We often post pictures of the beautiful, colorful and perfectly painted plates that we send out to families each month. What you don’t see are the hours of work that go into making sure each and every plate is exactly to the parents’ wishes. We have several artists that spend countless hours each week creating these beautiful keepsakes. One artist in particular has been with us since those first few plates in 2010. Hannah Forbush began painting for Mamie’s back when we stocked the actual plates in our hospitals, when the prints were applied directly to the plates and when all plates were being created at a local pottery studio. (We now use a special transfer paper for the prints, have our own kiln and all production takes place at the Mamie’s office) It takes a special person to be able to paint these keepsakes, knowing what each one stands for and knowing there is a grieving family that will soon receive it. Thank you Hannah for all of your hard work and dedication these past 10 years!

Hannah Forbush and her son Elon.

How did you first get into painting?

I got into drawing when I was in middle school but I didn’t really start to paint much until I got a job working at Firefly Pottery Studio when I was 16. That’s where I was introduced to Mamie’s Poppy Plates. I was training as an artist and the owner was the one painting those first few batches of Poppy Plates. She had an emotional time and she didn’t think she could handle it so she asked if I would take on painting the plates.

How has the process evolved over the past 10 years?

When we started off painting them, the prints were already on the plates. As we began to get more orders, we switched to a type of tissue paper to transfer the prints and then I do remember when we switched over to the transfer paper. We started with maybe 10 a month, we would get them here or there. And now I’m up to 25 – 30 plates a week.

What choices do parents have when it comes to customizing their plate?

They get to choose between 3 designs – a solid rim, a striped rim or a polka dot rim. and then we have probably 12- 15 different colors they can choose from. If they pick solid, they pick one – if they pick stripe or polka dot they can pick two different colors.

What do you think about while you paint?

Honestly, when I am painting them, the easiest thing is to not think about what I am painting. Because if I do, it does get kind of emotionally difficult to handle. So, in the process of painting, I’m thinking colors and lines and stripes. It’s usually when I put the names on that I start to think about the family and the baby. I just think about how difficult it must be for those families to name a child and then not get to live the life they expected with that child. So, that’s probably the hardest part – putting the names on. So, honestly the easiest thing for me to do is kind of detach and think about other things.

How many plates do you think you have painted over the last 10 years?

I have not even considered that calculation. It’s probably been close to 1000 – 800 or something like that. I could probably do the math but it would take a minute.

Hannah and her husband Scott also teach and perform partner acro. They began training together when they first met in 2014 and started Arkansas AcroYoga LLC in 2016. They perform with Arkansas Circus Arts.

Why do you enjoy painting for Mamie’s?

For me, it’s always been nice for me to have a way to express my artistic side. I also do it because it gives me a way to get a little bit of time for myself to sit and paint. It’s kind of a meditative process for me.

I just love this company. I love working for Mamie’s Poppy Plates. It’s just such a peaceful environment. As a believer, it’s wonderful to work for fellow believers and amongst fellow believers. I think it provides a comfortable and humble community to be around. So, I am really grateful to be a part of it.