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Desi Murphy

desi murphy st cloud

St. Cloud-based artist Desi Murphy has been designing clay pieces for over 25 years. She works with porcelain and stoneware that is high-fired in a gas kiln. Her Scandinavian Modern style prioritizes clean lines, functionality, and a neutral palette. Murphy received her BFA from the College of St. Benedict and exhibits her award-winning artwork throughout Minnesota. She is also the owner of Desi Murphy Pottery, a commercial pottery studio and gallery located in North St. Cloud.

“My connection with clay was instant - it felt like an extension of who I am. After a few more classes, I decided to pursue a BFA in art with an emphasis in ceramics. Three years after declaring my major and one semester from graduation, I panicked fearing that I would not be able to find a job And so, I started on a path toward nursing. A path I pursued for more than a decade."

Desi Murphy, artist"A few years ago while finishing my nurse practitioner degree, I had a realization that I wanted to become a full-time ceramic artist. This was twenty-five years after I had taken my first pottery class. My decision to become a full-time artist left me with a feeling of peace. That decision connected me with a craft I simply can’t imagine my life without. Today, I am thankful for everyone who has supported this dream of mine.”

In her work, Murphy focuses on craftsmanship and perfecting her process, simple forms, and materials that emphasize a clean aesthetic. For added control over the aesthetic of her work, she develops and mixes her own glazes. As an artist, she strives to achieve an elegant combination of practicality and sophistication. 

Though the time commitment of being a full-time artist can be difficult, there are so many exciting aspects of it for Murphy, too. “Juggling the time commitment of this new journey and my family has led me to adopt new habits which have elevated my productivity and allowed me to grow as an artist. Recently, I have been working on larger projects, like public art, and have started exploring the realm of fine art (sculptures, wall hangings).” 

“My current art exhibition “VOID: Presence in Absence” is an exploration of Scandinavian Minimalism, an art movement in which all non-essential elements are eliminated. Through this removal of elements, a single underrepresented element is accentuated: space. This negative space, the area between the components of a piece becomes the focal point. The void or absence of components becomes the focal point. The absence becomes the presence.”

You may have seen Desi Murphy’s name or work in the community, as she’s connected with a variety of groups and businesses. “Businesses purchase drinkware, tableware, wall art, or public art. I make everything from logo merchandise and corporate gifting to restaurant tableware. I also create custom art pieces for businesses taking into consideration their space, values, and mission; I work with each company individually to design a concept that works for them.” You can find her work locally at Bruno Press, Korppi Coffee + Bakeshop, Kinder Coffee Lab, City of St. Cloud, and St. Cloud Tech High School, as well as at Duluth Coffee Company and Fika Coffee in Lutsen. 

Desi Murphy“Community members and businesses value quality handmade art and have been very supportive. Through this journey, I have gained many authentic connections - for which I am grateful.”

If you’re looking for unique pieces or items for your local business you can support during the upcoming holiday season, you can visit Desi Murphy’s studio during her upcoming sales: 

  • Fall Sale, October 21st (10a-4p)
  • Black Friday/Shop Small Saturday, November 24th + 24th (10a-4p)
  • Winter Sale, December 1st + 2nd (10a-4p)

“My studio is located at 726 7th Ave N in St. Cloud. The atmosphere and energy of these sales is quite special - there is art, music, food, drink, and community. If you can’t make it to one of my studio sales, simply contact me at to set up a studio visit.”