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In Conversation with Hattie Molloy
Friends & Partners
April 13, 2022

Vivacious, infectious and eclectic: all words that fill your mind as you step inside Hattie Molloy’s playful home in Melbourne's inner north. Flanked by her effortlessly cool mother, Lou, it’s obvious that much of Hattie’s flair was inherited from her. These days, Lou takes on a much more active role in Hattie’s life as a full-time carer.

Last year, Hattie was diagnosed with a neurological condition — a disability that impacts her everyday life. Not one to let that affect her output, Hattie’s work and reputation have gone from strength to strength in the last couple of years with no project too grandiose. A favourite here at Incu, Hattie creates floral installations, objects and photos that truly inspire all those who are lucky enough to catch a glimpse.

Read on where we find out more about her special relationship with her Mum and get an insight into her marvellous creations, including the installation at our new Chadstone store.

Welcome Hattie, tell us a bit about yourself.
I’m a Melbourne based designer working across multiple disciplines including installation based floristry, photography and product design.

Were you a colour inside of the lines type of kid?
Definitely not. I found traditional school challenging and was always interested in art over academics. I left high school when i was sixteen to pursue more creative pursuits.

Escaping reality legitimately. I’m not here to reproduce nature, I want to transport people to another otherworldly place they didn't know could exist.

Who did you want to be when you grew up?
I always wanted to be a florist as a child and my grandmother would take me to my local florist shop where I would sit and ask questions and spend time with the girls there.

You’ve discussed on social media your health journey this past year. Could you tell us a little about it and how its changed your outlook on your work?
I’ve had to adapt how I have worked and the commissions I take on as I now have many physical constraints due to my neurological condition. Even though it’s been extremely challenging it has pushed me to reimagine my career path as I look to different streams of work that allow me to work within the constraints of disability.


    You and your mum seem very close. Tell us about your relationship?
    My mother and I have always had a close relationship and has always been my biggest supporter. Mum has become my full time carer as well as helping me return to work. We have faced many difficulties in life but have always been able to deal with things with a sense of humor. Our saying is if you don’t laugh you cry!

    There’s a real sense of surrealism in your creations, where does this stem from? 
    Escaping reality legitimately. I’m not here to reproduce nature, I want to transport people to another otherworldly place they didn't know could exist.

    2021 saw your first foray into sculptures and objects which feels like a natural evolution of your work, how’s that transition been?
    This natural progression is exciting as I’m keen to experiment with new mediums like metals and glass all the while incorporating botanical elements. I’m also excited by the idea of creating pieces for people that they can live with and eventually pass on. There's something very satisfying about making lasting sculptures vs ephemeral based work.

    How does the act of creating relate to your personality and who you are?
    I don't see my personality and creating as different elements of who I am, they are all encompassing.

    Inspiration takes shape in many forms, where do you draw yours from?
    I really enjoy looking through books at the moment, especially ones about art, product design and landscapes. I love to scan pages with images that spark an idea and print for my visual mood boards.

    Talk us through your creative process. Where do you begin?
    It all comes very intuitively. The process isn’t always linear or exactly the same. As I work across multiple different mediums each process is also very different depending on whether I’m photographing, making a sculpture or working on a large scale install. I just think it is important for me to always stay true to my vision whatever I do creatively.

    How does the way you think about your craft influence the way you dress?
    I don’t! I dress for myself irrespective of what I am doing, my work can be very messy but I will still always wear something fabulous that brings me joy. I’m not too precious about getting things dirty.


    How did the Incu Chadstone store project come to life? Tell us about the different elements.
    I wanted to create a large scale garden. I initially drew inspiration from the facade and marble colours. I wanted it to be playful and inquisitive, reflected in the plant choices, almost like running through a Summer field of grasses and hot pokers. I love the way the tall Japanese maple tree’s canopy hovers above the window and its foliage crosses over the shoe display creating an Alice in Wonderland moment for customers as they shop.


    What can we expect from Hattie Molloy in 2022 and beyond?
    I’ve come to an acceptance of working within my limitations going forward. It’s hard to predict what the future holds as my condition is so unpredictable. But I look forward to expanding my range of vases, working on larger permanent sculptures and doing more botanical installations in the public sphere. I have some exciting projects coming up that I know will push my design boundaries into a playful new direction and as always keep the journey fun.

    Discover Hattie's work here

    @hattiemalloy

    WORDS BY PETER BAIN
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