Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Busy busy!

I have some fun blog posts in the works, but they're a bit ambitious and it's taking me longer to get them posted than I thought it would. Here is some other stuff that I'm up to (in no particular order).Feb. 16th, 2008
I'm so excited to teach a workshop for Earlham Alums! I learned to make pots at Earlham where ceramics was highly supported by the students and faculty. Over the years of having a studio at Lillstreet, I've had a lot of EC alums visit me. Their support of clay as students at Earlham has transformed into a life long appreciation of handmade pots.
If you're an Earlham alum in the mid-west, I hope you can make it to the workshop. Or if you know someone else who is... pass it on!
Join fellow Earlhamites, parents, and friends of the College at Lillstreet Art Center for a hands-on workshop with Emily Murphy '99. Each participant will have the opportunity to learn hand building techniques and create his or her own mug or vase. Pieces will be fired and available for pickup approximately 2-3 weeks after the event. All work will be completely non-porous, food-safe, and microwave and dishwasher safe! We will gather at 11:30 for pizza and an opportunity to hear an update from campus!
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Another Cup? at Baltimore Clayworks curated by Deborah Bedwell.
Jan. 12 - Feb. 23, 2008

I was excited to be invited to be a part of this exhibition. See the pictures 0f the show here.
An invitational exhibition featuring cups from established and emerging ceramic artists. The curator, Baltimore Clayworks’ Executive Director Deborah Bedwell believes, “… that a beautifully made cup, which satisfies its utilitarian and/or artistic intention is exactly what our culture needs and answers the question “Does the world need another cup?
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Yunomi Invitational at Akar
I have also been invited to be a part of the Yunomi Exhibition at Akar. I'll keep you posted when the show is online. Right now the pots are in the mail, on their way to Akar.
They have the tea bowls from last year's exhibition online. Take a look, there are some amazing vessels!
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My plan has been for a long time to redo my main website: sodafired.com
But everything else gets in the way (like making pots, my blog, etc...). But I am trying to at least keep some of the info updated.
Here's the latest:
updated resume
updated artist statement

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A new class session at Lillstreet Art Center in Chicago began a couple of weeks ago. Spring session starts mid-March. The classes I'm teaching will be the same next session, but with slightly different days & times.

Advanced Wheel - Throwing and Altering
Tuesdays, 6:30 - 9:30pm
This class is for the proficient thrower to take their wheel work to the next level. We will push, pull and cut the clay on and off the wheel to create new forms on and off the wheel. We will use the wheel to make the basic forms, and then incorporate hand-building techniques to build forms that are out of round.
Advanced Topics in Soda: Investigating Materials
Wednesdays, 7 - 10pm
This class is for advanced students who have had some experience in soda and atmospheric firing, and are looking to investigate the process more deeply. We will be focused on exploring and understanding different clay bodies and dozens of slips. We will look at slides for inspiration and will identify particular finishes that are interesting and exciting. From there, we will study individual materials and how they react in the soda kiln. The end goal will be to create some new and unique finishes through the investigation of materials
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The Conversation Continues...
You might remember the show that I was a part of last fall: Being to Being: Collective Conversations in Clay. Check out the website- there are new images of the show (installed) and the process. And it sounds like there will be another show this fall with a new twist. As always, I'll keep you posted!

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Ask a Potter
I regularly get questions via email from other ceramic artists seeking my advice. There are certain questions that I get over and over again: new graduates asking advice on what to do after graduation; questions about kilns and soda; people coming to visit Chicago wondering what clay focused things there are to do an see when they're in town, etc... I try to answer these questions as best I can within the limitations of my time and knowledge. Last week I got a bunch of emails, many of which are variations on common questions that I get. I thought to myself: "I should use each question and my answer as a blog post." So that's what I'm going to do. And I'm hoping that maybe a dialog can open up and the Pottery Blog readers can help fill in the gaps in my advice with their own knowledge and experiences.

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Europe, clay?
Ian and I are planning a trip to Europe in mid to late August. We have a wedding to go to in Germany, but other than that, we don't have any specific plans. We're in the VERY early stages of planning (I think we're heading north, Denmark, etc...). Does anyone have any suggestions for clay related things that we should consider doing/ seeing and maybe take in account in our planning? Thanks in advance for the suggestions!

Those are all the updates for now. It's nice to be back!

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Sunday, August 19, 2007

Ceramics Classes

Soda firing classes with Emily Murphy
at Lillstreet Art Center, Chicago, IL
fall classes begin the week of September 10, 2007
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Soda Firing Fundamentals
This class is for the advanced student of ceramics who is interested in exploring a varied and unpredictable surface for their work. Soda firing is an atmospheric firing that produces flashes of color, a textured orange peel surface, and reacts in a variety of ways with different slips, glazes and clay bodies. We'll delve into forms that work well to accentuate the soda process, play with surface decoration with particular focus on slips and textures, and experiment with glazing for the soda process (including the use of the spray booth). Kiln loading will be taught and all students are required to share loading and unloading of kilns on evenings outside of class.
Tuesdays, 6:30pm - 9:30pm
Starts Sept. 11, 2007

LAC Members $340 / Nonmembers $350
Soda Firing Lab Fee: $60
register here
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Advanced Topics in Soda Firing: Surface Decoration

This class is for advanced students with previous experience in soda and atmospheric firing, who are looking to investigate the process more deeply. This class is going to focus on surface decoration in the soda kiln. We’ll explore texture from stamping to carving and how to enhance the surface in soda. We’ll delve into slips from flashing to porcelain with a variety of application techniques. The ultimate goal is to enhance your forms with surface decoration in the soda atmosphere. Open to students who make both functional and sculptural work. All students are required to share loading and unloading of kilns on evenings outside of class. Prerequisite: permission of instructor.
Wednesdays 12-3pm
Wednesdays 7-10pm
Starts Sept. 12, 2007

LAC Members $340 / Nonmembers $350
Soda Firing Lab Fee: $60
register here
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I thought I'd share a sampling of work from some of my student's (past and present) that have come through the soda firing program at Lillstreet over the past couple of years.
You'll see many have their own websites, or albums with more images. Just click on a linked name to see more!



Greg Schultz

Beth Burkhart

Nancy Pirri


Fred Follansbee

Robert Milanowski

Lalitha Bardalaye

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Friday, March 17, 2006

Soda Firing Workshop with Emily Murphy

Soda Firing Workshop

with Emily Murphy

Interested in soda firing?

This workshop is the whole soda firing process packed into
one weekend at Lillstreet Art Center.

This workshop is for intermediate and advanced students, amateur potters, and professional ceramic artists who want to have an introduction to soda firing or to expand their soda firing knowledge. Workshop students will learn how to load the soda kiln: no kiln loading experience necessary!

Soda firing is an atmospheric firing that produces flashes of color, a textured orange peel surface, and reacts in a variety of ways with different slips, glazes and clay bodies. The “soda” in soda firing is a combination of baking soda and soda ash. The soda mixture is introduced into the kiln near the end of the firing. The soda vaporizes and is carried on the flame throughout the kiln. Wherever the flame travels, the soda travels and reacts with the pieces in the kiln to create a glazed or flashed surface.

Come to the workshop with an assortment of bisqued pieces. Variety is best. Please come with 6 – 10 pieces. You’re not guaranteed to get every piece into the kiln, but we’ll try to get in at least 6 pieces, depending on size. The more variety of forms, sizes, shapes and clay bodies, the better for loading! The clay must be rated to
Δ10. If you’d like to purchase some of Lillstreet’s special soda clay body ahead of time, you can make arrangements for that. You will be contacted via email prior to the workshop with suggestions of commercially available clay bodies, as well as some slip recipes that you can mix to use on your greenware.

Friday, April 21, 11am-6pm
We will meet to get an introduction to soda firing, glaze, slip and wad pieces. When the pieces are glazed, we will load the soda kiln with everyone’s work.

Saturday, April 22, 5-7pm

Saturday is firing day. This timing is approximate- we will be mixing up the soda and putting it into the kiln around this time (Δ9).

Monday, April 24, 3-6:30pm
Unloading time! We’ll unload the kiln and examine our results from the soda kiln.


Lillstreet Members $135 / Nonmembers $140
Soda Firing lab fee: $30


To sign up for this workshop, go online to lillstreet.com, or call: 773.769.4226

For more information about the workshop, or to learn more about Emily’s work,
please visit: sodafired.com or email: emily@sodafired.com


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Monday, March 28, 2005

Workshop with Jordan Taylor


My good friend and fellow Earlham alum Jordan Taylor, is going to be coming to Lillstreet Art Center this April to do a 2 day workshop.

Jordan and I worked side by side on our senior projects at Earlham, making pots, loading and firing kilns. After we graduated, Jordan and I have both gone on to make pots full time- but we have arrived there by very different paths. Jordan went the route of many the clay graduate of EC, and did a long apprenticeship. He worked with Mark Skudlarek in Cambridge, Wisconsin for 3 1/2 years. After his apprenticeship was completed, he moved to north eastern Pennsylvania to set up his shop. He wrote an article for Ceramics Monthly about his journey of making pots.


In Union Dale, Pennsylvania Jordan built his wood kiln...


where he fires his pots...


If you are interested in registering for this workshop, it's on April 16th and 17th -- contact Lillstreet Gallery for more information (773.769.4226).

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