Category Archives: Updates

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.

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.

rejuvenated

I’ve been out of the blogging loop for a few weeks now. We were on vacation visiting lots of family out east (photo at the bottom of this post).  Even though I haven’t been blogging, I have a long list of posts in my head waiting to come out: review of  the RZ respirator mask; my homemade spray booth; my photography set-up; follow-up on my sink trap, using Pinterest, venturing into decals… just to name a few.

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My mind feels a bit scattered with all the different things I’ve been working on- but in a good way ;).   I’m almost done with the revamping of my studio display. My shelves have been refinished to better go with my new body of work. Originally I had stained the Ikea Ivar shelves a warm reddish-brown. It was a nice and warm stain that went with my soda-fired stoneware.  It just didn’t really work with the porcelain. I wanted to really make the work pop. Plus, it had been 10 years since I had originally stained them so it was time for a change. And I love how they turned out!

I don’t have a ton of space for “permanent” display, but I’ve taken advantage of an extra wide hall leading into my studio. I still have some more work do do to finish it up and add some more display space, but I’m off to a good start. I  am hoping to have people stop by to shop and visit more often than I have previously in this space. At my studio in Chicago at Lillstreet, there was a constant stream of people so it’s a been an adjustment to having a home studio! I’m glad that I stopped neglecting my studio display. It makes me extra happy when I go down to my studio now.

 

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I finally started glazing  yesterday. I’d let the bisque build up for a while. Now my studio is transitioned into glazing mode. I’m already giddy to see the results. It’s been so long since I have fired a glaze kiln- I’m really excited to have some fresh work! I have a couple of shows coming up, as well as some orders. And I am starting to work with some decals (more on that in a future post!). I was reminded yesterday how much I love my homemade spray booth – and I realized that I haven’t actually shared it on my blog yet. Again, that’ll be another post. (I told you I was scattered… didn’t I?)

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This next part will *also* eventually be its own post. But I just wanted to mention another project that I am working on. I am hoping to start a parent group/ play group for moms and dads who are potters (or other makers) and have young kids. It’ll be in the Minneapolis area, of course. I’m lucky enough to live in a clay/pottery/ceramics rich area that we can form a group like this!  I’ll get more into it later and share the MeetUp group when I actually create it. But I just wanted to start putting out the word and see if anyone else is interested. I have a couple of moms who have expressed interest with kids ranging from 3 months – 4 years old.  I’d love to have some dads join in too.  I’m envisioning meeting up during the day and doing the usual playgroup stuff like meeting up at a park. But I hope that the group with grow and evolve.  Also- I need a name for the group! Pots and tots? Wheels and squeals? Other ideas? It needs to be descriptive and catchy since it’ll be listed with all of the other “mom group” type listings on meet-up. And if you have any other thoughts, ideas or experiences you’d like to share, I’d love to hear them!

(Note: my daughter Ada is not a pottery prodigy…. yet. Just playing around on the wheel with a piece I threw for her amusement.) 

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I will end this post with this family photo taken earlier this month in the Shawangunk Mountains in New York. We had a great time visiting both sides of our family. Spent time at the ocean, hiking in the mountains, going to a island wedding in Maine and lots of time relaxing, reading and exploring. It definitely left me feeling rejuvenated and excited to jump back in!

I hope you got some time out of the studio, office or house this summer too! Now it’s back to the studio for me!

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the not so long lost blogger

It’s been a while since I’ve written a blog post. Nearly two years, to be exact. It’s funny, because even though it’s been that long, I still consider myself a blogger. I finally decided that I should just dive back in and write. I’ll fill in some of the blanks now, but some of them later. If I tried to fit 2 years into a single post, it just wouldn’t happen. Actually, that has been part of the problem. So I will mostly go ahead as though my last post was just a few days ago. Thanks for still being around to read this.

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My time in my studio has been quite regular lately.  I haven’t been the most prolific potter (more on that later). I still feel like I’m finding my way in a new world (porcelain…oxidation…electric kiln…new glazes…). But I am also loving the feeling like everything I do is a choice. There are no default answers. I’m trying to really let myself be in that moment for a while.

Mostly I have been on the wheel, but I have been venturing off a bit lately to do some handbuilding. I’ve been trying to keep the timing of things pretty reasonable, not throwing more than I can trim/handle/decorate in a timely manner. Sometimes the pace of handbuilding fits right into that schedule.

I can’t seem to make too many mugs. I can make mugs for months and still manage to not have any in stock. So I make more…. I am not complaining at all. I absolutely love mugs. Making them and using them.

I seem to be stockpiling bisque right now. When it’s time to glaze, I really take over my whole studio (who doesn’t?). So I decided that for this round I will have enough for 2-3 glaze kilns full of work. I am also working on some decals for some of my pieces. So when the time comes for that, I can focus my energy there.

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I know that one of the reasons why I still feel like a blogger is because of Facebook. I have been keeping up my Emily Murphy Facebook page pretty regularly with updates, photos and sharing things that I think you might find interesting. And it’s been a great way to have a dialog with other potters, bloggers and lovers of clay. I have really appreciated this outlet over the past few years. Facebook has been making changes lately to try to get people with professional pages like this to pay to have our content reach more than a handful of people. I know that I can’t see myself being able to pay for that, so I’m hoping that you’ll try to work around the system a bit. There are a couple of ways that you can make sure that you’re getting updates from pages like mine. One is that when you “like” a page, you have to make sure that it also has the “show in News Feed” setting (see image below)

The other way is to interact with the page. The more you “like” or comment on something, the more likely it is going to show up in your newsfeed. And a bonus is that it makes things more fun for everyone! Part of what prompted me to resume blogging is because this reminded me that blogging is a better way to make sure you’re reaching people who want to be reached. And for having content that is archived and searchable. For me… for now… there isn’t going to be one outlet or the other. I’m going to keep blogging and keep updating things on Facebook. And I hope that you’ll come with!

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And on a personal note…

This is my daughter, Ada. She was born on April 9, 2011 and has been the most amazing distraction from writing, making pots… sleeping.  (although now she is a champion sleeper, hence the time back in the studio and on the computer…)

Is it ok if I add one more?

Me and my girl

 

New cups, and updates in the clay blogging world

Here are some cups that I’ve been working on…

This is just a little peak at what I’ve been working on. I am making a bunch of tea bowls that will be given as gifts/favors at our wedding celebration this summer. It’s fun to think about these pieces going out to our families and friends all toasting out of these cups, then bringing them home as reminders of the celebration. Ian’s been having fun decorating some of the cups too.  If I could just give away all the pieces that I make, I would be a very happy potter! But it’s not such a great business model… But I’m so happy to have the excuse to give a slew of pots away this summer!

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Here are some more updates, and things that I’ve been thinking about lately…

I was lucky enough to be invited to join in on the first firing of Donovan Palmquist and Colleen Riley’s new wood kiln this weekend. Below are some of the pots that I had in the firing. I’ll share with you the finished pieces when they’re out of the kiln! It’s really amazing to be in Minnesota. There are so many amazing potters here- and I’m having so much fun meeting new clay folks every week!

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There’s a new blogger around. Actually, there are quite a few!  But I wanted to share with you Marcia Tani Paul’s new blog, Ceramic Arts: Clay, Food and More… Marcia is one of the many Minnesota potters that I’ve been lucky to meet. Take a look, and be prepared to be hungry!

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Congratulations to Michael Kline and his 1000th post on his blog, Sawdust and Dirt! Talk about prolific! Michael’s been such a great contributor to the clay blogging community- I’m looking forward to the next 1000 posts!

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I’ve been making a ton of cups in my studio over the past couple of months. You might have seen some of them in my last blog post. In the middle of cup making expedition, this Sequoia Miller wrote this great blog post about cups. It was a very timely read. This sweet jar of Sequoia’s is a cousin to one of his jars that I’m lucky to have in my collection.

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Since I’m talking about blogs…

As you know, I have a big list of clay blogs that I subscribe to and enjoy reading while eating my steel cut oats every morning. I want to ask for a bit of help from you guys out there. Let me know if there are any blogs missing, and also if there are any that are defunct on my list. It’s time for an update! Just leave a comment below, or a note on my Facebook Fan Page, or send me an email. If you’re interested in setting up a blog reader with clay blogs to read over your morning coffee, I have directions on how to do it on my blogroll.

A couple of reminder notes about my list. I have to keep the list limited in some way- so I only include clay blogs, and mostly pottery blogs at that. And I try to limit them to ones that have mostly clay content. And it needs to have original content- not only Etsy listings or sale updates.

If you want a really complete list of blogs, check out the really complete list over at Slipcast, The Ceramics Blog.  It’s impressive!

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I have some more things I’ve been wanted to share with all of you, but I think I’ll call it tonight and write another post tomorrow. Until then…

Studio work table

The last table for my studio was finished this week. It can be wheeled back and forth between the glaze room and the throwing room depending on what I’m working on. I designed it with a fairly large overhang so it’s comfortable to work at. I hate sitting at studio tables when you can’t really sit at it with your legs under the table. Storage is good, but not at the expense of a comfortable working space.

The top of the table is covered in canvas. If you’ve never stretched canvas before, here’s a little tutorial on how to do it.  It’s something that I learned how to do from my dad, who is a painter. It’s basically the same process of stretching a canvas for painting, but on a solid surface, like plywood. If it’s not stretched right, it will be really annoying to work on. One thing that I do that’s a little different from the paint canvas technique is I wet the canvas down with a sponge. It makes it a little easier to stretch and you’ll end up with a tighter fit. I usually buy my canvas at an art supply store, but during one of the discussions on Facebook, someone suggested getting a canvas drop cloth from the painting department at Home Depot. It has a coarser texture, but a good price if the size works for you. It’s an interesting idea.

pottery-studio-table

When I was shopping around for really good locking casters for the table, Kristin Kieffer suggested that I get casters from Caster City. So I ordered up 4 for the table and they’re great! When you’re shopping around for casters for a table like this, make sure you get dual locking casters. It’s really solid enough that you can wedge on it.

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You might have seen my post last week about my built in trimming splash pan. I asked for photos or links to other DIY splash pans and Ben Stark shared a post with me that he had written a while back. So here’s another splash pan idea, courtesy of Ben Stark Pottery:

ben-stark

Make sure you look at the original post. The way he designed it to be removable and slide on and off the wheel is pretty genius! If you have any projects that you’ve done at your studio, send me photos or links! I love this stuff! Just send an email to: emily (at) emilymurphy.com or post a comment on any blog post and I’ll see it. Thanks for sharing Ben!

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The next project that I’m working on (and will be blogging about shortly) is a new photo taking set-up. I’m really excited about it- and excited to share it. In the age of digital cameras and Etsy, it’s something that we all want to have. I’ve been designing my set up for years, but never had a good place to actually build it. When I took an informal poll f potters about what they wished they had in their studio that they didn’t have, a photo taking set-up was top on the list. Part of the light diffuser that I built is made out of PVC. Last week Miri, over at Nick and Miri’s PR Prattle had some fun ideas about PVC including this get dolly for kiln shelves (photo below). The Rincon Facebook Fan Page had some more ideas too. I love the description of PVC being tinker toys for adults.  ha!

kiln-shelf-storage1

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A couple of weeks ago, I was catching up with some shows on Tivo, and something caught my eye. It looked like the character, Angela, on the show Bones, was wearing one of my pendants. I have no idea if it really is, but when I look at it, my reaction is: Hey! That’s one of mine!  It’s a simple design that is not unusual, but the coloration and the knotting of it makes me feel like there is no question. If it is, it’s one of the larger sizes, stoneware with tile 6 slip, a very light spray of a copper glaze around the center. Anyway, it’s fun to think that one of my pieces ended up on a show that I love. A few years back I had some large bottles and platters in the show “Dream Home” on HGTV. A producer borrowed some pieces for the season finale. I wish I had some screen shots from that show!

After I finish my photo set-up, I’ll have some more pendants up on Etsy in the next couple of weeks. My shop’s been empty for a long time. Time to dust it off!

angela-bones

My new pottery studio, so far.

Thanks for the warm ‘welcome back’ and all the congratulations and well wishes! All the comments and messages make me feel like I’m at a reunion of good friends that I haven’t seen for a while! I’m full of warm fuzzies.

As promised, this post is all about my studio build out. A few months ago we finished the walls, ceilings, lighting and flooring in my studio, but more recently, we’ve been building out the space: customizing tables, shelves and storage to suit my needs. The project is still a work in progress, but you’ll get a sense of the space from the tour below. Enjoy!

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The tour starts off in the hallway that leads into my studio. The studio consists of 3 rooms: the first one is a “clean studio,” the next is the glazing/ chemical room and the last one is throwing and decorating room. The studio will be closed off by a pocket door (which is in process of being installed). The left side of the hall is a display area/ storage for finished pots.  I have some fun ideas for display that I’d like to do at some point, but it’s lowest on my list of priorities. For now, I’m using Ikea shelves from my show display. Straight ahead is where my electric kiln will go.

studio-entry

My “clean studio” is home my studio office. I’ll be using it mainly for doing photos and updating etsy, etc… Right ahead is my electric kiln area (around where the tool bucket is now). The walls have cement board on them (with an air space behind them) and the ceiling has 5/8th inch drywall.  The shelves you see to the right will be for work waiting to be fired, kiln shelves and furnitures, etc…  This room used to be a kitchen, and the tile floor are left over from it’s previous incarnation.

electric-kiln

Another view of my desk. I’m trying to set up an area that is well set up for photographing pots, listing them online and packing for shipping. I’ve never had a good space to do this before, so it always made it much more of a chore than it needed to be.  Across the room is a table for photographing work, as well as packing up boxes. I had conversations with a ton of potters as I was designing my space and I asked “what is the one thing that you wish you had in your studio” and everyone’s answer was to have a better space for photographing and packing up pots.

studio-office

This next photo will get more of an explanation in a future post. This is the start of my photography set-up, but since it’s not done yet, I’m not going to explain the contraption just yet! The table is on casters has space under it for box storage. There is also a leaf that opens up to make the table larger, but stays out of my way when I’m not using it. This table will be for both photographing work, and also for packing up work.

photo-and-wrapping-table

This next area is just to the right of the photo table, and directly behind my desk. The utility sink is getting a trap installed under it (another post coming up about that). Suspended from the ceiling is a big roll of packing foam (which I forgot neaten up before the photo, oops!). The counter will be more area for staging work for photos and wrapping/shipping. Below the counter is space for both boxes and wrapping paper. There is also a spigot below the counter, where I can fill up bigger buckets without having to lift them in and out of the sink.

sink-and-wrapping-area

The next room: this is my glazing area, as well as clay storage. The shelf building is still in progress, but I’m pretty excited about this space. The counter top in here (and by the utility sink) is just “in stock” laminate counter top from Home Depot, which were also 20% off when I bought them which made them a great deal.  For the floor in the glazing room and the throwing room, I did an epoxy coating over the cement floors. I’m really impressed with their durability.  To the right of this will be where I eventually hope to have a spray booth just past the window. The clay storage is a pull out dolly so I don’t have to awkwardly reach to get clay out and put clay away.  The wheelie things the 5 gallon glaze buckets are on are actually plant holders from Ikea. Much cheaper than ones from hardware stores, and definitely durable enough. I’ve been using them for years.

glazing-area

The next set of shelves are across from the glazing area. These shelves will be for dry material storage, and the bottom part can be more clay storage (also pulls out). The glazing room & throwing room are separated from the clean room by a door to help keep the dust from migrating too much.

dry-material-storage

Our tour continues into the next room, which is where I’ll do my throwing, trimming, altering and decorating. The 2 rooms used to have a wall dividing them, but I opened them up to get more light, cross ventilation, and generally more space. There will be another table built that will roll between glazing and throwing rooms whenever I need more horizontal surface, but that won’t happen for another week or so. These shelves will hold greenware and work in progress. The shelves on the right is a full cart that I inherited from a previous studio that I altered to fit my needs.  There is another rolling dolly for more heavy duty storage at the bottom of the shelves to the left.

work-in-prgress-shelves-and-cart

This next part is my favorite part of my studio! It’s a canvas covered counter that is 14 feet long and 2 and a half feet deep. There is a space for me to sit at right in front of the window. All the tools and slips are right at my reach. I can’t wait to spend hours sitting here, decorating pots! The throwing area is to the right of this photo, directly across from the shelves/cart.

slip-and-altering-work-area

There is still some building to do in this next area, but you can get the basic idea of the space. I use one wheel for throwing (on left) and one for trimming (on right). The wedging table has some pretty slick bat storage built in. I’m going to build a big catch-all splash pan for the trimming wheel and room storage above each wheel.

throwing-area

So that completes the tour of my studio, so far.  I’ll be revisiting some of these spaces on my blog as I finish them and start to use them. I’ve been having fun building out the space that is customized for my needs. I’m not planning on moving anytime soon, so I can really settle in. I’ve had 4 studios over the past 10 years so I’ve always been hesitant to build too much that was not movable and was too customized. But now that I’m more or less permanently settled, I can customize away! It’s taking a little longer to get set up, but it’s definitely worth it. With that said, I’m so glad that the end is in sight!

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When I finished writing this post, I was talking to Ian and telling him how I had just written an overly detailed (and very long) post about my studio build out, but I knew if I didn’t write all the details, I’d get a lot of questions about the parts I skipped over, so I just went for it. I know how much people love details about studio design! I soak up every blog post, book chapter and magazine article that is about setting studio set up- no matter the size or location. Ian pointed out that it was like HGTV for potters. I think he put it perfectly!

And don’t forget to become a fan of Emily Murphy Pottery on Facebook!

The case of the missing pottery blogger: solved!

Well… after a loooong hiatus from both blogging and making pots, I’m back. I never intended to take such a long break, but the rest of my life kind of took over. Thanks to all of you who inquired about my whereabouts! I kept meaning to write a little update, but it’s been a whirlwind of time the past six months.  I thought I’d share with you what I’ve been up to in this post.

As many of you know, I recently moved to Minneapolis after 10 years in Chicago. The move was crazy, but the real crazy part was that we bought a duplex last winter that was condemned, and we brought it up to code through months and months and months of intense renovations. The house had a total of 4 units (2 original, 2 illegal units)- which included 4 kitchens and 4 bathrooms and not a single part of any of them was salvageable. The house has 54 windows, and only 4 of them were worth keeping. The house had been empty for 2 years when we bought it. I’m sure much of the deterioration happened during that time. Minnesota winters are rough! But we saw past all that and we fell in love with the house. It’s brick, after all! And the raw space and layout were perfect for us. So we dove in head first and have learned a lot along the way.

our-house-1

Ian and I live on the 2nd floor, and my sister Nora, and her two little boys, Ayrie and Shiya live on the 1st floor. The attic is Ian’s office, and guest space. The basement is my studio and a shared family room. Lucky for me the basement has tall ceilings and full sized windows. It’s the perfect space for me.

For the construction, we tried to hire people that were friends, family, friends of family and friends whenever possible. Most people commuted to work on bikes, so this is what our yard looked like on a busy day:

our-work-crew-1

This picture will just give you a little idea of what the house looked like when we bought it. Our Realtor thought that we were crazy, but now thinks we were brilliant :)
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This is what our kitchen looks like now. It’s a pretty dramatic before and after!
new-kitchen-1

We designed these shelves to hold our pots for every day use.  As they were being built, everyone kept saying: what are you doing? These are super engineered to be incredibly sturdy. There are no worries about overloading them! I’ll do a blog post at some point in the future so you can see the interior structure of the shelves.

open-shelving-1We live right in the middle of the city- but we have a barn in our back yard! It needed quite a bit of work, being over a century old, but we’re glad we did it. There is a great loft space that I hope to turn into a showroom someday.

barn-minneapolis-1

Of course I have tons more pictures of our renovations, but I just picked out a handful to give you a sense of what I’ve been up to. If anyone wants to see more photos, I could post a slideshow of the rest of the house.  My next post will be of my studio progress so far, so there will be some more house photos to come.

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Then, just as we were nearing the end of our renovations, Ian and I decided, after 13 years together, to make it ‘legal’, and we got married! We had a tiny ceremony, in our living room. It was perfect. We’re planning a larger celebration in the spring in our back yard after the snow thaws but before I begin construction on my soda kiln and kiln building.

ian-and-emily-1

So that basically sums up where I’ve been.  It’s been a great year with a lot of exciting changes. I’m anxious to be back to blogging, and back to the world of clay! I have a ton a blog posts lined up in my head, and even more ideas for pots! Thanks for checking back in with me.

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…