Friday, March 28, 2008

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!

Labels: , , , ,

Sunday, October 14, 2007

Being to Being: Collective Conversations in Clay

This is a virtual tour of a show that I am currently in: Being to Being: Collective Conversations in Clay at Park West Ceramics Gallery in Chicago. The concept for the show is very unsual (remember, I like unconventional things...).

Here's the idea: There are 5 artists, all with different styles of making and decorating. Each artist made 5 pieces. One of the pieces is made start to finish by that original artist. The other 4 pieces are handed off in the leather hard stage to the other 4 artists. Each participant decorates the 4 pieces from the other artists. Carving and cutting, slips and glazes, adding clay pre- and post firing, atmospheric firings and decals were some of the techniques used.

The photos in this post were taken on opening night and aren't actually the best images. Sometime in the next couple of weeks I'll add better images, but I was too excited about this show to wait for those images. But for now, you can get an idea of what the show is all about...
_______________________________________

Platter by Emily Murphy. Soda fired with a crackle slip and sprayed glazes.

top left: Slipped wood fired with low fire decals by Gina Hutchings.
top right: Cut, carved, slipped, glazed and wood fired by Jay Strommen.
bottom left: Slipped, glazed, punctured, reduction fired, then sewn by Joanna Kramer.
bottom right: Cut, then applied stoneware "staples" and porcelain coil then soda fired by Shane Grimes.

The next series are porcelain hand built slab "landscape" vases by Joanna Kramer.
Below is her solo piece that is actually two porcelain vases that are sewn together (post firing, of course!).

top left:
Glazed and wood fired with low fire decals applied by Gina Hutchings.
top right: Slipped, glazed, cut and carved then wood fired by Jay Strommen.
bottom left: Slipped, glazed and soda fired by Emily Murphy.
bottom right: Slipped and carved with stoneware staples and porcelain coils attached and then soda fired by Shane Grimes.

Jay Strommen's pieces are thrown and altered with slips and lightly glazed then wood fired.

top left: Slipped, glazed, wood fired with decals by Gina Hutchings.
top right: Slipped, punctured, glazed and reduction fired then sewn by Joanna Kramer.
bottom left: Lots of stoneware staples and porcelain coils added, then soda fired by Shane Grimes.
bottom right: Slipped, carved, glazed and then soda fired by Emily Murphy.

The next group is from Shane Grimes. Shane's pieces are thrown and altered. His solo piece has his trademark stoneware staples and incredibly thin porcelain spines/coils attached, then soda fired.
top left: Cut, carved, slipped, glazed and wood fired by Jay Strommen.
top right: Soda fired then a decal applied by Gina Hutchings (it's a very cool spider).
bottom left: Slipped, cut, punctured, glazed and reduction fired by Joanna Kramer, then sewn.
bottom right: Slipped, glazed and soda fired by Emily Murphy.

The Geisha series is by Gina Hutchings who is also the organizer of the show.
Her piece below is glaze and wood fired with a decal applied.

top left: Stoneware staples and porcelain coils attached then soda fired by Shane Grimes.
top right: Slipped, punctured, glazed, reduction fired then sewn by Joanna Kramer.
bottom left: Slipped, carved, glazed and wood fired by Jay Strommen.
bottom right: Slipped, glazed and soda fired by Emily Murphy.

The next group of photos are some close up detail images. Because of the lighting in the gallery, it was hard to get really good photos on opening night. I hope these detail images help you fill in the gaps. (click on images to make them bigger)


































Labels: , , , ,

Sunday, October 07, 2007

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.

Labels: , , ,

Tuesday, April 24, 2007

Artist Statement, April 2007

Looking back and moving forward.

Clay is one of the oldest materials used by humans, and its place in the lives of humans has changed and evolved as we have. It's had a central place in a community as vessels that store water and grains. Today we most often see clay in the form of toilets, sinks, heater elements, and our molded dishes. With modern manufacturing we have personal spaces which we can easily fill to overflowing with things, so that few people can really say they lack any quantity of items. We store water in disposable plastic bottles, we store our food in layers of boxes and plastic bags, and once we've used these up we store the garbage in more layers of plastic until they can be taken away in the metal boxes on wheels. Things just flow through our hands, from factory to landfill, each item indisguishable from the next and inevitably forgotten once sealed in the earth.

So the place that clay has in our world today is much different than it's been before. Clay is still plentiful, but it's never been disposable. And clay as art still has the intention and purpose behind it that long ago would have been present in every vessel. It can be something to stop our busy lives for a few moments in the morning to meditate over our morning coffee out of our favorite mug. It can be a vase that with or without flowers, we can stop to think about how it is one of the few objects in our lives that are hand made and individual.

Each and every piece that I make is one of a kind. I often make pieces in a series, but because they are hand crafted and fired in a soda kiln no two pieces are identical. I'm drawn to the pieces with a depth that you can explore, with subtle nuances in the texture and patterns in the glaze. A piece where you can always look a little closer and see something new. You aren't going to see that in a mass produced plate from Target, or a ceramic mug from Ikea. Our lives are busy and we often don't allow ourselves to slow down and take a moment to reflect. I see clay/pottery/ceramics as a way to feel a connection with another person, and an excuse to slow down for a moment.

Clay is a material that has a long and rich tradition. I try to reference that history, but in the context of our contemporary world. This is why I love the process of soda firing, also a contemporary adaptation of an older process.

In the 14th century potters began using a technique called salt firing. By adding salt into a kiln, the pieces would be glazed without having to individually apply glaze to each piece. This was great for the very utilitarian pieces like sewer pipes and whiskey jugs. But by the 1970's there were problems with the technique – black smoke comes from the chimneys, and it wasn't very friendly to the environment or your neighbors. So another technique was developed, using soda ash and baking soda. The kiln is gas fired and this soda mixture is added to the kiln near the end of the firing (around 2200°F); the soda vaporizes and is carried on the flame throughout the kiln. The soda reacts with the pieces, changing their color and texture. The variations you see on the pieces come from the variations in the kiln – how close a piece is to the burner, how much room there is for the flame to flow across the piece, even the temperature outside or the humidity can effect the outcome. Even after firing soda kilns hundreds of times there are still surprises to be found in how the pieces react. The pieces that I have created for this exhibition are tributes to the unpredictable and unique effects of this process.

Emily Murphy

Labels: , , , ,

Sunday, April 22, 2007

New Soda Fired Work by Emily Murphy

Here is a virtual tour of the exhibition that I'm currently having at Haus in Chicago through May 6. It is a body of work that I have been working on for months, and had in my head for the last year or so. It is really excited to have the group of work finished and exhibited together. Click on any of the images to see them larger. I hope you enjoy your visit to the gallery...

This is the front of the gallery with my large bottle forms on display in the window.

Here are some images of the installation of the show.

I have a series of squared platters that I really see as canvases. The surfaces are a combination of layered slips, sprayed glazes and the soda kiln.

I have taken the idea of my surfaces being canvases one step further. I have made a series of wall pieces. These are forms that I have been playing with for a while, but this is the first time that I have exhibited them.

And here are some mugs that echo the grid of squares above...

Chicago artist Amy Lemaire designed floral arrangements in my low oval vases. These are pieces that stand alone as sculptural forms, but come to life with greens, branches and flowers in them. This is just a selection of the pieces. I took these photos on a white piece of paper so you could see them a little bit better.




The show will be up until May 6, 2007 if you'd like to see it in person. There is going to be a "Wine Walk" in the Andersonville neighborhood (where Haus is located) on May 6th. We're going to take this opportunity to have a closing party. If you'd like to participate in the Wine Walk, you can purchase a special wine glass for $20 and you can wander the neighborhood and taste 40 different kinds of wine. For information on this event, visit In Fine Spirit's website.

The previous post is my artist's statement for this show.

Labels: , , , , ,

Sunday, April 01, 2007

New work by Emily Murphy

A show of my new work is opening on Friday, April 6, at Haus in Chicago. All of the work is soda fired (surprise surprise!), with a vivid palate of colors. The show include some new wall pieces, oval centerpiece vase (like you see below), large square platters and more.
I have been wanting to do this work since last summer, and when the opportunity came up to have a show at Haus, I was really excited to have a place to exhibit the vision that was in my head. I've been working intensely on this new body of work through the coldest and darkest days of the winter- with a longing eye looking towards spring.
I'll give you a little sneak peak of some of the work here on this entry and after the opening I will post some installation images of the show.

Labels: , , , ,

Thursday, July 07, 2005

Mark of the Flame

Throughout the Spring session at Lillstreet Art Center, my Advanced Topics in Soda Firing class worked on putting together an exhibition of their work- from developing the idea of the show, to producing the work. I'm really excited about the direction this project has taken. The results can be seen at the opening of the exhibition on July 16. Please see below for more information.

The idea of the exhibition is that each set or series of pieces was designed and placed in the kiln to intentionally mark the surface with the pattern and shadow of the flame. All the pieces are fired in the soda kiln, where the soda vapors are being carried with the flame. The results of this are some really exciting pieces that tell the story of how they were made. Photographs of the pieces in the kiln (like the ones seen below) will accompany the displayed ceramics. Please click on image to see it larger-and to read all the details.


The opening reception is Saturday, July 16th at Lillstreet's Gallery in Chicago. There are several openings happening at the same time- it should be quite an event! If you need directions- please click here.
I hope to see you there!

Labels: , , ,

Tuesday, November 30, 2004

Studio Sale







This Friday December 3, from 5pm - 10pm is the opening night gala at my studio, Lillstreet Gallery, and all 26 artist studios at Lillstreet Studios in Chicago. We're located at 4401 N. Ravenswood Ave., in Chicago, IL. Come on up to my studio on the second floor (205 west).

My studio will be open during regular business hours throughout the first 3 weeks of December. Feel free to call or email ahead to make an appointment. Or just stop by... I'll be there.

I have lots of new work, like...

and...


and of course you can always find...

I will be taking credit cards, as well as checks and cash. Gift boxes are available.

If you can't make it to my studio, you can find work for sale on my website.
Or you can also find my work this season at:
Hope to see you soon...keep warm!

Labels: , , , ,