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!!!