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Vintage Paper, Random Photographs, and Antique Books: A Look Inside the Studio of Molly Meng

by Rachel Gregg
craft & maker

Paper artist, Molly Meng, finds inspiration in objects for another era.

“I’m obsessed with anything old,” she explains as she points to the sun-bleached curtains that flank one of her dioramas.

All of Molly’s work has a detailed story behind it. Whether she knows the factual backgrounds of her flea market finds or not, Molly develops characters and complex lives for the artifacts she buys. She is constantly on the hunt for ephemera to fuel her mixed-media art pieces and incorporate into the cards she creates for 8mm Ideas greeting cards.

Molly keeps many of the treasures she collects in the studio space with fellow maker, Robert Mahar, in the Spring Arts Tower in Downtown L.A.

She and Robert moved into the space in 2014 and the transition from crafting at home to crafting in a studio has been a refreshing one.

“Being able to walk into a room of one’s own and sit down with your own tools, your own pencils, your own photos, you own books – it lends a completely different vibe to what you end up creating. Because you have the space to create.”

“At home I can always find a dish to wash, I can always find a dog to feed, or a couch to vacuum or a plant to be pruned. It’s a constant if you are at home. Having your own space is a really huge treat.”

The additional space is used to house a portion of her collection of antique books. It also gives her room to spread out when she’s working on a project and provides both Molly and Robert a place to host workshops and events.

While the actual square footage is limited, Molly makes the most of it.

“I try to keep as much out as possible.”

Being surrounded by her collections allows her to find constant inspiration for her creative projects.

“If I’m stuck creatively and I don’t know what next step to take, I usually pull something off the shelf or I go into my photographs and maybe pull out a stack of photos.”

The texture. The smell. The history. The richness of old stuff allows Molly to create wonderfully layered and dynamic work like her concertina collage books and book boxes.

See more of Molly and her studio space in the tour below:

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Rachel Gregg

Rachel is the content marketing lead for the CreativeLive Craft Channel. Her side hustle is floral design and her day job is awesome. @ms_gregarious.