I have finally realized that I just have to let that go…

Two years ago on September 29, 2010, my nephew, Ayrie, pass away unexpectedly at the age of four and a half. You might have read the post I wrote in March 2010, A New Sense of Normal where I shared his story. I cannot even begin to tell you how terrible that day was. And there were so many days, weeks and months that followed it that hurt even more than I ever thought was possible.

I have tried so many times over the past 2 years to write this post. There is something about putting your thoughts into writing that makes it real in a totally different way.  When I’ve tried to write this before I’ve always been stuck on describing the days before, of, and after Ayrie’s death – those are important days, important to me, but I don’t know how to talk about them yet.  They are too important to start with.  But I do want to talk about the years since.

You may or may not know me. This might be the first time that you’re reading my blog. I usually keep things pottery focused, but are things in my personal life that are too intertwined to separate out – they are too much a part of me and a part of my work. I needed to write this for me. I needed to put this into words for Ayrie. No matter how hard or how imperfect it would be. This experience is part of who I am and shapes every aspect of my life. My journey over the past two years has been long and will continue on for the rest of my life. I have never experienced grief like this before. A loss like this is not something that you get over. I don’t want to get over it. That would feel like forgetting. But I have tried to figure out how to get up each day and try to live them in a way that honors the spirit of Ayrie. I thought I would share some of what I have learned through my grieving process.

You will never regret the time that you spend with the people you love. During the darkest moments after Ayrie’s passing, I was able to hold onto the knowledge that I had made Ayrie a priority in my life. I spent so much time with him. Sharing a bowl of cereal in the morning, going out to eat at the “meatball store” (aka Ikea) or sitting together in my studio each of us with our own piece of clay. It doesn’t have to be a big deal. Just time together. I wish with all of my heart that we had more time together. But I am so grateful that I had as much time with him as I did. And I try to continue to live my life in this manner. Being with the ones that I love.

Grief and joy can coexist. This was a hard one for me. But I knew that it was something that I had to come to terms with quickly. I had to be present and in the moment for my nephew Shiya, Ayrie’s little brother. He needed to both learn how to cope with this loss of his brother – his idol – and also have a childhood that was as carefree and happy as it possibly could be. And I also knew that I was going be having a baby in 6 months – something that is a joyous, emotional rollercoaster anyway, and I had to figure out how to be happy and also be ok with being sad. I found that once I really embraced that grief and joy could coexist, I would find myself sharing a story, in tears… and then end up, by the end, laughing and remembering something silly that Ayrie had done. I had to really give myself permission to let these two seemingly opposite emotions coexist.

Every person grieves in a different way. No one way is better or worse than another. It’s just different and personal. If you don’t embrace this, it can push you apart from the people that you need most. My husband, Ian, and I have a duplex. We live on the upper floor and my sister and her boys lived on the 1st floor. (My sister has since bought the house next door to us.) Ayrie would refer to all of us as his “whole house family.” We all have grieved in our own way. And I think we have all done a really good job at honoring one another’s process of grieving. I have learned through grief counseling (which I’ll talk more about later) that often the conflict that arises within families about their differing ways of dealing with a loss can be what really pushes people apart. But we have consciously tried to respect each other’s journey. My sister has written a lot. She says that it really has flowed out of her, sometimes she just starts to write and release… rarely going back over what she has written because she is writing what she feels compelled to write. I found it harder than ever to write. But she found it easier than ever. I encourage you to read through her posts on her family blog.

You will discover a community of people to support you. But you have to be open to accepting it. This was an unexpected, wonderful thing. In the days after Ayrie passed, moms from Ayrie’s school show up to clean our house and comfort us. For many months, we had meals and groceries provided to us by friends and family. It was hard to function at any level, so it was truly wonderful to have such nourishment show up at our door. Flowers left at on the front steps. And so many cards, notes, texts and phone calls from friends, family and acquaintances and total strangers. I never thought that I would actually make friends during such a hard time.

It’s ok to ask for help. There is a point after a loss where the daily activities have to return to some sort of normal. Bills have to be paid, groceries have to be bought. Work needs to resume. But it was hard to do this. Ian and I started going to grief counseling at the Center for Grief, Loss and Transition. It became really important for me to have a time set aside to focus on Ayrie each week, no matter what. There was a moment where I just felt like I didn’t know what to do. I needed help. For me, it helped to go to counseling, but for others it could be something completely different. It took me quite awhile after I told myself that I needed help to say it out loud and ask for help when I felt like I just didn’t know what to do anymore. We have also gone to a couple of events at the Center. One was about dealing with loss during the holidays. We did a really wonderful activity that we have since shared with family and friends. We decoupaged tissue paper and rice papers onto glass candle holders, vases and votives. Of course I like something that involves making… it’s a really wonderful project because almost anyone can do it regardless of age or artistic ability. During the process of making, memories are shared while a new one is being created. And then at the end, candles can be lit while stories are shared. And then there you have a beautiful candle holder to bring home that will remind you of your loved one.

Reclaim the day for celebration and reflection. For two years now, on the anniversary of Ayrie’s passing, we have traveled to somewhere beautiful and far from home. Last year we traveled to Gold Hill, high up in the mountains above Boulder, Colorado. This year we went to Tucson, Arizona. We all knew that we wanted to be away from home. Away from the distractions, somewhere beautiful where we could give ourselves space to reflect and honor Ayrie. It’s become a really wonderful tradition. We found ourselves actually looking forward to the anniversary of his passing instead of dreading it. There was a point in time, not very long ago, that this was inconceivable. I know that Ayrie would love that we are having adventures and time together as an extended family. This is a tradition that we plan on doing every year.

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Ayrie was my buddy in my studio. He spent more time with me in my studio than anyone else.  It was really hard to go back in there and work after he died. It was so empty. So lonely. I would go down there and just cry.  Ian started going down there and sit with me to help me ease back in. It really helped. When I was finally ready to get my hands in clay again, I decided that I wanted to work on a project  with Ayrie. He had just finished up a book of dinosaur drawings with his class and was really into drawing Ankylosaurus.  His teachers gave us the book they made. I decided that I wanted to put his drawing on a series of cups. The cups were the first things I threw. But when it came to getting the images on the pots, I didn’t know how to actually do that. Well, I knew of the possible ways to do image transfer, but I didn’t technically know how to do them. So I set out on a mission to figure out the best way to do what I wanted to do, and learn that technique. That is how I started working with laser printed decals. 2 years after I first threw these cups inscribed on the bottom “for Ayrie with love,” I finally finished them. I loved working with his drawings. It felt like we got to spend a little more time together.

I wanted to share with you the artist statement that I wrote about this new body of work I have been making.

 

Emily Murphy
September  2012

Over the past three years, my life has turned upside down. I moved from Chicago, my home for 10 years to Minneapolis. Bought a condemned, abandoned duplex and completely renovated it, inside and out. Married my partner, Ian, after 14 years together. Built a studio in our new home. Switched from soda fired stoneware to cone 10 oxidized porcelain. Then two years ago this month my deepest fear happened. We lost our nephew, Ayrie, at the age of four and a half. A loss that has left me forever heartbroken. At the time I was 3 months pregnant. I had to learn how to navigate through my grief and my joy.  In April of 2011, we welcomed our daughter Ada into our world.

For the 10 years before moving to Minneapolis, I honed my skills and aesthetic in soda firing, developing a strong body of work. I felt very comfortable making the pots I was making, yet still felt like I was always pushing myself to the next level. Then suddenly, everything was different. I was faced with pristine studio, a pallet of porcelain and a shiny new kiln. And I didn’t know where to start. So I went back to the beginning. First thing that I did was remove any deadline for my work. I temporarily withdrew from galleries; turned down any orders and turned inward. For many reasons, I cut myself off from the outside world and I started throwing. Strong, simple forms that will stand on their own, no matter what the surface treatment, glaze or firing is. It’s important to me to be true to the material. My soda work was all about the clay, form and firing working together. Doing high fire porcelain I want to be as true to the material as possible. I didn’t want to try to mimic soda firing in an electric kiln. I wanted to take advantage of everything that porcelain has to offer. I started by making a couple hundred tea bowls. I kept away from the influence of “the market” by giving them all away.  Slowly, as I’ve gotten to an exciting and comfortable place with my new body of work, I’m creeping back into the world of clay outside of my studio.

The changes in my life have spanned the range from the best things that have happened to me, to the unimaginable. It would have been easy to fall back into the routine of pots that I had been making over the previous decade. It would have been comfortable and comforting. But I’m not the same person that I was three years ago. And if I am being true to myself with my work, the pots can’t be the same. This new body of work reflects where I am in my life now. And it will continue to evolve and change as I do.

Thank you so much for reading. It means a lot to me.