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Emma Hurley

My original pin and ink art of native Califonia ocean life is screen-printed onto t-shirts, hoodies, and other wearable pieces. I hand throw cups and bowls out of clay and hand carve waves, fish, mushrooms, and flowers on my pieces, either into the clay or into underglaze.

Artist Emma Hurley at work

It's almost spring and I am sitting at my wheel three feet from a pile of snow. A most unusual but wildly beautiful occurrence in this coastal California location, the ridge above Point Arena. I ponder how this new landscape might influence the pot I am about to throw.  My water bucket is steaming in the frigid air. I hauled it over from my home, down, and then up the steep rocky trail winding through the Mendocino Pygmy forest to my small half-outdoor clay studio. Here goes: I slap a wedged round ball of porcelain clay onto the wheel, dip a sponge in the warm water and proceed to center both the clay and myself.

My foray into the art of ceramics was a slow backward fall. Normally one touches wet malleable clay first; if structured classes were the route towards learning, hand building is always required before throwing on a wheel is ever allowed. Glazing comes last.  I, however, first touched fired bisque ware and learned the intricacies and stubbornness of glazing and surface decoration before ever playing with wet clay. In 2015, I was employed to help a sculptural ceramicist glaze his large pieces. After months of glazing, I was given one quick lesson on a wheel and given access to the studio. There began my mostly self-taught road into pottery. I still find I focus more on surface decoration than on other aspects of pottery. My wheel-thrown functional pieces are richly decorated with waves, fish and kelp, flowers, and mountains. Before firing, I lovingly hand-carve the still-damp surfaces of my pots, a process that can take hours and hours and makes each utterly unique. I love seeing these functional pieces find new homes in kitchens and new meanings to those who touch and hold the same chunk of clay after me in its new form!

This year I was invited to participate in my first-ever wood firing. A very hot 8-day firing using the natural ash from wood and the highly dynamic environment of an Anagama kiln transforms clay in amazing ways. Look for a few of these wood-fired pieces to be mixed in my normal mid-fired pottery for this year’s Studio Tour.

 I was born on the ridgetop above the community of Point Arena. Growing up barefoot and tangle-haired, I spent every possible moment exploring the wilds of beach, river, and woods. Art projects were dragged outside and I used the natural world as my muse; the inspiration I get from the riches of the wild earth, be it ocean, forest, mountain or river, extends both to my functional pottery but also to my line of ocean art apparel: NorthCoast Brine. My original pen and ink drawings are screen printed by a friend onto a carefully selected garment line. Inspired by the life and environment of the cold brine waters off of Northern California, my goal with the apparel is to encourage ocean stewardship. Many of the species I depict have a long history as human food. Most of us are now removed from the process of catching our seafood and only know halibut, lingcod, or rockfish as square fillets; my wearable artwork puts an image to these common food species that are beautiful, amazing animals in their own right.

Directions to Studio #21 at 45881 Sunset Drive, Anchor Bay. Turn on Sunset Drive across from the Anchor Bay Campground and proceed 1 mile. As you go, keep left at the fork. Watch for the Tour signs: they'll get you to the door.

Studio Tour Hours

August 26-27 September 2-4
10 a.m. to 5 p.m.

​Notifications

This Studio will be closed Labor Day Monday

​For everyone’s safety, pandemic protocols of masking and distancing are observed.

No Public Restrooms

Pets Welcome

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