Hilary was raised on Cape Cod, Massachusetts, in a highly creative family. She grew up in an old house with a sprawling expanse of yard, great big gardens, a spooky marsh, and a veritable circus of animals. At one point or another, her family has had dogs, cats, hamsters, rabbits, guinea pigs, gerbils, pheasant, quail, chickens, chameleons, a crayfish, a pegasus, a parakeet, and a goat.

Her parents encouraged all of her artistic pursuits and odd little personality quirks, so Hilary spent her childhood drawing pictures (of pets real and imagined), running barefoot through the dunes, making masks, climbing trees, building fairy houses in fields, building forts in the marsh, and writing and illustrating her own stories and plays. In middle school, she won a kiwi-carving contest at her local grocery store. Several years later, she was awarded a summer scholarship to the Truro Center for the Arts at Castle Hill for her three-dimensional piece titled “The Herring Run,” in which she covered dead herring in paint and stamped them onto paper.

Hilary earned a BFA in Writing, Literature and Publishing from Emerson College, with a concentration in Children’s Writing and Illustration. From 2002–2012, she managed The Spirit of ’76 Bookstore & Card Shop in Marblehead, MA.

She is the Assistant Director of Summer Art Barn, an art camp for kids in grades 2-8, and is the co-author of Art Sparks: Draw, Paint, Make, and Get Creative with 53 Amazing Projects!, published by Storey Publishing on September 17, 2019. She is also the founder of Bubo Arts Collective, a nonprofit artist-in-residence program currently in its infancy.

Hilary has been on Animal Planet and NPR, is a card-carrying member of the Hedgehog Welfare Society, and is the great granddaughter of Admiral Nimitz. To read more about her creative process and the business of being an artist, you can read her interview with the cultural journal The Orris.

How to contact Hilary
email: hilaryemersonlay@gmail.com
Etsy: etsy.com/hilaryemersonlay
Facebook: facebook.com/hilaryemersonlay