Coastal Georgia Originals 2022
July 2022 Issue
Photography by Mike Force Photography
Elizabeth Hayes Holladay
Current Residence: St. Simons Island
Career: Artist/Pottery Studio Manager and pottery teacher at Glynn Visual Arts
Art: Pottery, Paintings
Family: My immediate family... husband Patrick Holladay, and sons Royce and Broden Halderson
When did you discover your talent?
As long as I can remember, I have been an artist. I enjoyed drawing my ventures in crayon early on. Before I was school age, I would sculpt little animals out of marsh mud and hide them around the house for my family to discover. I have always enjoyed telling my story through my creations.
How do you get your “creative juices” flowing?
I feel the most creative after spending time outdoors. A walk along the edge of the marsh is my favorite. There’s always something in nature to inspire me. Visiting art galleries and artisan shops makes me want to try something new. My fellow artist/potter friends are an endless source of creative ideas and challenges.
What do you love most about your creativity?
Escaping into a project or a painting is the best part. I love to get lost in my memories and my own world. When I’m completely focused on creating it is like praying for how I want the world to be.
How did you choose this medium
for expressing your creativity?
I think I was initially drawn to clay as a child because I could make my own toys. Growing up, I tried lots of different mediums and still work regularly in watercolor and acrylics, as well as pottery. I loved stories at the dinner table. Sharing a meal with my family and friends was something I looked forward to all day. That’s why most of my work to date is dinnerware. It allows me to express my love of nature and pass my stories around the supper table.
If you could go anywhere in the world to create your art, where would it be and why?
When I was a child on St. Catherines Island a visiting scientist asked me what I wanted to be when I grew up. I wanted to be an artist of course. I told them I wanted to travel to different parts of the world and make the native animals out of the local clay of that place. I still want to do this, but my favorite place to create will always be my home island, St. Catherines, and my favorite clay will always be marsh mud.
When someone finds out where you are from, what question do they ask you?
When someone finds out I grew up on St. Catherines, a private and pristine island dedicated to research and conservation, the first question is… “How did that happen?” Or they simply state… “No one lives on St. Catherines.”
Well for over 40 years my father, Royce Hayes, did. He worked to protect, nurture and understand that place. So I was blessed to experience a “mostly feral” childhood and later share wild island adventures with my sons, Royce and Broden. Life on St. Catherines was not exactly like Swiss Family Robinson, as my husband is fond of saying, but it was a wonderful and unique experience. I most certainly love where I grew up. I hope that my artwork moves others to do what they can to protect the wild places on the Georgia coast.