The Interview: Molly Coombs Marr

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Interview Claire Deakin / Images Molly Coombs Marr

Hi Molly, what is it that you do? 

I make jewellery inspired by my favourite Australian animals, plants and things. I hand-make each piece in my little apartment using polymer clay.

 Where were you born, and where do you live now? 

I was born and raised on a farm in Grafton, a little country town in Northern NSW. It’s a funny place. My family always joke that it runs about 20 yrs behind the rest of Australia. So right now Grafton is still in the mid-90’s, minus all the exciting, colourful fashion.

Straight after finishing high school I moved to Sydney and I’ve lived here ever since.

What are the main sources of inspiration for your work? 

Australiana – without the tackiness. The Australian plants, animals and paraphernalia that you can’t necessarily find at typical memorabilia shops, but still make you nostalgic for your Australian childhood, or proud of its unique beauty.

When you’re not designing or creating, how do you like to spend your time?

I’m a real sucker for swimming and a big fan of the outdoors, so if I’m not working there’s a good chance you’ll find me in the surf, gardening or hiking in the bush.

The majority of my jewellery is directly inspired by Australian nature, so I find a lot to work with when I wander through our national parks and beaches.

What is your creative process when designing a new piece?

My creative process generally involves sitting cross-legged on the couch, often with a cat by my side and Netflix running, working on one piece at a time. It’s a real no fuss way to work on my designs, and means I can do it in my pjs if I want.

Which artists and/or designers are you loving at the moment?

So many! I’m loving the clothing created by Alice Nightingale and Abbey Rich, Edith Rewa’s botanical headscarves, the beautiful Australian textile prints of Julie White, and Bonnie Gray’s incredibly colourful paintings.

Where is your favourite place to travel?

That’s a tough one. For someone whose designs rely almost exclusively on Australia, I really haven’t travelled domestically as much as I’d like to. I’ve been to Tasmania on a seven-day hiking trip of the Overland Track where I had my mind blown by its natural beauty. So in terms of future travel, I’d love to explore Tasmania more and Australia in general.

In terms of places I have already travelled to, I can’t narrow it down to just one. NYC, a tiny Greek island called Kithira, and Amsterdam are definitely up there though.

Creatively, what would you like to improve upon, or know more about?

Honestly, knitting. Textiles in general really, but definitely knitting. My mum tried to teach me when I was a kid and I thought it was incredibly lame, but now I’m really drawn to it. Plus, I’m a big wuss when it comes to winter so I’d love to be able to knit myself some woolly things to combat the cold.

Do you have a secret talent?

I can play the trumpet. I learnt when I was about nine and continued to play up until I was eighteen. My parents have my old trumpet and I reckon I could still pump out “When the Saints Go Marching In.”

Where can we see your work?

On my website: www.mollycoombsmarr.com, or on Instagram @mollycm.

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