Tag Archives: Jim Murphy

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

8 Random Things

I was tagged with 8 random things by Pam McFadyen from Lurearts Ceramics.

The rules:

1. Let others know who tagged you.
2. Players start with 8 random facts about themselves.
3. Those who are tagged should post these rules and their 8 random facts.
4. Players should tag 8 other people and notify them they have been tagged.

Here I go with 8 random things about myself (in absolutely no particular order)…

1. I have an painted art car. The inside is decked out with fringe and all. A couple of years ago Ian and I decided to paint our car to cover up some chipping paint. The result has been lots of smiles and random conversations with strangers- something that should happen more often! The interior fringe was hunted down during a trip to Mexico. I like having a little something special inside the car- besides making me smile, it also reminds me that the outside is painted, and that’s why people are looking at the car.

2. Chicago has been my home for the last 8+ years. We’ve lived in roughly the same area (northside- Lincoln Square/ Uptown/ Ravenswood/ Andersonville) the whole time we’ve been in Chicago. I run into people I know all the time when I’m out and about. It feels like a small town. You can walk just about anywhere you need to go. The same clerks work at the neighborhood grocery store since we’ve lived here. I go to the little neighborhood farmer’s market every week. Two sites/ blogs I like about Chicago are: The Chicagoist and Gaper’s Block.

3. I went to Earlham College where I majored in Art with a double focus in ceramics and metals (class of ’99). It’s where I met Ian and learned to make pots.

4. I am the hopelessly devoted aunt to 3 (soon to be 4) amazing nephews. Orion, Ayrie and Jonah. I am known to them as Emmy. The photo was taken by Ian last Christmas. They were inside the house and Ian was outside. We have decided that if they ever start a band together, that this will be their first album cover and they will be called the Formidable Murphy Boys.

5. I’m a customer service pro. Friends and family use me to help them work out tough customer service problems. I don’t actually enjoy the process of being on hold, but I feel extremely satisfied when I can solve a problem. I have a bit of a love-hate relationship with this particular talent of mine. I’ve been enjoying the blog: The Consumerist lately.

6. I LOVE my label maker. Actually, I have 2 of them. One for my studio, one for home. You can see a small glimpse of what our office at home looks like from the picture. The label maker is actually sitting on the shelf in front of the books. It actually has it’s own labeled bin, but it was out since I had just used it.
I could go on about my love of the label maker, but I think I’ll just stop there.

7. I grew up in Keene, NH. I have family in the area, still. I get to visit several times a year. My dad, Jim Murphy, is a painter who is inspired by the beautiful landscape.

8. I love jewelry. Handmade beautifully designed jewelry. My favorite jeweler also happens to be a good friend: Sarah Chapman. I love her designs- they are completely original. Her craftsmanship is impeccable. And the pieces have this great ability to go from fitting perfectly with jeans and a t-shirt in the studio to dress up for a night on the town.

A Potter’s Mark: Signing Pots

I just got a new stamp with my signature to sign the bottoms of my pots with. I ordered the stamp at NCECA, and it arrived in the mail last week. Todd Scholtz, owner of claystamps.com was set up at the Brackers Good Earth Clay, Inc booth.

He had me sign a piece of paper to get the right signature. I think that I wrote it about 40 times to get the feel and look that is most consistent with how I usually sign my work. The 10th signature ended up being the one that I used.

He then scanned the chosen signature into a computer and resized to my specifications. He then engraved the stamp and added a nice wooden handle. I am really happy with the results. It stamps beautifully- wet, leather hard, and even a little past leather hard all come out clearly and easily. If I want another stamp- smaller or larger, I can have the same signature, just resized. If you have some other sort of mark, it would work as well- whether you have it as a digital image already, or you have Todd scan it in for you.

I’ve tried to figure out a good signature stamp for years. I don’t like the chunkiness of a clay stamp for my signature, and the fragility always worried me. Rubber stamps are easy to have made, but they aren’t deep enough or firm enough for stamping the bottom of a trimmed, leather hard piece. This stamp seems to be a good alternative.
Take a look at the results:

The flashing from the soda kiln on the bottom of this plate could not have been any more picture perfect!

I have always felt that it is important for me to sign my work. Here are some thoughts on signing or not signing pots…

  • It is an historical record of the maker. There are lots of books about the marks on old pots. I’m not saying that my mark is going to end up in a book, but the idea of being able to figure out who made a pot, a print or a painting is still interesting to me. Having a clear and identifiable signature would make that much easier.
  • I own several pots by different potters that aren’t signed (or it’s hard to make out). When I bought them, I remembered clearly who made them, but as time has passed, some of those names have left me. If I wanted more work by the same artist, I’d sort of have to wait to come upon it again at a gallery.
  • Ceramics Monthly has started including the stamp or mark of each of the ceramic artists that are featured in their magazine. This seems to be some sort of recognition of the importance of the stamp even in contemporary ceramics (as opposed to the historical documentation that I talked about above).
  • The Potter’s Council is asking for potter’s to send in their marks to create an archive of stamps and signatures. They can be sent to: Jennifer Poellet, 735 Ceramic Place, Suite 100, Westerville, OH, 43081.
  • Over time my signature or stamp have changed and evolved. All clearly are by the same maker, but it is a way that I can sort of “date” my pieces, without actually recording a date on them.
  • I come from a family of artists, and the bold signature of MURPHY is something of a common occurrence on our work. Here is my dad’s signature (Jim Murphy) from one of his paintings:

I think that this blog entry will be the first of many about signing work. There is much more to talk about. I’d love to hear your ideas about signing or not signing pottery, or what your method is.

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