This month, I wanted to introduce my new studio mate, Jesse Murphy, founder and designer for Murph MFG. He makes handcrafted goods with an eye for simple and beautiful construction and design. It's nice to see another bike on the sign post outside the studio on any given day, but especially these days, when I know it's Jesse's bike because I know he's already at his workbench making new things! And that is awesome.
Tell us a little about yourself.
I'm 27 years old, married to a beautiful woman, and I'm always late.
Tell us a little about your craft/ design aesthetic.
I make jeans and leather goods, all by hand, and without much speed. In the past, I was trying to offer a variety of clothing, but have recently narrowed it down to just jeans. I want to do a great job with what I make, so I've decided that I need to reduce the clothing to just one item and just focus on jeans.
The leather goods are wallets, belts, phone sleeves, and key lanyards all made with simplicity and function in mind. There is one more piece in the line (a tote bag), I suppose bridging the gap between the leather and denim.
What started you designing?
Initially, I was wanting something that I couldn't quite find and/ or afford in stores. I was on a trip to New Zealand and discovered a sewing machine at the place where I was staying. I made it most of the way through a piece and gave up on it to make a hoodie out of some drapery. It turned out well enough that I kept going with it and haven't stopped since.
What are you up to these days?
Well, still settling into my new studio space, and getting ready for New Craft Coalition (May 31 - June 1, 2013). I've also been spending about half my time screen printing lately. I really enjoy screen printing. It was probably about ten years ago that my friends and I would cut stencils and spray paint images onto t-shirts. It was a lot of fun, but not very practical. Nearly every time I do a print job, I'm reminded of how tedious it was cutting stencils, and I'm amazed what you can do with silkscreening. I generally print for other people (clothing companies or events, etc.), so it isn't quite the creative outlet for me that sewing is. I think it's good to have a job that pays money while trying to establish a handmade brand though.
(This is a bag design Jesse has been making lately. They are stunning. Photos courtesy of Market Collective)
What do you like best about travelling in your city?
hmmmm...probably that I can almost always count on it being sunny.
What do you never leave home without?
My Leatherman - it's a multitool.
Tell us a little about your bike.
Almost every piece of it was a gift! It's an old bike, but it's still amazing. It has twelve gears, brakes, straight bars, a rack, and lights. It's great - perfect for me, and I am so thankful to have it.
What is your philosophy?
hmmm... that I have to be honest with everything I do and make. Fakes will be found out, so you may as well be authentic. Is that a philosophy?