Tag Archives: Pottery

Gift Guide for Emily Murphy Pottery

I love giving gifts! I love trying to figure out the perfect gift for someone.  It has to be unique, thoughtful and personal.  Sometimes I get a little stuck and I find that looking at online “gift guides” will help give me a spark of an idea! I’ve been doing most of my Christmas shopping on Etsy and at craft fairs.  Etsy’s gift guides are a great starting point if you’re looking for inspiration.  I thought I’d make my own gift guide for my Etsy Shop to help you out!

Don’t forget that your whole purchase is 20% off (except custom orders) in my Etsy Shop using coupon code JINGLE through December 18th, 2013.  Plus $5 shipping/ address.

For the gardener:
Pair one of my vintage seed packet mugs with a pair of gardening gloves or your favorite gardening book for a perfect gift for the avid gardener in your life!  I love reading gardening books in the middle of winter… dreaming of digging into the dirt, while drinking a toasty cup of tea.Vintage Seed Packet Mugs Emily Murphy Pottery

For the cook:
Looking for something for someone who love to cook? A little dish / spoon rest  and a handmade wooden spoon would be something that would be used all the time! Look on Etsy for a wooden spoon (like this one) or a local gourmet kitchen shop for one.
Spoon rest small dish

For the locavore:
Do you have a locavore that you love? Pair one of my handmade porcelain honey pots along with some local honey for a sweet gift! You can look on Etsy for local honey (search for your state plus honey). Or if you have a gourmet shop or food co-op, you’ll find several choices there!  honey pots, travel mugs and soap dispensers7

For the kids:
Kids love having something that is just for them… and just their size! Start them off early loving and appreciating handmade pottery!  Package it with some tasty hot cocoa (from Etsy or a local food shop) and maybe some amazing homemade marshmallows (from Etsy or make your own!)

Etsy kid mugs

For the kid at heart:
Nostagia in a cup! These are grown-up (or big kid!) sized mugs that have the same imagery of the kid sized mugs. You can do the cocoa and marshmallow pairing like above! Or of course, you could always pair it with coffee for the grown-up recipient!

Big wheel and tricycle mugs emily murphy pottery

For the tea lover:
A unique porcelain mug, a tea infuser and some loose tea would make any tea lover full of warmth! Etsy has some wonderful tea infusers. And an amazing selection of teas, like this sampler! And of course, you can find both at a gourmet kitchen or food shop, or at most coffee shops.

Handmade porcelain mugs emily murphy pottery

For the hostess with the mostess:
For someone who loves to entertain, something that is both practical and beautiful is perfect.  These berry bowls are totally practical – you can wash your berries (or grapes…) in them, and then serve directly from the dish! You could even give the colander full of some colorful berries at a holiday party for a one of a kind hostess gift! handmade porcelain berry bowl colander emily murphy pottery

For the mom or dad:
I mentioned this in a previous post, these foaming soap dispensers are fantastic for kids! And as a parent, you really want more beauty in your home and less plastic in your life, but it can feel like a losing battle! The foam is great for really getting soap everywhere you need it to be without messy drips.  I wrote a blog post with suggestions on where to buy and how to make your own foaming soap!

handmade foaming soap dispenser emily murphy pottery

For the new homeowner / apartment dweller:
Do you know someone who recently moved into a new house or maybe their first apartment? Get them a couple of matching plates or mugs for make it feel even homier! 

Emily Murphy Porcelain pottery

For the coffee lover:
Of course the obvious choice for someone who loves coffee is to give them a mug.  But these handmade porcelain travel mugs are even better than the standard mug! They can be used with or without the lid.  The lid is great to use at home if you like to keep your drink piping hot.  Or if you have kids or pets that might knock over your hot coffee next to your computer (yikes!).  And it also works as a travel mug ;). Pick up some coffee from your favorite roaster.  Etsy has a ton of roasted coffee bean options! handmade porcelain travel mug with silicone lid emily murphy pottery

For the person who has everything:
And then there is always the person who has everything that you can’t figure out what to get for them.  A beautiful porcelain oil lamp would be a wonderful gift. It’s unique, practical (we always light ours when the power goes out!) and is small enough to not worry about where they will put it! Plus, it’s more interesting and than another gift of a candle.  And can be used as a small bud vase too.  Complete the gift by giving it with a bottle of lamp oil. You can purchase smokeless paraffin lamp oil at most hardware, grocery and big box stores. You can also purchase it online, including through Amazon. There are many brands, you just want to look for 99% pure paraffin; sootless, smokeless, odorless. It’s quite easy to find!

handmade porcelain oil lamp

I hope my little gift guide gave you some ideas for some of the folks on your holiday shopping list!  And if you buy something from my Etsy Shop, don’t forget to use the coupon code: JINGLE to get 20% off your purchase through December 18th, 2013!

It’s holiday sale time! 20% off on Etsy starting Nov 30… and studio sale the following week!

It’s that time of the year again! Starting this Saturday, November 30th, using coupon code, JINGLE, you can get 20% off your whole purchase in my Etsy shop.  Plus, $5 shipping per address.  If you want it shipped to multiple recipients, it’ll be $5/ per shipment.honey pots, travel mugs and soap dispensers1Much of the work is posted up in my Etsy shop already, so you can “pre-shop” and pick out your favorite pieces so you’re ready to snag a great deal when the sale goes live!

Here are some pieces that are listed (or soon to be!).  A new design of honey pots! Comes with a 6″ honey dipper.  You could substitute a spoon for the dipper and use it as a chutney jar.
Blue glazed porcelain honey pot with slip trailed dots by Emily Murphy Pottery

Blue glazed porcelain honey pot

And here are some new pieces.  Travel mugs with silicone lids.  The great thing about the design of these mugs is that they are great to drink from with or without the lid!
Creamy yellow glazed porcelain travel mug with circle pattern and silicone lid

Creamy yellow glazed porcelain travel mug with circle pattern and brown silicone lid
Aquamarine glazed porcelain travel mug with branch pattern
Aquamarine glazed porcelain travel mug with flowering branch pattern

And here is another new item… a foam soap dispenser! I love using foam soap, and it took me a long time to find pumps that I could use with my pieces.  The foam is so great to use with kids because they can coat their hands easily when washing by themselves.

Tomato red foam soap dispenser with butterflies and brushed nickel pump
Tomato red foam soap dispenser with butterflies and brushed nickel pump

And these honey pots have been flying off the virtual shelves. Luck for you, I made lots of them for the holiday season!Celadon glazed porcelain honey pot with bees buzzing and honey comb

Celadon glazed porcelain honey pot with bees buzzing and honey comb

And here are couple of my favorite mugs! Aquamarine glazed porcelain mugs with floral pattern

Pair of aquamarine glazed porcelain mugs with floral pattern

I love the brushed copper soap pumps! Amber glazed porcelain soap dispenser with leaves falling and brushed copper pump

Amber glazed porcelain soap dispenser with leaves falling and brushed copper pump.

So there is a little sneak peak of my Etsy sale! Saturday is Small Business Saturday.  I hope you’ll swing by between November 30th – December 18th and do some shopping!

If you’re local to the Minneapolis/ St. Paul area, you can shop via Etsy and use coupon code: LOCAL PICKUP to make arrangements with me to pick up your items from my studio!

Also, I’ll be having a Studio Sale next week for anyone who is local.

If you’re in the Minneapolis/ St. Paul area, I hope you’ll stop by my studio sale! 20% off of everything in my studio, including my seconds and samples that are already marked down!
Emily Murphy Pottery Studio Sale

Thursday :: December 5 :: 5pm – 7pm
Saturday :: December 7 :: 10am – 5pm
Sunday :: December 8 :: 12 noon – 4pm

3015 10th Avenue South. Follow the “Pottery” signs to the back of the house to my basement studio. More information to come!

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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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