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Katharine Earnhardt: “Invest in handmade pieces”

Invest in handmade pieces. Surrounding yourself with unique items with a story or an experience attached to them fosters a sense of connection between you and the craftsmen who make them, and an appreciation for the craft. It’s these items, stories and experiences together that make a space feel dynamic and fulfilling. As a part […]

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Invest in handmade pieces. Surrounding yourself with unique items with a story or an experience attached to them fosters a sense of connection between you and the craftsmen who make them, and an appreciation for the craft. It’s these items, stories and experiences together that make a space feel dynamic and fulfilling.


As a part of our series about women who are shaking things up in their industry, I had the pleasure of interviewing Katharine Earnhardt.

Katharine Earnhardt developed an in-depth art market knowledge and aptitude for developing client taste through 15 years of experience in the New York and London art worlds. She has worked at notable institutions including the Museum of Modern Art, Christie’s Inc, and Gurr Johns, and conducted extensive research on art value and investment. She regularly speaks, conducts webinars, and leads classes on the art industry, educating designers and other creatives about sourcing and acquiring art. Known for her approachability, transparency, and discerning eye for art, balance, and scale, Katharine instills trust and confidence in her clients and industry colleagues.

Katharine has a dual degree in Art History and Economics from Williams College and a Masters in Art Business from Sotheby’s Institute of Art. Outside of her business, she takes pride in preserving quality time with her two girls and husband, starting a local community service class for children, and being unexpectedly outdoorsy.


Thank you for doing this with us! Can you tell us a story about what brought you to this specific career path?

Sure!I founded Mason Lane Art Advisory in 2014 because I wanted to build a company that made buying emerging, affordable art approachable. I wanted to help the entry level collector to discover new works that they felt connected to long term, and to support them in purchasing art wisely through a thoughtful and transparent process. Another big motivator for me was the desire for balance and career purpose after my first daughter was born. I wanted to be entrepreneurial and to set my own career rules while being present with her and supportive during all of her, and our family, milestones. Starting my own business allowed me to reach those professional and personal goals.

Can you share the most interesting story that happened to you since you started this career?

What are some of the most interesting or exciting projects you are working on now? How do you think that might help people? Last year, in my spare time (ha!) I started a local community service class for girls called Helping Hands Girls Club. I am fiercely passionate about it. There are so many global causes to support and rather than select one, I chose to teach kids how to give back, believing that this will help our world be a better place. I have two daughters (ages 7 and 4), and researching how to nurture their growth, the unique challenges girls face, and ways to support key life skills has become a side passion.

Can you please give us your favorite “Life Lesson Quote”? Can you share how that was relevant to you in your life?

The most important thing I have learned while owning my own business is that your drive needs to come from your internal desire, not from seeking external validation through social media, friends, and the general public. When you pursue goals for yourself, you’re more able to focus on what you can control, accept your mistakes with grace, and continue to grow as a person.

Is there a particular person who you are grateful towards who helped get you to where you are? Can you share a story about that?

I’m grateful for my daughters. They have taught me about optimism, curiosity, self-love, and acceptance on so many levels. Raising kids is such an incredible process because it forces you to revisit the ways you were parented, address how they have or have not served you, and apply those lessons to modern day. It’s an emotional journey that has made me a stronger and more self-aware person. I’m also grateful that I got to spend a pandemic with my three favorite people in the world.

What are your “5 Things You Can Do To Help Your Living Space Spark More Joy” and why. Please share a story or example for each.

  • Incorporate art that inspires you. Living in a space that’s inspired — meaning it lifts you up, calms you down, and continuously interests you — has huge emotional dividends.
  • Invest in handmade pieces. Surrounding yourself with unique items with a story or an experience attached to them fosters a sense of connection between you and the craftsmen who make them, and an appreciation for the craft. It’s these items, stories and experiences together that make a space feel dynamic and fulfilling.
  • Create spaces with different energy throughout your home to match the different energies we all experience. I love a darker, moodier space that feels calmer, a playful area with a pop of color and printed wallpaper, a clean living area and every powder room with creative touches.
  • Don’t wait to make it home. So many people experience decision paralysis because they’re unsure whether they’re in their forever home, and they accordingly hesitate to buy everything from rugs to appropriate foyer storage. They end up buying inexpensive fillers that sap a ton of joy out of living where they are. Be good to your home and it will be good back to you.
  • Get rid of clutter. And yes, I have kids too. You don’t need primary colored plastics everywhere — or anywhere, actually. Clutter, to me, is like a To Do list slapping you in the face whenever you see it; no one wants to come home and see a ton of items they, yet again, haven’t dealt with. Remove what you don’t use, donate what you can, and invest in efficient storage solutions so you can actually take a breath of relief when you walk through that door.

If you could start a movement that would bring the most amount of good to the most amount of people, what would that be?

I would create a worldwide lesson on “How to Throw Out Trash”. I’m environmentally conscious and educated on the topic, and yet I’m still confused and panic that I’m mishandling my soft plastics! Providing the world with clear instructions on how to reduce, reuse and recycle is key. Also, I would make Styrofoam illegal and extinct. It is the worst.

Is there a person in the world, or in the US whom you would love to have a private breakfast or lunch with, and why?

I’d love to meet Lin-Manuel Miranda because he’s taken his talent in the arts — specifically playwriting, and blown it into a movement of education, inspiration, and social justice for millions of people, many of whom would never have otherwise never been exposed to specific stories in American history, musical styles, and charitable causes in need of support.

And if we’re speaking about historical figures, Marc Chagall stands out. He’s a brilliant artist from the early 20th century who created uplifting, soulful work through so many dark moments in history, giving his contemporaries and generations to follow a sense of hope and a belief in love. One of my favorite quotes of his is: “Despite all the troubles of the world, in my heart I have never given up on the love on which I was brought up on or in man’s hope in love. In life, just as on the artist’s palette, there is but one color that gives meaning to life and art — the color of love.”

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