Molly Anne Bishop can’t remember a time when sketching and doodling wasn’t a part of her life. “As a kid, nothing made me happier than when everyone just left me alone and I could draw in peace,” she laughs. Not much changed as she got older, as evidenced during her first pottery class at Virginia Commonwealth University’s School of the Arts where she started immediately trying to translate her quirky style on her first clay object. “I remember trying so hard to draw on this cup, but I didn’t really have the skills or the right materials,” Molly says. It wasn’t long before found them, though, and things really started to come together when she discovered sgraffito—a technique that involves painting colored slip over unfired pottery and then etching designs into it with an X-Acto knife.
The style is most commonly used to create line or floral patterns, but in Molly’s hands, it translates to wide platters covered in graphic novel-esque vignettes (a woman standing in front of her open refrigerator with the mantra “Please, please let me make all the right choices”) and intricate, cheeky patterns like nude bathers interspersed with palm fronds. Though her intricate pieces might seem too special to eat off of (and they do look great hung on a wall), the Chicago-based artist feels strongly about putting them on super functional plates, vases, and bowls. “I love to hand-build dinnerware because it comes out imperfect and wonky. Just like my drawings!” And that’s just how we like ‘em too. —genevieve ang