WRK Katie Ridley Murphy

Hand Carved Porcelain Banana


Katie Ridley Murphy has a hard time throwing away the fruit in her fridge. “When they start to decompose, I think they look so pretty,” the Atlanta-based artist says, explaining how the idea to create a porcelain banana came from observing produce spoiling in the cold-storage box. Murphy hand-picks one banana from the bunch and chisels a similar decomposing form out of raw black or white porcelain, usually while holding both simultaneously. In a similar process to making dried fruit, the sculpture is dried out for a week, then fired in the kiln, dipped in a clear glaze, and finally fired for a second time. Accounting for shrinkage in the firing process, Murphy recreates every detail at 20 percent larger than the original specimen, whittling grooves and dents by hand. In total, each takes nine days, give or take, to make.

The material—imported porcelain from Barcelona—affords just the right amount of minutiae Murphy gets while subtractive carving. “The attention to detail in each porcelain piece is unique, and each can stand alone,” quips Murphy. This is true of all the fruits of her labor—a menagerie of passionfruit, lemons, sumo oranges, papayas, and more. “You can add pieces to make your own still lifes,” or perhaps fashion a Carmen Miranda–worthy assortment of fruit into a hat.

9.5" x 4.5" x1.5"

Made to order

Lead Time
3 weeks

By The Numbers:

1 real banana (for visual reference)
1 lbs in mass
2 hands
3 carving tools 
2 materials
25 hours carving 
168 hours drying out porcelain
24 hours kiln firing
24 hours worrying of each piece exploding in Kiln