Category Archives: Exhibitions

Spin Me Round – Thorne-Sagendorph Art Gallery

Opening reception at Thorne-Sagendorph Art Gallery Keene NH
Spin Me Round exhibition at Thorne Sagendorph Art, Keene State College in Keene, NH.
On display from October 17, 2019 – December 11, 2019. Curated by Paul McMullan.

I am honored to be included in the fantastic exhibition, Spin Me Round, curated by Paul McMullan, at the Thorne-Sagendorph Art Gallery, Keene State College in Keene, NH. It is a joy to have my work in such great company (see the list to the left?!).
It is a bit of a homecoming for my work. I was was born and raised in Keene, NH. My folks, my brother Jeff, and his family still live there today. My art-filled upbringing included taking summer camps at the Keene State College Ceramics Department.

Although I have not been able to travel to see the exhibition in person, thanks to my family in the area, I have a virtual tour of the show that I will share with you! All photos of the exhibition are by my dad, Jim Murphy.

Emily Murphy's ceramics on display at Thorne-Sagendorph Gallery in Keene New Hampshire
Emily Murphy

I don’t have photos of the individual displays of all of the artists in the show, but I hope you take some time to visit their websites!
Todd Wahlstrom
Maureen Mills
George McCauley
Tyler Gulden
Nick Sevigney

Emily Murphy
Artist Statement
September 2019

What if our lives were full of beautiful objects for everyday use? Handmade pieces that took time to make and were durable, functional and full of beauty. Most of our lives are full of single use plastic and items that are not meant to outlast their trendiness. They are machine made and shipped from one side of the world to another. Never meant to have a lasting use or impression on the user, much less a connection to any person involved in the process of making. Our lives can be fuller by reversing this. One mug at a time. I strive to make pieces that will fit into your daily life and elevate your everyday tasks. As well as those special moments.

I get lost in each piece that I make. When I’m throwing a piece nothing is more important than the gesture of the form. When I’m decorating the piece, the mark of the brush carries the weight of the world. While the world fades away, I think about someone using the piece over time and continuously discovering different nuanced aspects of the form and surface. The movement of the throwing line, the boldness of an impressed texture or the juxtaposition of the raw clay and the gloss of the glaze. When a kiln is unloaded and rows of pots are lined up, it might look like they are simply multiples of a form. But when I am making them, the curve and movement of each piece is obsessed over.  And after they are fired, each piece is completely one of a kind to me.

I want these objects that I make to function flawlessly. And to replace the plastic and single use paper and other items that aren’t meant to make it past the season before they break or become obsolete. I want my mugs to be the one that someone grabs for each morning, my cake stand to become part of a birthday celebration, a vase to be filled with wildflowers from your community garden. These pieces of pottery will outlast their counterparts that are manufactured with an expiration date. I hope that they will become full of memories and sentimentality, appreciated because of their beauty, design and thoughtful craftsmanship.

Here are some photos I took of my pieces, in use:

Thrown and altered porcelain vase with flowers from our backyard by Emily Murphy.
Porcelain dessert stand with glass cloche by Emily Murphy.
Thrown and altered porcelain vase with flowers from our backyard by Emily Murphy.
Porcelain cupcake stand with glass cloche by Emily Murphy
Porcelain cake stand with glass cloche by Emily Murphy.

The exhibition is open through December 11th, 2019. Here are their current hours:


One of the best things about living in Minneapolis is the incredible clay community here. It’s not a coincidence that we ended up living here! Every September the Northern Clay Center puts on the American Pottery Festival. It’s a weekend full of pottery: an amazing exhibition (featuring over 1200 pots by 23 ceramic artists!), demonstrations, slide lectures, panel discussions and lots of fun talking shop with all the potters there!

One of the highlights for me was (finally!) meeting Michael Kline in person. We’ve been communicating through our blogs, email, Facebook, and even a phone call from back in 2006 (yes- both our blogs go back that far and then some!). So it really was about time to connect in person.

I had intended to photograph much more of the show than I did, but I was too caught up the the moment didn’t end up taking very many photos. There is really nothing like seeing pots in person! Here is one that I did take of Michael Hunt and Naomi Dalglish of Bandana Pottery‘s work. They weren’t up for the festival this weekend, but they were in town in May for the Upper Saint Croix River Valley Studio Tour.

I wish I had taken some photos of Birdie Boone‘s work or Kip O’Krongley or Sunshine Cobb to name a few. You should check out their pots!

The Northern Clay Center did a great job at getting the demos from the weekend online quickly. This video of Michael Kline and Steven Colby demonstrating their surface decoration techniques was up by the time I got home! It’s great to see Michael do his brushwork. And I have never seen anyone approach glazing the way that Steven does!

Another APF artist that demonstrated was Chandra DeBuse. I wasn’t familiar with her work before- but now I’m a huge fan! If you watch this video of her showing her handbuilding techniques- I guarantee that you’ll learn something new!

I don’t think there is a video of Kathy King- but if you ever have a chance to see her, go! She showed a variety printmaking and image transfer techniques. I have so many things that I need to try now.

A bonus to the clay filled weekend was a visit to my home and studio on Monday by Michael. It was fun totally geeking out – talking about blogging, pots, family and trying to balance all of them. We traded pots too. The chunky dish on the right is now lives in Minneapolis and the mug on the left is headed back to North Carolina with Michael.

I’m now overflowing with inspiration now. I have so many things that I want to work on right now.  I’m back into the studio and I’ve started filling all the horizontal surfaces up with pots again!


I just had to share this photo that I took photo of my *fabulous* daughter this morning. She’s quite a character and definitely an inspiration!

Exhibitions: Collective Conversations in Clay

Collective Conversations in Clay

A collaborative exhibition with: 
I am going to be in a very cool show that opens this week at Lillstreet Gallery in Chicago.  (Please refer to the diagram in the top left corner and follow along.) The show is made up of work from five pairs of artists.  Each ceramic artist made 1 piece(s) from start the finish and another piece(s) halfway.  Then traded the leather hard piece with their partner. The partner decorated, finished and fired the piece(s).  Each pair will display their four pieces. I haven’t seen any of the other pieces yet, so I am really excited to see what everyone did. 

The details:
Lillstreet Gallery
4401 N. Ravenswood
Chicago, IL 60640
Oct. 3 – Nov. 1, 2008
Opening Reception: 
Saturday, October 4, 2008
4pm – 7pm
This show is part of Chicago Artists Month and the Ravenswood Art Walk.
We did a slightly different incarnation of the show last year.  You should definitely check out it out: Being to Being: Collective Conversations in Clay.
I think this is an exercise that every ceramic artist should try.  You learn so much about your own work and your approach to it by seeing your form through someone else’s eyes.  I will be posting pictures of the show soon so you can see the work even if you’re not in Chicago.

Upcoming shows

I’ve been a bit of an absentee blogger lately.  After a summer of travel, I came home to a very busy life (I haven’t even downloaded the photos from our trip yet).  I will get into some of it later in a future post, but for now I thought I would share with you some shows that I will be in over the next 3 months. I’ve been shipping a lot of pots lately!
Platters and Pourers
Juried Exhibiton
Baltimore, MD
September 27 – November 6, 2008
Juror: John Glick
Opening Reception:
September 26, 2008
6:00 pm – 8:00 pm


Ceramic Biennial 2008

Juried Exhibiton

Amherst and French Building Galleries
Manchester, NH.
October 8 – November 7, 2008
Opening Reception: 
French Building Gallery
Friday, October 17, 2008
6:00 pm – 8:00 pm

Invitational Exhibition
Chicago, IL. 
October 3 – November 1, 2008
Opening Reception
October 4, 2008
4:00 pm – 7:00 pm


Juried Exhibiton
Warrenville, IL
October 24 – November 22, 2008
Juror: Simon Levin 
Opening Reception:
October 24, 2008
6:00 pm to 9:00 pm
Juried Exhibiton
Missoula, MT
November 7 – 25, 2008
Juror: Jim Koudelka 
Opening Reception:
November 7, 2008
5:30 pm – 9:00 pm
Invitational Exhibition
Baltimore Clayworks
Baltimore, MD
November 15 – December 22, 2008 
Opening Reception:
November 15, 2008
6:00 pm – 8:00 pm
Invitational Exhibition 
Lillstreet Gallery
Chicago, IL
Nov. – Dec.
Our Cups Runneth Over
Invitational Exhibition
November 1, 2008 – January 25, 2009
Opening Reception
November 7, 2008
6:00 pm – 8:00 pm

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)