After taking her first ceramics class in high school, Mollie Jenkins ’15 discovered she had a knack for constructing art using nothing but a pile of brown clay and her hands.
Now, Jenkins has her own pottery business called Molly Jenkins Pottery and has taken her talents to Nashville to design fully functional, one-of-a-kind pieces for her collection.
“I have always loved pottery, but I never thought ‘oh this could be my major, this could be my career,’ until I got to Auburn,” Jenkins said. “I realized I could major in Fine Arts with a focus in ceramics.”
Jenkins started building the foundation for her own pottery business during her undergrad at Auburn. She said she would go to the studio during her free time and make all functional items.
“I ended up selling them to a shop at home first, and that’s what I realized, ‘gosh, people are buying this, so, you know, here goes nothing,’ Jenkins laughed. “I kind of went from there, and I joined the Dean Road ceramics studio and contacted Oliver Henry and they sell my stuff now as well. That’s sort of how it all started.”
After graduation, Jenkins moved back home and made a makeshift studio in the basement of her parent’s house. She would commute to Auburn regularly to fire and glaze all of her work, but she said the drive started to get a little old.
In February, Jenkins and a few of her friends decided they wanted to get out of town and all moved to Nashville. Mollie currently lives just five minutes from her collaborative studio space in the city and works on her pottery full time.
“It has certainly been fun, it has its ups and downs but I really do enjoy it every day,” Jenkins said. “It has been a fun little road to experiment on thus far. I am just kind of going with it and looking for a few shops up here that will hopefully carry my work.”
When describing her style, Jenkins used the words “refined rustic.” She uses more traditional glazes like tans, browns, and greens, as well as a few subtle blues.
“I follow a lot of potters who are more contemporary in their style and it is really clean,” Jenkins said. “I do have a white that I use that is a little more contemporary, but it is just contemporary enough for me to still make it a little more rustic.”
Mollie highlighted one of the aspects she likes most about being her own boss, which was having the leisure to do different things each day. Despite not following a routine, she does try and make sure she gets at least eight hours per day in the studio.
Jenkins said if she could describe her pottery in one word it would be eclectic because she is ever changing and her art reflects that.
“Right now I am not nailed down to six items I punch out on a daily basis,” she said. “I have the freedom to make what I want, and each item is individually created. I go from spoon rests to dog bowls to fully functional lamps. I like to explore, therefore my work is always changing.”