Svoboda Finds Her Calling as Ceramic Artist and Small Business Owner
Tuesday, June 8, 2021
Molly Svoboda never intended to pursue a career as a ceramic artist.
As a high school student who was also dually enrolled at St. Louis Community College, Svoboda earned an associate degree in general transfer studies in 2017. While taking classes at STLCC-Forest Park, Svoboda received the support and encouragement needed to turn her passion for ceramics into a profession.
“While I never planned to study art or become a production potter, I enrolled in a ceramics course because I needed an art credit,” Svoboda said. “I took a pretty immediate liking to ceramics and was encouraged by so many of my professors and family that I eventually decided to see where it took me. Looking back, it isn’t really a surprise because I was always interested in crafts.”
Today, Svoboda is the owner of Boda Clay, a company she first started in 2018. Each week, she spends several days in the studio creating art. She also devotes time to completing tasks needed to get her pieces into the hands of her customers.
“I have a wide range of responsibilities, but I try to break them up throughout my week so I can balance my creative side with the management side of owning my own business,” she said. “There are so many things that I love about my job, and I am really thankful to be here doing this. I love the potential energy of what Boda Clay can become, and I can see it growing in a million different ways.”
While COVID-19 continues to affect business owners, the onset was especially shocking for Svoboda.
After the studio she had been using shut down, she worked quickly to redesign her work, adapt to the kilns she had and focus her attention solely on Boda Clay. She also switched over to selling wholesale work almost exclusively since popup shops were not happening.
“I am ultimately so grateful for these challenges and for the support I received from other small businesses in this city,” she said. “I would not be here without them.”
Reflecting on her experience at STLCC, Svoboda said she is most grateful for the connections she made as a student at the College.
“I had a great time at STLCC,” she said. “I had some amazing teachers and made some long-lasting connections. I actually share my studio with two friends I met through my classes at Forest Park’s Art Annex.” Svoboda has a few words of advice for others who are interested in a ceramics career.
“Keep creating work and always make things in multiples,” Svoboda said. “While it is normal to feel stressed about what to make stylistically, it is important not to rush the process. As you get to know yourself, it will become clear.”