Molly de St André ’96
Owner, Moho Designs; Ceramist and Teacher
Molly de St André is a world traveler who has always pursued her passions—from ceramics at Bard College at Simon’s Rock, to teaching abroad, to running a successful screen printing and graphic design company.
Pursuing both an interest in art and teaching after college, Molly moved to Afghanistan—“on a huge leap of faith,” she said—and taught ceramics in an apprenticeship program, before being named the director of curriculum. She also used art and movement to help Afghans of all ages who had suffered from serious trauma, and trained teachers to continue her work after she left. Molly has worked closely with the deaf community, both in the United States and internationally, in language intervention and the arts.
Rockers, quite literally, often choose the less traveled road: In 2011, Molly and Aurélien journeyed 6,000 miles through Afghanistan, Iran, Turkey, Greece, Albania, Montenegro, Bosnia, Croatia, Slovenia, Italy, and into France aboard an old Volkswagen minibus that they renovated using scrap metal. Along the way, they created hundreds of portraits taken with an antique 40-pound pinhole camera and later exhibited locally.
During her first two years of high school, Molly’s precocious intellect was not sated by the typical classroom setting, so she decided to take the initiative and apply to Simon’s Rock.
“I was so bored in high school. I was ready to be done, and I’d only been there a year and a half. I was really interested in learning and the learning process. I was that kid in the class that asked a million questions and drove my teachers absolutely nuts!”
Molly arrived at Simon’s Rock with long-standing interests in both ceramics and teaching. However, after working in the ceramics studio during her first year, her passion for the art form deepened, and ceramics became the primary focus of her coursework. Molly knew what she wanted out of her education at Simon’s Rock, and by her second year was choosing courses not only based on the subject matter, but also because of the faculty. “I was really able to say, ‘These are the people that I want to follow around, that I want to hear more about.’” For Molly, what set the College apart was the ability to get to know her professors and learn what they were passionate about.
One of Molly’s quintessential Simon’s Rock memories was writing an essay for Seminar 1 as a first-year student. “I actually got to say what I was trying to say.” As she worked over revisions, she remembers the professor saying: “It’s about making this statement—and working through it, and talking through it—and making it make sense.” Molly often reflects on those words. “Simon’s Rock is really where I grew up as a writer.”After college, Molly dedicated several years to international volunteer work in central Asia. She worked with disabled and vulnerable children, and trained local teachers and childcare providers in methods to support these children through yoga and the arts. She returned to Great Barrington, where she and her husband are raising their children. In addition to running Moho Designs and Petit Pilou, she also serves on the board of directors for the Berkshire Co-op Market and co-runs the Great Barrington Arts Market.
“Ever since I was at Simon’s Rock this has been my home. ”
She recalls being on campus and taking in the beauty of the surroundings and saying to herself: “Wow, I can’t believe I live here. This is amazing.”
Simon’s Rock is college now for motivated younger students ready to realize their intellectual and creative potential.