Year Graduated: 2019
After being born in St. Paul, Minnesota in 1995 and moving around for a while, Molly spent the majority of her childhood being raised in Lake Mills, Iowa. She took a liking to the fine arts at a very young age, when she became involved in dance, music, and art. It was in third grade when Molly’s elementary art teacher, Heidi Kayser entered Molly into her first art exhibition; since then, Heidi has been a huge inspiration throughout Molly’s career as an artist and art educator. During high school, Molly studied art under Carol Dahn. It was through Mrs. Dahn’s classes where Molly excelled in her techniques, creative capacities, and experimentation in the art room.
Molly attended South Dakota State University after graduating from Lake Mills High School in 2014. She [eventually] decided that Art Education was the right career path for her, so after switching majors twice she joined the rivalry and enrolled in her first year at the University of South Dakota. Molly’s first year at USD proved to be successful as she exhibited in the annual Stilwell Exhibition, and she was able to meet the professors that would inspire her daily. Through much consideration, Molly decided on a ceramics specialization because her professor, Michael Hill, was one of the main professors that pushed her as both an educator and a personal artist. Aside from the Stilwell Exhibition, one of Molly’s greatest experiences in her undergraduate studies was being selected to go on a trip to New York City, where she was able to meet with current artists and spend time with her classmates. It was on that trip where Molly met Will Cotton, an artist who has since inspired her with his infectious personality and sweet artwork (he has a lot of paintings with candy—pun intended).
Currently, Molly is working towards her degree in Art Education, and she will soon graduate with a Bachelor of Fine Arts. From there, she hopes to get her first job as a high school art teacher, with the ultimate goal being to pursue a master’s degree on the east coast. Once Molly graduates with her MFA, she aspires to one day teach at the collegiate level.
As an Art Education student, many times I would leave the studio not feeling like a “real artist.” My peers would have bodies of work formed around concepts that stemmed from social issues, and there wasn’t anything in that realm that I felt passionate enough about to dedicate my undergraduate career to. It wasn’t until after taking classes with both Professor Liz Heeren and Professor Phillip Michael Hook that I discovered my love for precision, craftsmanship, color, and the elements of design. Recently, Professor Michael Hill and I have been experimenting with different techniques that can help me grow as an individual artist, along with focusing on where my true passion lies—with my future students.
My current body of ceramic work explores cylindric forms using high-fire and low-fire clay bodies, some of which can be incorporated into my own future classroom. I have been doing a great deal of experimenting with underglazes, focusing on both basic design elements and color theory. The original designs shown on my pots are a personal study of shape, precision, and new techniques that I have been introduced to through other art educators. These educators have influenced me to try alternative processes for decorating pots such as monotype printing with Gelli plates and marbling underglazes using shaving cream. My hope was that by incorporating these processes, I could expand my knowledge to other emphases and better prepare myself for my teaching career. This body of work is largely influenced by ceramicists Julia Claire Weber, Meredith Host, and painter Will Cotton.
Aside from solely growing in ceramics, it was very important to me that I find the time to excel in other emphasis areas as well. Being a future educator, I realized my biggest fear was going into a classroom and being under prepared due to the skill set I presented my students. The mixed media series that is displayed in this show gave me a chance to push myself out of my comfort zone and incorporate other media that I wouldn’t commonly use into my practice as an artist. This series of seven was made in response to my thoughts about graduating college after I started reminiscing on certain women who shaped me into the person I am today. With myself being represented in the middle, I am surrounded by six of the most influential women of my adolescence through the color, flower, and song that I associate with each other them.