A unique art pottery vase, this jewel was created by Eleanor Murphey of Sunstone Pottery in Bend, Oregon. A full time potter since 1976, Eleanor owned her pottery studio and gallery in La Jolla, California prior to moving the pottery studio to Bend in 2003. Using a wax resist glaze process on high fired stoneware. Eleanor bases her work on the craftsmanship and aesthetics of the Arts and Crafts movement, very evident in this gorgeous bowl form vase. She apprenticed with award-winning master potter Cathra-Anne Barker after attending the College of Marin where she studied pottery and ceramic sculpture for two years.
The body of this vase is a reddish brown stoneware clay. The geometric designs appear carved but are actually created as the wax burns away, leaving a textured surface. Four large diamond shapes with a sunburst pattern in each one have red centers and are outlined in a dark green. That color was used for three stripes at top, center and bottom. The top and bottom rims are cobalt blue and the same color outlines the triangles of sky blue. It's signed on the bottom, etched in script in the clay: Eleanor Murphey '88, making this one of her earlier pieces. The words "SUNSTONE POTTERY" are stamped along one edge (difficult to photograph, but if you squint, it's readable).
This is not a small vase, measuring 8 inches tall and 8 inches wide, with a circumference of 27 1/2 inches around the belly. The mouth is 3 3/4 inches in diameter and the base 4 1/2 inches across. It weighs 3 pounds, 7 ounces and is in very good condition, with no cracks, chips or hairlines. There is a tiny glaze skip on the dark green trim of one diamond shape that partially reveals the brown clay underneath (shown by the red arrow). For fans of American art pottery and the Craftsman style, this vase is a real find. As Eleanor has said, "It's a vase, but it's also a painting."
>>>Watch this video as Eleanor is interviewed in June, 2011 on Oregon Public Broadcasting about her work: