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As the daughter of a painter and an organic farmer, artist Molly Hatch spent her youth alternating between creative play and physical labor. This early training ground would prove important later in life, providing the discipline and hard work for life as an artist. Today, Molly's colorful designs and illustrations adorn tableware, wallpaper and furniture.
Name/Location: Molly Hatch/Northampton, MA
Where did you grow up? I spent my early childhood growing up on a small organic dairy farm in southern Vermont in the town of Grafton. When I was just entering high school, my family moved to central Vermont where we lived communally. My parents ran an educational farm program at Farm and Wilderness — Quaker summer camps in Plymouth Vermont. We lived year round on the campus with other staff and their families.
Where did you study/train? I studied at the School of the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston and received a BFA in 2000 from Tufts University through the Museum School affiliation with Tufts. I trained with Miranda Thomas and Ara Cardew working as a production studio potter for a year and a half after graduating. I went on to get my masters degree in ceramics in 2008 from the University of Colorado at Boulder.
What was the first thing you made and sold? That had to have been in college— I cant say that I remember the first thing that I sold, but I do remember trading a drawing with another student at the museum school who turned out to become pretty well known. I remember the feeling at the time — it was really great to think that I had made something that she valued enough to trade for it.
Who is your design idol? I adore Fornasetti. Eva Zeisel had a career that had so much integrity. Her work will continue to be exciting and timeless. I have a hard time deciding between the two!
Where do you find inspiration? History is my muse, most definitely.
What’s one thing you wish YOU had made or designed? This is so tough, I would love to have made some of the medieval tapestries — the unicorn tapestries in particular. One thing I would like to see more of is surface pattern on things we use everyday. I want to see refrigerators, stoves and cars with florals and patterns!
What’s your advice for a designer/maker just starting out? Stay as debt-free as possible! Its worth the wait! Also, one of the biggest challenges in a creative career is maintaining a studio practice. I think that the moment I started thinking about my studio career as my JOB, I started to think things through really differently. It helped a lot to think of making my work as a business. There was a moment when I realized that the traditional model of success=making a living doesn't necessarily apply to creative careers. There are many many visibly "successful" artists and designers who do not make their main source of income from their designs. The result of this realization for me was a general re-defining of "success" in my creative career—I now feel that a sustained studio practice through thick and thin times is true success.
To see more of Molly's work, check out her website: Molly Hatch.
(Images: Molly Hatch)