Merging design and art together, artist Molly Hatch creates one-of-a-kind ceramic art. Her whimsical work is contemporary, but also historical.

Hatch’s ceramic art is inspiring, leaving us hungry for more. (Yes, that’s a food pun. Deal.) So Artists Magazine sat down with the artist to learn more about how she brilliantly merges fine art with fine dining.

Two Identities, One Artist

The Smithsonian Cooper-Hewitt National Design Museum was home to Molly Hatch’s 2014 installation, Recite.

Molly Hatch has two art identities. At once, she’s respected for her decorative plates and dinnerware designed for such trendsetters as Anthropologie.

And in the art world, she’s equally respected for her remarkable “plate-painting” installations. The Museum of Fine Arts, Boston and the High Museum of Art, in Atlanta are just a few institutions to have exhibited her installations.

Hatch earned her B.F.A. at the School of the Museum of Fine Arts, at Tufts, and then received her M.F.A. in ceramics from the University of Colorado. Today, the artist works at her studio in Massachusetts, creating limited-edition collections and collaborating with museums. Hatch also shares her creative approach through workshops, college courses and instructional books.

The Ceramic Process

Ceramic Art | Ceramic Artist | Molly Hatch | Artists Network

This whimsical place setting is from Hatch’s debut collection, “China Blue.”

Hatch considers herself a painter “who just happens to choose the surface of ceramics instead of canvas.” She not only takes into account the aesthetic aspects of a plate, but also the context in which they will be used.

What’s more, Hatch’s passion for fine ceramics doesn’t stop there. Her book, A Passion for China: A Little Book About the Objects We Eat From, Live With and Love, explores the history behind fine china and tableware, as well as celebrates the role ceramics play in the everyday.

“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,” she writes.

Honoring the Past

The artist has dedicated significant time to reimagining ceramics from the past, but with a contemporary twist. “The skill and detail in decorative art history is always rich with ideas,” says Hatch. “I love studying 18th-century European and Chinese export items. And, I often see ways to make these objects from the past relevant in a new way through my work.”

Ceramic Art | Ceramic Artist | Molly Hatch | Artists Network

Floral imagery from the Chelsea Physic Garden in London inspired Hatch’s installation, Physic Garden.

One of Hatch’s proudest and most ambitious pieces is her 400-plus-plate installation, Physic Garden. Installed in 2014, she was inspired by two Chelsea factory plates from the High Museum’s Frances and Emory Cocke Collection of English ceramics.

This ceramic art display mimics the Chelsea Physic Garden — a botanical garden in London in 1673. The plates were created in the Chelsea “Hans Sloane” style of the early 1750s.

Make Way For Ceramic Art

Ceramic Art | Ceramic Artist | Molly Hatch | Artists Network

The Clay Studio in Philadelphia held Hatch’s first solo exhibition. Titled “Mimesis”, the show included painterly collections of ceramics-as-fine-art cups.

Hatch provides a renewed vision in the decorative arts world. She’s also playing a pivotal role in making ceramics part of fine art.

“I want people to view plates as one would view a painting,” notes Hatch. “Rethinking a medium that is so familiar and part of our daily lives is essential to exploring the relationship of history and the contemporary.”

A version of this story, written by Allison Malafronte, first appeared in a past issue of Artists Magazine, which you can find here.