Sculptor Nate Hatch owns Nathan Hatch Art, a wood- and metal-based design/build studio that specializes in custom furniture and sculptural applications.
Hatch first discovered a love of sculpture through his artist parents, Wendy Carpenter and David Hatch, the owners of Interfibres Studio. That studio later split to become Interfibres Studio Gallery (Carpenter) and Fine Line Builders (Hatch).
Having grown up in the art world, the budding artist then found direction through the advice of Bob Merline, his high school art teacher at Gibraltar, who set him on a path that led to a bachelor of fine arts degree in sculpture from UW-Milwaukee and a master’s of fine art from the University of Kentucky.
Drawn to the thriving art community that already existed in Door County, Hatch returned home after completing his master’s degree.
“Door County seemed like the best environment to have a home studio/business because so many other artists had paved the way and established the scene,” Hatch said. “I wasn’t reinventing the wheel, and I saw a lot of established artists making a living and having a thriving, happy, creative life.”
Growing up in the Door County art world had shown Hatch a viable career path as a professional artist, and now, as a successful Door County artist himself, he noted that it’s not only that there’s an appreciation for art in the county, but also that an economy has formed around it, making it possible to have a career rather than just a hobby.
“There’s a real openness and embrace from the wider community of the creative economy, be it a studio artist, musician, restaurateur or writer,” Hatch said.
Living in a seasonal area with a dwindling winter population can be tough for some businesses, but the ebb and flow of the population and the quiet winter months work to his advantage.
“When things shut down in the winter months, it can be hard when you have a restaurant or hotel business, but it isn’t as big of a problem if you need that time to be in the studio, or to write, or to just be alone and create,” he said.
Hatch enjoys both furniture-making and sculpture, as well as the crossover he discovers between the two.
“Doing furniture keeps your craftsmanship sharp, keeps your skill set good, and then you can take that skill set and craftsmanship to a piece you’re making out of metal, or a wall sculpture,” he said.
One might assume that bespoke or custom-made art and furniture are only within the reach of the wealthy, but Hatch pointed out that if a person is flexible about materials and project scope, there are always ways to create economical pieces.
“I can’t do anything about the cost of pine versus walnut, though,” he said, laughing.
Visit nathanhatchart.com to find out more, or check out his work that’s currently showing at Edgewood Orchard Galleries in Fish Creek.
If you’re an alumna or alumnus of a Door County school who would like to spotlight a local business by sharing your involvement with it, email Vanessa McGowan at [email protected].