Category Archives: Emily Murphy

Pottery Clearance Sale!

As moving day draws closer, my studio gets a little emptier. I’m officially past the point where I could make any work. My wheels, tools and (most importantly) clay are all packed onto our first Pod. It feels very strange to be without a studio to work in. It’s been a long time since I’ve been without. The house renovations and getting ready for our move to Minneapolis is keeping me plenty busy, but I’m seriously missing making pots.

I’m excited about starting fresh with a whole new body of work from my new studio and (future) new kiln. So I’m selling off most of my inventory. I’m having one last (last minute) Moving Sale this Friday, June 5th from 4pm – 7pm. Everything is at least 50% off. Much of it is marked down even further. I’m finding new gems as I clear off my shelves during the packing process.  If you’re in Chicago, swing by on Friday  after work and say hello and maybe pick up a pot or two. One for yourself and one for that wedding you’re going to this summer!

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The Details:

Moving Sale – Final Clearance
**everything must go!**

Emily Murphy’s Pottery Studio
Friday, June 5
4pm – 7pm

studio 205 west – Lillstreet Studios
Chicago, IL 60640

Studio Moving Sale!

As I mentioned in my last post, we’re going to be leaving Chicago and moving to Minneapolis soon. This also means moving my studio. Since I’ll be building a new kiln, I realized that I wanted to start fresh with a new body of work. I’ve been gathering up work from galleries, clearing off the back of shelves and getting ready to sell out. I’ll be glad to have a few less boxes to move and happy to give people a great deal.  
moving-sale1

The sale will be 2 days: Friday, April 24 from 5:00pm – 7:00pm and Saturday, April 25 from 10:00am – 6:00pm at my studio in Chicago

I will have a huge selection of pottery including soap dispensers, floor vases, mugs, teapots, and tumblers, to name a few. I will also have some gorgeous new ceramic and silk necklaces for sale. Throughout the next week I am going to using my blog to highlight some of the pieces that I’ll be selling like these pasta bowls from a shino dinnerware set.

emily_murphy_shino_plates

I am also selling stuff from my studio: 

  • aprons (fun vintage ones)
  • stools (short and tall)
  • pottery display stuff (bowl stands, dried grasses, bamboo platforms, place mats and tablecloths) 
  • art books (books on: photographing crafts, business of art, etc…) 
  • tables, shelving, metal rolling carts
  • bats, chucks, various pottery tools

All pots will be marked down at least 35%. Even the pieces that are already on sale will be marked down an additional 35%. And a special bonus will the a bin of $5 pots. Yes, you read that correctly. Those are guaranteed to move quickly! 

Have you been waiting to pick up some plates for yourself? Do you have a wedding to go to this summer? And don’t forget that Mother’s Day is only 3 weeks away! Plan ahead and get some great deals on handmade gifts or something for yourself. 

If you can’t make it on Friday or Saturday and would like to make arrangements to meet before or after, just send me an email and we’ll figure something out.

A new beginning

Minneapolis
Some of you might have noticed that I haven’t been posting lately. It’s not for lack of want… just a lack of time. Some big changes are in the works. Ian and I just bought a house and we’re moving to Minneapolis!

We were caught off guard by our own decision.  We’ve been in Chicago for 10 years and thought the windy city would be the place that we’d be for a very long time to come. But there were some things that we’ve dreamed of that we just couldn’t see happening in Chicago. I’ve had a vision for years that we’d buy a two flat or a three flat (duplex, triplex depending on where you live). We’d live on one floor, family or friends would live on the other(s) and there would be some shared living space. Of course, a big part of this dream is that I’d have a studio at home and a soda kiln that I can call my own. I’ve been renting studio space and running the soda program at Lillstreet for the last 9 years, but I’ve been aching for my own space for quite a while now. Due to the cost of housing in Chicago, it was feeling like our dreams could not be realized in this city.

Last Thanksgiving we were in Minneapolis visiting Ian’s family (he grew up in Minneapolis). His sister had just bought a house and started putting on some friendly pressure on us to move there. The discussion was fun but I kept dismissing the idea. I’m not really a fan of big change. On the drive home I had a ‘lightbulb’ moment. It occurred to me that if we moved there, we could realize this vision of our future that has been so clear for so many years. When I had the moment of realization that the picture was right but we had the city wrong, the decision was simple. We would have a piece of land to take care of. A place to build a kiln. My sister Nora and her two little boys are moving with us to complete the vision. Nora will be starting a PhD program at the University of Minnesota this fall which has been a part of her dream for years. 

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new-house

So this is our new home. Ian and I ignored the lack of heat in the middle of January and mint green walls throughout and fell in love with this building. It’s a duplex in the Powderhorn neighborhood in South Minneapolis. (Check out this amazing photo blog of the neighborhood: powderhorn365.com.) We’ll live on the 2nd floor, my sister and nephews will be on the first floor. We’ll have guest space and Ian’s office space in the attic and the basement will be my studio and a shared family room. My soda kiln will be built in the backyard. We’re hoping to get the majority of the work done by June so we can move up there and start building out the studio and settling in.

One of the things that we loved about the house was the garage out back (this picture below is a view from the 2nd floor porch). It’s actually a carriage barn from the mid-1800’s that pre-dates the house (which was built in 1927). For now we’ll be just fixing it up, but it has future studio potential. We definitely won’t be using it as a garage- but we have some interesting ideas for this interesting space.

the-barn

We’re doing a huge amount of demo and construction on the house. New plumbing, new window inserts, new furnaces and hot water heaters. The picture below is of one of the bathrooms. We “discovered” a window in each bathroom that had been hidden by the tub surround!

gutted-bathroom
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I love the location of  our house. It’s a block and a half from Powderhorn Park, a huge park that we’ll be spending a lot of time at! We caught the end of a cool Art Sled Festival last month. Minnesotans are not afraid of winter. One of my favorite things about the location of our new house is that it’s only 1/2 block from the Midtown Global Market. The photo below was taken from our front steps. Our block is a dead end so we have a nice quieter street, but it’s close to so much. The market has been an amazing resource throughout this project. Quick access to heat and plumbing during February as well as warm coffee and food has been invaluable! I’ve been using it as an office space during our time up there- using the free wireless and plentiful table space to spend the afternoon making phone calls and writing emails.

midtown-market-exterior

midtown-market-interior

If you’re in the Minneapolis area, send me an email and say hello! I can’t wait to start meeting potters up there. Or if you know of any references for builders, carpenters, landscapers, etc… please pass on any info that you have to me! We’re so happy to hire folks to work on the house that we have some sort of connection to. 

I’ll be posting updates on the projects (house, studio and kiln) in the coming months. For now I’m going to attempt to return to my life in Chicago. We’re not actually moving for a couple of months (June maybe?). The renovations have been totally consuming and my studio has been completely neglected. I’m heading to the studio now for the first time in a while. It’s time to start working on some tiles for our new kitchen…

My boxes and bubble wrap are being held hostage!

For the past 2 weeks, our basement stairs have been encased in super thick ice. There are some bad gutters on the back of our building that have created some enormous icicles and a crazy mess of ice on our back stairs and walkway. We’re basically unable to get down to our basement (you can see why from the photo of the basement stairs below).

icy-stairs

Yesterday was our warmest day in 2 weeks (we hit a balmy 39°) so I went out back to check out the ice to see if it was melting and I totally wiped out. On my way to the basement steps, I fell down our porch stairs (which were the ones that weren’t supposed to be slippery). Ouch!  Luckily I ended up without anything broken or sprained. Just bruised and sore. Ian managed to get down the basement steps to clear up the drain to hopefully keep the icy from getting much worse (and snap this picture) .

There are 2 problems with this situation.

1: We can’t get to the washer & dryer
2: I can’t get to my newly stocked stash of boxes and bubble wrap.

In anticipation of needing to ship a huge dinnerware set to California (and an upcoming move), I placed an order for a slew of boxes, bubble wrap and foam a couple of weeks ago. As usual, I stored it all in our basement (before the ice appeared). I usually try to use recycled packaging, but I did so much shipping over the holiday season, I had completely depleted my supplies. Now the ice is holding all of my shipping supplies hostage!  The fall down the steps that weren’t very icy has scared me off from trying to rescue my boxes and bubble wrap until there’s some major melting. Please send your warm thoughts to Chicago!

From my last soda firing

I put this most together last week but didn’t manage to post it before heading north for the weekend.

As I mentioned in my last post, I fired my first soda kiln of 2009 last Sunday.  I unloaded it on Wednesday between classes and managed to snap a couple of quick pictures in the process.  We’ve been having some crazy weather here in Chicago that has kept me from going back to my studio to spend some time with these pieces and to take more pictures. We’ve had back to back to back snow storms and it got cold enough for the thermometer to hit -15°F. That meant that I didn’t get back to the studio to take some decent pictures before heading out for a road trip, but I thought I’d share a quick sneak peak from the unloading.

I’m hoping that I can figure out a way to capture the surface of this piece.  It is full of little sparkly crystals. I’ve never had crystals develop over such a large area in this kiln before. Of course you can’t see them in this picture, but you can see the kiln wash splattered floor in the background!

platter

This is one of the espresso cups and saucers that I mentioned before.  This sweet little cup is maybe just under 3″ tall.  While I was unloading, I discovered that one of these saucers mysteriously made it into the kiln without any wadding… oops!

espresso-cup-saucer

I’m regretting that I didn’t take a pictures that had any sense of scale.  This teacup is much larger than the espresso cup above.

teacup-saucerThis firing was all part of a large dinnerware set from a wedding registry that I have been working on for my friends Beth and Lars.  Hopefully I’ll get some better photos of the set to share here soon.

Blog odds and ends

Perhaps a little more than usual, this week has been a bit of a balancing act between working in my studio and working on this blog.  I’ve been on a roll getting the new site for my blog up to where I want it to be (obsessed, some might say). But I’ve also been building up for a soda firing all week.  Surprisingly, I think I’ve actually been making good progress in both sides of my clay world.  I’m spending my Sunday firing the my first soda kiln of 2009.  There are some espresso cups and saucers that are at about 2200° I’m dying to see in a couple of days!

Today’s post is a bunch of odds and ends about blogging that I’ve been meaning to write about. Nothing big enough for it’s own post, so I threw them all together.

Exploring pottery blog(s):

  • pottery-blog-archivesTake a look at the visual archives (also located in the top tab labeled “Archives”).  When I was digging through the old posts and tagging and categorizing everything, I came across a lot of information that is pretty timeless.  I wanted to make these older posts really accessible to dig through and came up with this page.
  • Also take a look over at the sidebar categories  (located in the right hand column. I can’t give you a direct link, you’ll just have to look to the right side of any page). As I mentioned above, I spent a lot of time re-categorizing and  retagging all old posts so they’d be extra easy to search through and I created a parent/sub category system that I think should be pretty easy to dig through to find what you may (or may not be) looking for. This took a shocking amount of work, but now that the archives are done, I can move forward and just keep things properly categorized as I go so there won’t be such a big chunk of work moving forward.
  • Another new feature that can be found on the right sidebar is some shared posts from other bloggers from my Google Reader.  I have been in the habit (not always very consistently) of “starring” posts (a GR thing) that I want to look back at, share a link or maybe comment on.  I turned this into a list of posts that you can read on it’s very own page and even subscribe to.  Now that I have created this way to share, I’m planning on being a bit more consistent with marking posts that I want to share. If you want to share items from your blog reader to your friends and readers, this will help you get started on your own share page.
  • Even if you spent some time checking out my pottery blogroll last week, you should take a minute and check back.  Several new blogs have been added.  And if you’re interested in using Google Reader but feel like you need a little more help, you might find this interesting.

Commenting:

One of my goals (or resolutions if you prefer) with this blog and other clay blogs I read is to do more commenting and replying to comments.  It takes some time and energy, but it is a big part of blogging that I thoroughly enjoy.  I like the commenting/ reply system on WordPress better than Blogger and I think it’ll be easier for everyone (including myself) to continue the conversation on beyond the actual blog post. And I’ve been adding in a couple of features that improves upon the commenting system just a little bit more.

  • If you’ve been doing any commenting on my blog over the last week, you might have noticed the little pictures (gravatars) that are showing up by some of the comments:

gravatars

A gravatar is a globally recognized avatar. You can create your own little image and connect it with you email address(es) and it’ll automatically show up with your comment on this blog and on many others.  I really like the extra personal touch.  It becomes a little more like a conversation than just commenting.  It’s easy to make your own gravatar and it only takes a couple of minutes.

  • To help continue the post-post conversation: Each time you comment, you’ll see a little box that you’ll need to check so you can get an email when there are more comments and responses to the post that you just commented on.

Some things for bloggers and potential future bloggers:

  • Make your own little favicon for your site with this site and this plugin.  If you’re on my site, you’ll see a little tiny mug by the url. This little detail makes me very happy.
  • This plugin for WordPress will make a nice little excerpt and choice of thumbnails when you post your blog to Facebook, etc…  I’ve been really happy with this feature. My old blog would just have the URL, no image and no text which made it not very interesting to post something. Simple and spiffy.

And on a totally unrelated topic: You might remember an earlier post about Bison Trimming Tools.  I just got a tip from Jeanette Zeis that Bison Tools are now being sold through Etsy!bison-trimming-tools

It’s time for me to head back to the kiln and put the second round of soda in.  I’m enjoying the warmth from the kiln on a very chilly (and snowy) Chicago night.  Pictures of the new pots will come soon!

One Day Sale! 20% off Everything!

Last minute holiday shopping? Have you been thinking about getting a new mug for yourself? Do you need another serving bowl for Christmas dinner? Your procrastination has paid off.

I’m having a 1 day sale this Saturday, December 20 from 10am – 6pm in my studio in Chicago.  20% off everything (and that even includes the pieces that are already marked down).  There are even new pieces that I will be putting out on Saturday.

I think you’ll find a little something for everyone. There are mugs, tumblers, bowls in all sorts of shapes and sizes. Necklaces, soap dispensers and honey pots fill the shelves. I even have these great new spoon/ teabag holders that are the perfect stocking stuffer for that tea lover in your life. You can’t put off your holiday shopping much longer!

I’m working on a whole slew of new necklaces that I’m really excited about.  I might have to pick out a couple to keep for myself :)

The details:

Saturday, December 20, 2008
10am – 6pm
Studio 205 West
4401 N. Ravenswood Ave.
Chicago, IL
1 day only
20% off everything, including pieces that have already been marked down!
There is plenty of street parking which is not an easy thing on Chicago’s snow covered streets.  You can also find your way there with many public transportation options- like taking the Brown Line to the Montrose stop.
There are tons of other studios to shop in, as well as the gallery at Lillstreet.  And Montrose has a bunch of little shops and restaurants.  My favorite little gift shop, Hazel, is just down the street. You can make a day of it and get all your last minute shopping done by shopping local!

Finally! My Etsy shop has pieces in it!

I’ve had an Etsy shop for more than a year, but it’s been an empty store. No more. I’m starting to stock it with pendants, mugs and soap dispensers. New additions will be up daily over the next week.

I’d been putting this off for a long time. I kept waiting to have the perfect photo set up and a little more time. Then I realized that I should just jump in. Those things can come later. I’ll be posting new pieces in the coming days. I’ll keep you posted.

Happy Shopping!

A tour of my studio and new work for the holidays

The opening reception for my holiday sale (and throughout Lillstreet & Lillstreet Studios) is tonight, Dec. 5, from 6pm – 9pm. But if you miss the opening, you can stop by throughout the month of December. Or if you’re not in Chicago, you can take a tour here. As promised, here are some pictures of my studio and new work for my holiday show:

This is what you’ll see when you walk into my studio.

And this is me enjoying my sparkling clean studio. I’ll be back to the wheel on Monday, so the clean shelves and floors won’t last too long. Well, I’ll still be enjoying my studio, just not the cleanliness of it!

I have been making tons of soap/ lotion dispensers this season. I resisted making them for a long long time because I didn’t want to use plastic pumps. I finally found beautiful brushed stainless steel and brushed copper pumps and I’ve gone a little crazy with them!

This is a new wall display that I’ve set up outside my studio door. The shelves are bamboo shadow boxes and they’re quite fun to arrange little groupings in.

I have spent the last year making mugs. I LOVE designing and making them and the demand for them has been higher than ever. Mugs are so personal. Everyone’s idea of the *perfect* mug is different- so I make a wide variety of shapes and sizes. People are also quite opinionated about the interior glaze color. Some want something light so they can see how steeped their tea is. Others want something dark that will hide the coffee stains. There is a mug for everyone :)

I have been making more ceramic pendants. I’m more excited than ever about this newest series of necklaces. They are made out of a variety of clays, with different slips, glazes and textures that are enhanced by the soda firing process. They’re finished off with hand dyed silk that is knotted onto the pendants.

This is one of the serving bowls that you’ll see in my studio. Each side is totally different from the others. I feel like I should have put up a series of images to capture all the details.

You might remember this series of tea bowls that I have been making this year.
peace. hope. change.

These shallow bowl-plates are part of a dinnerware set that I’ve been working on. I love using this shape of plate at home for most meals. Some might call it a pasta bowl but at the Murphy-Bicking household we call them bowl-plates. They’re perfect for salads, stir fry or a good mid-western casserole.

In addition to finding my work on the 2nd floor of Lillstreet Studios, you can also find it at Lillstreet Gallery on the 1st floor as part of the Dinnerware Show. The show is beautiful. I’m happy to be sharing the table with Kristin Pavelka.

Happy Holidays!

Lillstreet Studios Holiday Show – 2008

I’ve been locked away in my studio this fall filling it with pots for the holiday show at my studio. Mugs, necklaces and bowls are stacked on the shelves.  Lots of smaller pieces that will make perfect gifts. 
This Friday, December 5, 2008, is the opening celebration at Lillstreet Studios in Chicago from 6pm – 9pm. You can find me in my studio on the 2nd floor on Friday and throughout the month of December. 

There are over 50 artists at Lillstreet making pots, tiles, jewelry and more.  It’s a unique place where you can shop directly from the artist’s studios as well as from the Gallery at Lillstreet. The opening of the show is on Friday from 6pm – 9pm, but the studios will be open throughout the month.  
There is plenty of parking and accessible by lots of public transportation (Montrose-Brown Line, Lawrence-Metra, Ravenswood-Montrose Bus, etc…). 
I’ll be posting a preview of my newest work over the next couple of days so watch out for the updates!