How can pottery be both very detailed and extremely simple in form and surface? An answer to this question can be derived from examining Courtney Murphy’s pots. She simplifies her canvas for decoration by using cylindrical forms infused with soft lines and gradual changes in plane. Her color palette is reduced to mostly white and blue with very small and colorful lined up dots creating different patterns. This is where things could go wrong with excess, but Murphy controls the viewers experience by keeping her surface decoration small in scale and her forms elegantly utilitarian, allowing only the details to speak.
Murphy speaks of her inspiration, “My designs are influenced by simplified abstractions of nature, children’s artwork, folk art, mid-century modern forms and shapes, as well as textiles, patterns and historical pots.”
Murphy chooses to make functional pottery partially because of the intriguing way pots move on from her studio to become the daily part of someone else’s life. Having the handmade in one’s everyday life can really prompt moments of quiet recollection, meditation, and personal connection. Murphy draws on the fact that small imperfections and evidence of the artist’s hand really add to the experience of using handmade objects.
“I am also really interested in the act of making and using handmade objects in a world where the handmade can often be overlooked for the more convenient and readily accessible.”
Murphy received a BA in Sociology in 1999 and a Post-Bacc in ceramics from Oregon College of Art & Craft in 2004. She has done multiple residencies including at the Archie Bray Foundation and Red Lodge Clay Center.