We caught up with artist/designer Molly Hatch for a brief interview celebrating the launch of our exclusive Town to Country holiday collection. These whimsical designs include an Advent calendar, a tree skirt, towels, stockings, ornaments, a milk-and-cookie ceramic set, and seasonal bedding. They tell the story of a family from the city venturing out to the country to find the ideal tree, then returning home to decorate it. Molly’s modern color scheme and quirky line art make each design look like festive storybook illustrations.
Here’s what Molly had to say about her inspiration, artistic aesthetic, new book, and working with Garnet Hill:
Q: We’ve noticed that there’s a little nod to the nostalgic in your work. How do your past and upbringing find their way into your designs?
A: My past definitely informs my designs. For the Town to Country collection in particular, I am referencing my memories of growing up in the mountains of Vermont and the gathering of the tree. This story has become the illustrated narrative for these designs. I have the fondest recollections of living among Vermont’s rolling hills, with the stars and a low-hanging moon making the snowy meadows almost glow. There is certainly a wintery magic that happens after the snow first falls. I also loved living in Boston—the city is full of brownstones and the urban winter scene contrasts with the trees and snow-covered fields once you leave the country. You could say this collection is a bit of an homage to my traditions, both past and present.
Q: What are your fondest holiday memories and traditions?
A: One of my favorite holiday traditions with my family is foraging for the tree. We always go on Christmas Eve. As a child, I wanted to get the tree much earlier, but my parents continued a family tradition of waiting until Christmas Eve to bring it home and decorate it. My father is a forester, so he knows the local Vermont woods. We would take a long hike or snowshoe into the woods to find a large tree that had naturally fallen. My father always scoped it out and found it for us before we ventured out. We would usually have to take just the top for our Christmas tree. As we cut, we always said a little thank you to the tree. There really isn’t anything better than retelling family memories as you pull out and hang old and new decorations on the tree. It’s a magical time of the year.
Q: Your body of work ranges from stationery and mugs to ceramic art installations in art galleries. What is your creative process?
A: I began my career as a studio potter, throwing pots and hand-decorating everything I sent to market. I have actually grown two careers from my early potter days; they helped me evolve into both an artist and a designer. All of my work is rooted in history. Whether it’s a piece for the fine-art market or for collaborations like my Town to Country collection for Garnet Hill, I always look back to find the inspiration for the new objects I design and create.
Q: How would you describe your design aesthetic?
A: My design aesthetic is modern yet grounded in the traditional. The inspiration I gather from history is familiar to most of us in some way. Folks who enjoy and collect my pieces feel that they know the object from a past reference point, but at the same time, these items are unexpectedly modern, new interpretations of past treasures. In many ways, my designs become icons of the past and its traditions as well as fun, witty interpretations of something very familiar.
Q: Your work is so distinctive, so whimsical. Where do you find your inspiration? Which artists and artistic movements inspire your work?
A: I particularly love the opulence and craftsmanship of the 18th century. I think my handwork makes the 18th-century aesthetic more folky and quirky, which I love. There is so much happening in this time period, so much to reference!
Q: Your book A PASSION FOR CHINA launched November 21. Please tell us all about it.
A: To read from the book, “As we move through our daily lives, eating breakfast, sipping an afternoon cup of tea or gathering for a family dinner, the patterned ceramic objects we live with are precious witnesses to our stories. We eat from them, they warm our hands after a cold walk outdoors and we pull them out to celebrate the births, marriages and lives of our loved ones.” A PASSION FOR CHINA is a personal celebration of the everyday beauty of tableware. I explore the family stories behind beloved items, the bowls and cups we have inherited or chosen with love and care. I also bring the history of porcelain, potteries and patterns to life with an informal eye for fascinating detail. This book is a tribute to the rich heritage of the vintage plates, jugs, and pots that make our homes our own.
Get into the holiday spirit of the season with our latest collection, including exclusive Molly Hatch designs.