Saturday, July 12, 2008

Focus On: Melody Murray

Profile: Melody Murray
Melody is a fellow member of EBW Team on As she shares her unique take on the world her work tends toward amazing intricacy and nature themes.

Tell us about yourself. What makes you, you?
I'm a felicitous combination of genetic accidents. Or so I keep telling myself. I'm in training to be a fierce, curmudgeonly old woman but so far have only achieved intermittent crankiness. I grew up in the armpit of the Midwest. When I first breathed the Oregon air, I knew that I was home, and I've lived out here for 14 glorious years. I read a lot, I garden some. I like to cook and draw and bead and write. I am the only female in my immediate environment and most days it feels like I live in a frat house, complete with live lizards, empty milk cartons, and towering piles of skateboarding shoes.

Do you see yourself as an artist or craftsman or both?
I think of myself an artist. I have brooded a fair bit on the division between craftsperson and artist, and it feels pretty arbitrary to me. I have drawn the conclusion, which works for me, that all artists are craftspersons but not all craftspersons are artists. What made you want to be an artist?I don't know that I ever wanted to be an artist, I've always felt like I was one. In much the same vein, I don't think I ever wanted to have brown hair, but here it is. In big staggering letters in my baby book, I wrote "writer and artist" on the Ambitions page. I think I was 4 or 5.
Why beads?
I like the exquisitely small bursts of color, the mosaic-like possibilities. I also like making beads, and am having a lot of fun with lampworking. I hope to start listing handmade beads in my Etsy shop before too much longer! My flameworking studio is currently under construction in my garage. I like working with tiny pieces, and seed beads scratch that itch.

How do you see your style?
Chaotic, untrammeled, experimental and humorous.

What's the most wonderful thing you've made? The oddest?
I think Poseidon's Deep is pretty amazing now that it's been completed for a while. I can't usually tell what I think about a piece till well after it's finished. The oddest thing was a little olive oil pitcher which I covered in tangles of neon green and pink beads for a friend of mine.

What inspires you?
Mostly science, scientists and how everything changes and expands the further into it one delves. Quantum physics is fascinating to me, especially because all the rules change on the quantum level. I'm inspired by the submicroscopic and the super-macroscopic. Cosmology intrigues me, and everything biological. Oxidation, fluid dynamics, cell division. Spooky action at a distance. True love. Music and art and piles of baby lizards in the sun.

What scares you?
The breakdown of civilization. It feels to me lately to me like the spectre of famine riding the horse of social collapse is moving away from the just barely possible and edging toward the probable. Though it's exhilarating to think we might just be able to reinvent a better civilization, my innate cynicism says it'll only get worse. Artistically, nothing scares me.

Tell us about your creative process.
It differs from day to day, hour to hour. Sometimes I sketch out an idea, sometimes I make a pattern and try to stick to it, but mostly I start with a vague idea and a pile of beads and end up with something entirely different than the initial idea.

How did you get on Etsy and where else do you sell?
I read about it on the internet and was intrigued. I went to the site and fell in love with all the fabulous handmade beauty. I mostly sell by word of mouth, to friends and friends of friends.

Describe your shop.
A place to buy one of a kind creations that will make you smile.

Make a recommendation.
Read the Betsy-Tacy books by Maud Hart Lovelace. This series, ostensibly for kids, is so well-written and timeless it deserves a wider audience.
Also- buy handmade & homegrown whenever you can, of course.

Tell us the answer to a question that we didn't ask, but should have. If you can't think of anything, tell us something random.
I have 24 modules on my iGoogle homepage.


  1. What a great interview with Melody! I thoroughly enjoyed it. It's so interesting to be able to look into an artist's life.

  2. A great interview! Melody's work is wonderful and unique, and I can't wait to see her glass beads too!

  3. i really enjoyed this interview, melody and sarah. my favorite parts were the answer to the artist/craftsperson question( i agree with you, melody) and the curmudgeonly old woman answer! hilarious!

  4. Melody's answers were as interesting as her work! I loved that!

  5. I am also a Melody Murray. I came across this blog when I googled my name. Crazy huh? Have I just encountered a fragment of myself? As I read through this, I am amazed at how similar our thinking is. I am a crafty artist. Love to make things with my hand. I live in Hodges, Alabama. I have enjoyed reading this.

  6. So glad you found us Diva:)