Category Archives: Updates

Road blocks, Mister Rogers and a future guest blogger

On Thursday evening, I got an email from a neighborhood newsletter letting residents know that there was going to be emergency road work being done right outside my studio on Friday and Saturday and the road would be closed… the exact two days of my sale. Luckily, I was able to send out an email giving folks a warning about the big orange signs, let them know about some alternate directions.

The road blocks did not deter anyone. The sale was a huge success and my shelves are now pretty sparse. It’s always great to see my regular customers and old friends. Thanks to everyone who navigated the detours and came out last weekend!

The road blocks were only a little bit of an inconvenience… Nancy and Burt had to deal with a tornado at the Kalamazoo Art Fair! It’s a good reminder why I prefer studio sales over art fairs.

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I was watching Mister Rogers with my nephew, Ayrie, the other day and there was a nice surprise: Eva Kwong was the guest!

 

In case you missed it, check out this blog post from January about another surprise appearance by a potter.

 

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And lastly… here is a picture of Ian…

 

The thing that is interesting about this picture to those of us who know him is that in this photo he has no beard and has short hair! Ian and I are approaching our 13th year together, and this is literally the first time I’ve seen his chin! Ian usually has longish hair and a very full beard. I’m posting this picture for our friends and family across the country that won’t get to see this in person… It’s not going to last long!

Although Ian is a programmer who writes a blog that most of us don’t really understand, he will be taking a turn writing a guest post for this blog sometime over the next week or two. I can’t wait to read it!

Visiting Chicago? Stop by Lillstreet…

I thought I’d tell you a little bit about where I spend my days making pots and teaching classes. My studio is on the north side of the city at Lillstreet Studios. Stop by if you’re in the neighborhood sometime and say ‘hello.’ It’s a great place to explore if you’re visiting Chicago. Or if you happen to live in the windy city, take an afternoon excursion to see what’s happening inside the walls of this old factory building.
Click here to get more information on Lillstreet’s location.

Getting there: You can drive (ample parking). You can ride a bike (lots of bike racks). You can take the Brown Line to the Montrose Stop. You can take the Montrose bus to Ravenswood. You can take the Metra to Lawrence. Etc…

There is a lot to see, so I thought I would give you just a brief “virtual tour” to entice you to stop by on your next trip to the windy city.

This is the directory that you’re greeted by when you walk inside the front door:

On the first floor:

One of the wheel classrooms (this one has 18 wheels):

On the second floor:

Outside my studio, 205 west, there are bios of each artist:

On the third floor:

Jewelry and metals:

The building is open for visitors to wander around. Explore the classrooms, visit the studios, shop in the gallery. The studios don’t have regular hours, but if you stop by, there is probably something open! There is no way I could actually show you everything, so you’ll just have to come see for yourself.

Interested in making a day of it? Other things to see and eat within 2 blocks:

And some things that are pretty darn close, but you’d probably want to hop in a car, on a bike, on a train:
Haus
Old Town School of Folk Music

If you’re making a special trip to Lillstreet, send me an email to let me know you’re coming so I can make sure that I’m there to meet you! I live quite close, so if I’m in town, it’s pretty easy for me to meet up with you.

Updates and shout-outs!

I had a bunch of things piling up that I have been wanting to share with you, so I decided to compile everything into one big shout-out blog post. Enjoy!

Some (blog) updates from me:

  • I have been tweaking my blog template and have made some small but good changes. I updated my ceramic blog links. It’s now connected to my blog reader so it will be automatically synced and up to date from now on. Just head on over to the right side of the blog to check out all the great links. 
  • I have changed and added the categories on the side of the blog too. This way you check out all the How-to’s & Tutorials in one place or all the posts about Soda Firing in one place too. Hopefully this will make it easier for folks to search the archives (they’re pretty big!).

Some shout-outs:

  • The Salt/Soda Firing discussion group/ social network is really taking off. If you’re interested in salt and soda, I highly suggest that you join this group! There are some great potters that have joined (including my friend Gary Jackson who finally has images of his work up online). I’m excited about the sharing that happening (slip and glaze recipes for soda!!) and for it to continue to evolve and grow. 
  • My friend, Jayson Lawfer, has left Chicago for Italy and has started a new company: The Nevica Project. It’s focus is bringing collectors together with art. The focus of the art, at this point, is on ceramics. From Jayson:

    “Creation is the first step. Though it is no doubt one of the most important steps, it is also the connection between artists, patrons and dealers that make the art environment a complete circle.” 

  • My friend Machiko Munakata is an amazing ceramic sculptor who has taken her talents into a new direction. She’s making these amazing felt foods, like this yummy plate of yakisoba to the left. You can find all of her creations on her Etsy site. The plate that her creations are displayed on is from Kristin Pavelka. Machiko has been my biggest cheerleader for me to join Etsy. I’ve taken one step closer and set up my page. There’s nothing for sale yet, but that’s to come next week (after taxes!). Update: Machiko’s work was featured on Boing Boing today.
  • Lindsey Holmes, a potteryblog.com fan, told me about what looks like a great show. Lindsey works for Hedge Gallery in San Fransisco. The gallery has an exhibition of Welsh potter, Paul Philp’s work that will be on display through mid-May. Thanks for the tip! 

  • Cattle Barn Clay Co. is a new clay company that was started by fellow Earlham grads Billy Cooper and Li Hunt-Cooper. It’s located in Royal Center, IN (sort of between Indianapolis and Chicago). They specialize in raw materials and new and used refractories. And their prices are really great. Kiln shelves that are up to 50% off retail prices. Check it out!

Akar Yunomi Invitational 2008

What is a yunomi you ask? Yunomi is an informal Japanese teabowl that is taller than wide, with a trimmed foot.

Akar’s site was overwhelmed this morning, but the bottleneck seems to have opened up. I am having a lot fun meandering around the exhibition. Just click here (or on the screenshot above) if you want to see my tea bowls. Enjoy the show!

Yunomis and Postcards

A few updates:    

In a few hours (March 28, 2008. 10am ct) the Yunomi Invitational 2008 exhibition at Akar is opening online. You’ll find several of my tea bowls in their online exhibition(!). My artist statement & resume are up on Akar’s site now. I can’t wait to see the show tomorrow. My tea bowls are in very good company! More to come on the show…

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My friend, Gary Jackson, put together this wonderful super sized postcard for me to take to NCECA last week. If you’ve come upon my blog via this postcard, welcome! If you’d like to sign up for the potteryblog.com mailing list, just go here. If you sign up, you’ll automatically get an email whenever there is a new post. Or of course you can always sign up for the RSS or Atom feeds. I’m looking forward to hearing from the new readers out there. I’ve got a lot of interesting things in the works, many of which are responses to suggestions from potteryblog.com readers. Thanks for all of the emails and comments!

A Holiday Tour of Lillstreet Studios

I thought I’d give a little tour of what some of the studios are offering this holiday season at Lillstreet Studios in Chicago. It’s truly a unique shopping experience to be able to shop directly from the artists in their studios. I’m including photos of just a sampling of the studios. There are over 50 artists under one roof – and that’s not including Lillstreet’s Gallery!

ceramics by Emily Murphy

 

 

ceramics by Lisa Harris

pottery by Karen Avery

pottery by Gary Jackson

porcelain by Joanna Kramer

porcelain by Karen Patinkin

ceramic and glass beads by Amy Lemaire

 

porcelain by Deborah Schneider

agricultural art by Cathi Bouzide

Photography by Guy Nicol

pottery by Mike Szostak

jewelry by 2nd floor metals artists

Many of the studios are open daily…
check in with individual artists for their hours 
Monday – Friday 12noon – 6pm
Saturdays 10am – 6pm
Sundays 12noon – 5pm

Studio Holiday Sale

Tonight’s the night! It’s the opening night for the holiday show at my studio at Lillstreet Studios in Chicago.

If you’re in the area, I hope you can stop by tonight, or any time over the next 3 weeks. Details and some pictures to tempt are below.

Opening Night Reception
Friday, November 30, 2007 – 6pm – 9pm
Lillstreet Studios
205 west
4401 N. Ravenswood
Chicago, IL 60640  

 

I have a studio full of new work including the ceramic pendants that you see above that hang on a cord of hand dyed silk. You’ll also see the familiar faces of mugs, serving bowls, honey pots and more.


 

  

Studio hours for the holidays:

weekdays: 12 noon – 6pm
Saturdays: 10am – 6pm
Sundays: 12 noon – 5pm

There are over 40 artists at Lillstreet Studios making functional pottery, tiles, sculpture, jewelry, photography, handmade beads and more. If I’m not at my studio, one of my studio mates can help you out. If you want to be sure to meet up with me, just send me an email (emily@sodafired.com).

You can probably find something for everyone on your list at Lillstreet Studios. I have some ridiculously functional things that everyone can use. Why shouldn’t your soap dispenser be as beautiful and functional as your favorite mug?

Directions to my studio.
I accept cash, checks, Visa and Mastercard.
It’s easy to get to with lots of parking for cars and bikes.
There is a ton of public transportation to help you get there. And the exciting news is that the Montrose Stop on the Brown line is open after a year of renovations! 
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And on a much more personal note…
I haven’t been writing to my blog much lately because I’ve had a very happy distraction. My sister, Nora, had a little baby boy, Shiya, on November 18, 2007 at 4:12pm. Congratulations!
I’ve been spending a lot of time with my sister, baby Shiya and big brother Ayrie. (The happy new family is in the picture to your left!)

 

Happy Holidays!

Empty Bowls – Chicago Style

This December, Lillstreet Art Center is hosting their 2nd annual Empty Bowls event. Last year we had a great turnout, but the plan is to really scale it up this year. Tons of bowls, a big community of people and soup galore will all come together to raise money and awareness to help fight hunger.

The request that I’m sending out is for potters, glass blowers, wood turners, and metal smiths of all levels to make a bowl (or 2 or 20) and donate it to Chicago’s Empty Bowls event at Lillstreet Art Center. We’d also like for you to come a share a meal, if you’re in the area on December 7, 2007 from 6pm – 9pm. For $20, guests are invited to choose a bowl and are served a generous serving of soup and bread made by First Slice Café. Guests keep the bowl as a reminder that there are always “empty bowls” in the world.


Lillstreet has a very unique restaurant in it’s building (sharing space with the gallery), the First Slice Café. Proceeds from the cafe go to feed Chicago’s hungry. They help fight hunger in a very direct way: the food they make for various organizations is the same amazing food that is served in their café. In addition to First Slice making the food for the event, they will also be the recipient of the event’s proceeds so they can continue to create healthy meals for these local organizations: Heartland Alliance, The Night Ministry, American Indian Center Youth Program, and Howard Area Alternative High School. 

If you would like to participate in this event by donating a bowl, please deliver or mail your bowl(s) by November 18, 2007 to:

 

Lillstreet Art Center

4401 North Ravenswood
Chicago, IL 60640
Attn: Empty Bowls

If you’d like to join us for a bowl of soup, come to Lillstreet on December 7, 2007 from 6pm – 9pm

If you have any questions about this event, you can contact the event organizer, Joanna Kramer.
Please help us spread the word by forwarding this to a friend. Thanks!

The bowls that are in the photo above are by Gary Jackson, Fire When Ready Pottery.

Unconventional Vases

I have been making these oval vases for a while in all different shapes and sizes. The idea for these pieces emerged out of a desire to make a vase that can sit in the middle of a table with flowers in it, yet it’s short enough to see your sweetie sitting across the table. Vases are a form that I’ve battled with. I have high standards for my pieces (vases and others). They must be able to stand on their own, without fulfilling their given purpose. And when they are doing their duty, like holding flowers, it must function flawlessly. My battle with the classic vase form is that I am not interested in it as a stand alone form. I know it’s a broad generalization, but it’s something that I tackle over and over again, and the form just isn’t “strong” enough for my taste. When I push and pull the classic vase form into something that I really like, it is more like a bottle and can’t hold more than 1 flower… So I seem to end up venturing into vase forms that are unconventional.

And since I like things that are unconventional, I am doing a show this much that is just that…unconventional. Haus (a wonderful ceramics gallery in Chicago) has coordinated this show for Chicago Artist’s Month (which is October). The tables at Anteprima, a fantastic Italian restaurant in Chicago’s Andersonville neighborhood have been filled with my oval vases. The vases have been filled by Sunburst Flowers, another Andersonville neighborhood business. I love all the collaboration!

The above image is of one of the beautiful arrangements for the show. The below image is of some of my platters at the restaurant. When Anteprima was opening, I was commissioned to make these platters.

What I’ve been up to

I’ve been busily working away in my studio lately – and I thought I’d share a little. Below are some small teapots that I just fired last week. I usually make larger teapots, but the one-person teapot has won my heart over!When I’m not making pots, I’ve been working on my blog. In addition to writing posts this week, I’ve discovered Google Analytics and I’ve been having a lot of fun with it.

A little sampling of the information that I’ve gotten from it this week

Visitors of Pottery Blog are from:
US, Canada, United Kingdom, Australia, Sweden, Israel, Mexico, Brazil, France, India, Romania, Japan, Switzerland, South Africa, Taiwan, Germany, Denmark, Philippines, Italy, Greece, Turkey, Norway, Poland, New Zealand, Russia, Czech Republic, Slovenia, Singapore, Estonia, Iran, Lithuania, Ireland, Sri Lanka, Finland, Indonesia, Netherlands, Spain, Portugal

A sampling of search phrases:
In addition to the basic phrases and keywords (soda firing, Emily Murphy, pottery blog, ceramics blog) there are some other more in depth searches like:

  • using shino in soda firing
  • ceramic kiln timings
  • ceramic wedging boards from plaster
  • site:potteryblog.com pottery blog tour part 2
  • can i have a signature stamp made of my signature?
  • how to throw a pottery mug
  • eat his heart out with a spoon (!)

And some things that I think my blog was probably not helpful with:

  • how to pronounce “pottery” in korean
  • emily murphy “neuroscience”

I have also been spending time reading other people’s blogs. You can see my list of links on the right side of the page (just scroll down a little). Between reading all of these great blogs from around the world, and then seeing where my site visitors are coming from, the world is feeling very small.

I’m off now to have a completely different art experience. Ian and I are heading out to Burning Man in Nevada for the next week with a gang of folks from The Opening Planning Project and friends. Most of this will not be clay related, but some is. There is going to be a tea stand/ house at our theme camp that I made teapots and tea bowls for.
Burning Man is known for an event with virtually no commerce, and lots of “gifting.” The gifts that we’re bringing are necklaces (pendants) that are made out of both porcelain and stoneware, and have some of the soil (playa) from the host land rolled into the clay, and then soda fired. The soil fluxes to a temoku like glaze. Photos to come!