Molly Reeder is a visual artist, baker and world traveler born and raised on the East coast of the US. Inspired by the power of narrative and community, she brings people and story together through the practices of baking and art.
We connected with Molly and she turned her creative energy toward sharing her daring — and we are excited to introduce her to you!
Daring Spirits: Tell us about a decision that felt really bold.
Molly: I suppose the most bold decision I have made in recent years was when I decided to move from New Orleans to New Zealand. I left a well-developed community and life in New Orleans for unknown land, not knowing a single person living there. I had worked in Australia and decided I liked living abroad. When I learned I could get a similar work visa in New Zealand, I jumped on it. My plan was to just float until I don't want to anymore, and then settle down somewhere.
In theory, it sounded so romantic and dreamy and easy; in reality, moving across the world was extremely challenging, trying, and scary. Of course, when we do things that challenge us and feel bold or enliven our spirits, rewards are sure to follow. I ended up living in New Zealand for 2.5 years and gained an incredible community of wonderful friends there now, along with many new experiences and personal growth. I found a sort of happiness that I never expected by challenging myself in the ways that I did during that transition.
Daring Spirits: Describe a time when things went "wrong" and then the Universe delivered.
Molly: I was baking at a cafe in Wellington, my first job after settling down there. I showed up for work one morning and learned that I wasn't scheduled at all for that day, or for the rest of the week; my manager had changed my hours without telling me. I had woken early to come in, and was counting on this job for income. I felt very panicky and upset as I realized I didn't have a reliable job, so I took a long walk along the bay to think things over. I saw that I had to quit and look for something else. I decided I would walk until I felt better (being by water always calms me down), and then search for other cafes to bake in.
While I was on this walk I got a call from an organic grocery that I had given my CV to when I had first arrived, over 2 months earlier. The manager wanted me to come in for an interview! It felt like a very clear message, and a gift, from the Universe. I ended up working for that company for the rest of my time in New Zealand. I became the baker of the shop, creating new recipes and, most importantly, developing a community of people that I now hold dear to my heart. It was by far one of the best jobs I have ever had. If I hadn't given up on the other job, perhaps I would not have said yes to the new one, or even gone in to interview!
Daring Spirits: Beach or Mountains? Sweet or spicy? Window or aisle?
Molly: Beach AND mountains. But more so beach, because I love the water.
Ah, I would like to say sweet AND spicy. I used to have much more of a sweet tooth when I first became a pastry chef, but now I think I would say spicy. Also, living in New Orleans for 10 years surely makes you grow a certain love and tolerance for the flavor.
Window. I love looking at the shapes of clouds, and it is a treat if you get a sunrise or sunset as well.
Daring Spirits: You guys. Picking up and moving to the other side of the planet? That’s some bold daring! Thank you, Molly, for chatting with us, and for making the world a more delicious place!
There’s so much more to Molly’s story, we couldn’t end the interview there! Here’s a little more:
Recently Molly has spent time volunteering in Sofia, Bulgaria, becoming a Baker Without Borders within the Bread Houses Network - a social enterprise bakery model that brings people from the community together to make and enjoy bread together.
Find out more about this incredible program at www.breadhousesnetwork.org.
Her current art project captures the energy of nourishment in a fresh, fun way. Molly is collecting photographs of people's favorite kitchen spaces and, from them, creating a series of illustrations. As she travels (currently in Europe) and lives far from her home, collecting and drawing these kitchens has become a meditation and comfort.
She would like to draw as many kitchens as possible, building a work of many people's special places that bring them personal joy and nourishment, and in turn providing the same to her in the art-making practice.
If you have a kitchen that you would like to include in this project, email Molly at email@example.com. She is also very happy to take other drawing commissions, including portraiture. View her work and message her at www.mollyreeder.com.
photo: Molly Reeder