December 02, 2011

Holiday Shopping Saturdays at the NKB

My studio will be open the next three Saturdays! Stop by December 3, 10 and 17 from Noon-4pm. Other studios in the building will be open as well. Shop handmade • Shop local! Help keep NE Mpls a vibrant arts district—we really appreciate your business!!!!
I have a great selection of pottery, art tiles and ornaments available.
Click here for a list of studios open Dec. 3 in the building.

November 07, 2011

Seeking Studiomate!

We're looking for a studio mate in my ceramics studio. Please contact me if interested or pass on if you know someone that may be looking in the Minneapolis area.

June 22, 2011

Getting Organized!

Besides from getting a great glaze load with lots of tests out of the kiln this week, I'm also really proud of getting all my design patterns FINALLY organized into binders. At first glance, this might not seem monumental, but it is going to save me so much time finding things and I've had the binders, sleeves and dividers sitting on my workbench for at least 6 months. Every time I decorate, I'm digging through a messy pile of transparent patterns trying to find the one I'm looking for. Now I can spend more energy on new designs and getting work made instead of searching for lost patterns. Yay!

May 31, 2011

From Inspiration to Decoration

I get a lot of questions about how I get my ideas and develop my ceramic designs. While I get a lot of my source material for the illustrations from vintage quilts and textiles, I am always looking for bits and pieces of inspiration everywhere. I like to take little visual treasures that strike me and reinterpret to be fresh and new while still speaking to the original material. I thought I'd share my creative process on a new plate design from inspiration to final fired art piece. A while back I picked up an old coffee table book on trees at the thrift store and loved some of the illustrations showing the tree bare and with full leaves.

I spend some time sketching to come up with a design that I'm happy with and then draw a final sketch at the scale I need for the piece I'm planning to put it on.

Then I make a pattern using a piece of clear vinyl shower curtain liner. This way I can see through the pattern to place it on the piece and can reuse it over and over without it wearing out.

Once I've transferred the design, I "stitch" it onto the plate while the clay is still leatherhard and add slip dots for texture. Each stitch and dot is applied individually, by hand. I don't use any kind of roller or transfer or stamp like many people assume.

After drying, I then paint on underglazes, bisque fire, stain and wash, glaze and fire again. My process is time intensive and has MANY steps to achieve the result I want.

The final plate after firing in my electric kiln. I'm calling this design "Winter into Spring". I think I may apply it to some tile designs and it's also making me feel inspired to create a four seasons series in the future.

Hope this helps show the work that goes into making a piece of my handmade pottery. It is a lot of work, but it is a labor of love and it's worth it when the first fired pot comes out of the kiln.

You can find them for sale here in my etsy shop!

Or, visit my studio for First Thursday in the Northrup King Building, studio 394 this upcoming Thursday, June 2 from 5-9 pm. Check out the new sculpure garden outside the building and enjoy a Root Beer Float courtesy of the building. Then come in and enjoy looking at some great art.

May 17, 2011

It's Art-A-Whirl This Weekend...and I'm up on my Soapbox

This upcoming weekend is Art-A-Whirl 2011 in Northeast Minnepolis. Art-A-Whirl is the largest open studio and gallery tour in the United States. We are super lucky to have such a diverse and energetic art community here! When you come to Art-A-Whirl, you are seeing artists studios, seeing how and where the work is made, talking directly to the artists and often buying directly from the artist or at least close to the source. This is a really fun, interesting and unique event. Most of the artists spend months making work and getting ready to invite the public into their studios and galleries.

I usually try to be an optimistic and cheerful marketer, but I'm just going to get up my soapbox for a few minutes. Most of the artists I know work HARD and spend long hours designing and making work, marketing and selling. And often selling for less than our work is worth. Yes, we are very lucky to get to do what we LOVE, but it is our job and most of us can't just do it "for fun"...we actually have to pay the bills and make a living. And, unfortunately a lot of us are feeling the economy just like everyone else and are struggling.

So, if you value having such a rich art scene right here in Northeast Minneapolis, now is the time to come out and support us. Come to look around, talk to us, and hopefully spend some money. You can feel good about spreading the love around in your local community and ensure that we're still here down the road making beautiful things for your homes. It would be a really boring place to live if the only places left to buy art were big box stores.

Event Hours:
Friday, May 20 • 5-10pm
Saturday, May 21 • Noon-8pm
Sunday, May 22 • Noon-5pm

More information:
Northrup King Building (Find me in studio 394)


May 07, 2011

May Giveaway - Win a Berry Bowl Set!

I am doing my first ever giveaway this month! How do you use my pottery/tiles in your home and daily life? Customers are always telling me about that favorite mug that they fight over, or how that vase looks just perfect in their living room, but I rarely get a chance to see it. I'm hoping to put together an album that I can pull out when I get that perpetual art fair question, "Well, I just love it, but what would I do with it?" Send me a digital picture showing my work in your home, on your table, or otherwise in use, and get entered in my May giveaway. You will be entered once for each image submitted. Submit as many as you like. By sending me your photos, you are agreeing that I may use them on my blog, facebook page, website or in-studio (of course, anonymously, without your name or other personal information listed.) Include your name and contact information in the email so I know where to find you if you are the winner, and also any other story or note about how you use my work. I will be taking submissions through the end of May and will be drawing the winner on Friday, June 1, 2011. Email submissions to: Or, you can also drop off prints or a cd at my studio or mail them to me at: Emily Dyer; Northrup King Building; 1500 Jackson St. NE, Studio 394; Minneapolis, MN 55413. I can't wait to see them!!!

April 21, 2011

And Now They are Fired...

A couple of blog posts ago, I shared some sketches that I discovered in my ongoing studio cleanout. The finished plates just came out of the kiln and I'm really happy with them. I think they successfully reference the folk art quilt themes that inspire me but with a fresh, more contemporary twist and in my own illustrative "language." I read somewhere once, that you should never trace anything when creating illustrations but always redraw it free hand while referencing the source. This way it will always be translated through your own eye and hand, making it unique and special. This stuck with me and I always use this technique when creating my designs. The first batch of plates is available for sale here

April 09, 2011

A Warm Welcome to Our Newest Studio Mate...

She's here! We just moved our newest studio addition in today and she's big, blue and beautiful! We've been limping along for the last few years with a very old northstar slab roller that was demanding repairs and replacement parts fairly often. Another clay artist moving out of my studio building was selling this pristine, hardly used 6 foot Northstar slab roller and I decided to splurge and buy it. It has a larger roller, larger work surface and is much heavier duty than our old friend. I can't wait to start rolling slabs for more trays and tilework, but first I have to finish a round of glazing and fire a kiln full of orders this week before I get to play.

March 17, 2011

What once was lost...

I have been pretty good about sticking with my 15 minutes of organizing each day I'm in the studio. I'm starting to get past the surface clutter and move deeper into the abyss. It's amazing what I unlodged from hiding places in only about 20 minutes of studio purging and organizing this afternoon. The highlights:
• A whole batch of berry bowls thrown, wrapped in plastic, and then lost in the back of my wet rack. These must have been abandoned last summer in the third trimester of my pregnancy. Totally dried sad!
• My little metal decorating turntable which I have been looking for since I got back in the studio this year!
• A plastic tub filled with cut out hearts carefully wrapped in between layers of fabric and plastic. These were an abandoned valentine's day project from TWO years ago. Also totally dried out.
• A stash of sketches, including these super cute oval plate designs that I never made. These were a treat to discover. I don't even remember when I drew these, but I think now that I've found them again they will soon find their way onto the next batch of plates! I love the one on the far right with the ruffly leaf and crisscross flower/pod design.

March 16, 2011

Spring Studio Clean Out Super SALE!

I am cleaning house, or rather, studio! It's time for all those imperfect but-still-lovely seconds, older pieces and mismatched pots to find new homes. I need to clean off my shelves to make room for new work and new ideas. I usually only do this once a year, if that, so make sure to visit my etsy shop and get them at sweet prices while they last. Whatever is left will be available in my studio on the First Thursday in April (April 7 from 5-9 pm, Northrup King Building, studio #394). My studio mates will be clearing work out too! Part of the impetus for this purging is a renewed commitment to getting things in order. I'm taking Alyson Stanfield's online Get Organized class this month and hope to make some headway taming my habit of piles of paper everywhere and email overwhelm. With the chaos my two little guys create in my life I need to do anything I can to keep things simplified and organized. I've already listed some sale items in the shop, and will keep posting throughout the month.

March 09, 2011

Web Design Department? Oh yeah, that's me!

Minnesota Monthly • December 2008

Since I'm stuck at home with a sick baby (poor Winnie) I've been trying to get some website updates done! I scanned and uploaded my press clippings which have been sitting on my desk forever. I can't believe how long it took. Every time I do something like this I wish I could afford a web guru to do this stuff for me. If you haven't checked out my website recently, I've moved it over to a new host, big black bag, and completely redesigned it. It will give me the capacity to easily add some new services (like custom online gift registries for weddings, etc.).

Minnesota Monthly • December 2009

March 08, 2011

And they're out of the kiln!

Here are the first round of fired and glazes dishes from the molds I made in the workshop I took last month with Hiroe Hanazono. They have some imperfections and a few glaze problems because I was rushing them through to see how they would work out, but I am pretty happy with them. They're adorable and I am learning so much from trying the process out. The ideas are simmering of where I could take this and I'm already seeing some larger flower shaped serving dishes in my future! Now, just to find the time. These are not in the etsy shop yet, as they're only prototypes, but I did just list some cute new lunch plates here. As my 4 year old pointed out, they're just the right size for your peanut butter sandwich. He's now requesting some with "boy" designs: trains, dinosaurs, robots...It would be a different subject matter for me, but they sure would be darn cute. What would you like to see on your lunch plate?

February 25, 2011

First Casts!

I finally got a chance to try out the slip casting molds I made in the Hiroe Hanazono workshop I took earlier in the month. I haven't done a lot of slip casting, so the whole process always feels a little intimidating to me. Here are the molds full of slip, waiting to set up so I can pour it out.

Here are the first casts out of the molds! I definitely have some work to do on fine tuning my molds and forms, but I'm excited about the potential. It seems like it could be a great way to add some new more complex forms to my body of work. Now just to find the time...

P.S. Happy Birthday to me!!!!

February 23, 2011

Where, oh where, have I been?

I can't believe how time has slipped by with a new baby around. I feel like I blinked and five months have gone by in a second. It's hard to get back to posting once you're out of the habit, plus a moment to myself to think feels rare these days. Baby Win (Edwin) was born on September 9, 2010. He's been a great baby, pretty mellow and generally happy. Eli turned 4 at the end of December and he's a really attentive big brother. Win thinks he's about the best thing around! Trying to manage everything both at home and the studio is definitely a LOT harder with two kids, but I'm trying to figure out the right balance.

I'm just really getting back to the studio in earnest. The boys will have childcare for a few afternoons a week and I'm really excited to get back to work. First thing is to start restocking after being out of the studio for the past 5 months (plus the last months of my pregnancy when I couldn't throw). Plus, I have a bunch of new ideas simmering.

While I haven't been back in the studio too much yet, I treated myself to a workshop in Chicago at Lillstreet Art Center earlier this month. It was two full days (my first weekend away from the baby) with Hiroe Hanazono, From Template to Mold. Her slip cast forms are amazing! I am currently coveting one of her multiple compartment serving trays. We learned her techniques for constructing forms for slipcasting and how to make multiple part molds. This is something I've always felt intimidated by so it was really great to see Hiroe's tips. I can't wait to make some test pieces in my class molds and to design some more pieces to try this technique on. I can't believe I carried two heavy plaster molds halfway across Chicago on foot, bus and train, and then home on the plane...and they both made it home safely.

I also drove down to Gustavus Adolphus College in St. Peter, MN on Tuesday to give a demo and lecture to the beginning ceramics class. I graduated from Gustavus as a studio art major (I won't tell you what year!) and it was where I took my first ceramics class and fell in love with clay. It was fun to go back, see what had changed and share some of my techniques with the students.

Now, to get my hands back in the clay!