A studio visit with Keavy Murphree

The LES team recently traveled to Nashville for a studio visit with Keavy Murphree. It is always a treat to see our artists and their work in person, especially when the destination is as cool as Nashville. Murphree grew up in Chicago and Florida and chose Nashville to base her family despite not having any family or friends there. However, 12 years later and she still feels like it was absolutely the right choice. The city is vibrant and alive. The art and design scene might be small, but it is thriving. 

Murphree rents studio space at a pottery studio co-op called "The Clay Lady." Founded by Danielle McDaniel and intended to be a community for all types of artists. McDaniel's mission is to foster community, and she does this through classes, workshops, and school programs. Artists of all levels rent space: sculptors, hobbyists, retirees, and full-time artists like Murphree. Some are there for work, and others are there to escape or heal. McDaniel's mission is to support art education and allow people to create wherever they are in life. The large pieces of equipment are shared co-op resources. Murphree's studio is large and sun-filled. The perfect space for her to work.  

Keavy's creations are delightful. Funky creatures and whimsical face jugs line the shelves mixed in with treasures collected over the years. Sweet ceramic designs made by her children, 7 and 10, sit next to art books and vintage treasures. Face plaques glazed in warm neutral tones and striking metallics line the walls.  

Murphree is happiest when she has her hands in clay. She explained how there is nothing like that feeling for her. It revives her whenever she starts to feel bogged down by the administrative logistics of being a full-time artist. Formally trained as an industrial designer, Murphree appreciates technical craftsmanship, and you can see it in her work in details like the hair on top of the face jugs or the perfectly formed horns on her Bullys. Murphree's work is about emotion. Her new series of face reliefs deal with loss and anger. Other face jugs were inspired by the feeling of "just being over it." Murphree created other work simply because it delighted her. In everything, Keavy makes you can tell she has fun. She doesn't take herself or her work too seriously, and it shows in the lightheartedness of her ceramics. 





Photography: Natalie Black
Studio Styling: Lauren Sands