memphis art

The Moon Is Made Of Clay

Hi there!

I hope everyone is having a wonderful week so far. I was messing around with one of my social media profiles the other day when I realized that I should probably explain why my art shop is called The Clay Moon.

As I mentioned in my first post, I started making art to express my pent-up feelings (I know, I know, it sounds very cliché).  Well, I lost my older brother to childhood leukemia when I was eight years old. Most eight-year-old children, like myself at the time, don’t know how to deal with such grief. I just stored it up for when I felt like I could face it- I was around 18. While this was one of the most difficult parts of my life, there were also many beautiful moments. These moments are what inspire me daily and led me to create The Clay Moon.

Everyone in my family has some sort of artistic ability. My dad has always been extremely talented at whatever craft he would decide to delve into on any given week. He most recently made my mother a beautiful farmhouse table that I would venture to say is better than anything you could find in a chain furniture store. My mom has always had this amazing eye for interior decorating and sewing. She has such a gift for making a house feel like a home. Together they are basically the dream team. I had the coolest bedrooms growing up. There were so many customized touches everywhere you looked. For example, I once had this jungle-themed bedroom. They did a technique on the bottom of the walls that looked like tall green grass. Above the chair rail, the walls were this beautiful sunny yellow. My dad made shelves for me that had hand-carved trees as brackets. My mom covered my bed with a lovely quilt that had embroidered vines and flowers all over it and a mosquito net was hung overhead. It was amazing. My parents always had a knack for making amazing things for my brother and me. After my brother passed away, we moved into a new house. It was just too hard to stay there without him, with that empty room at the end of the hallway.  After we moved, my parents put all that they had into making our new house a beautiful place for me to grow up-a haven of sorts.

Even though they were very heartbroken, my parents mustered up all of their love to create this amazing place for me to live. It is that selflessness and love that inspires me to create beautiful things to go in the homes of others, so that they too may have a haven.

As I have mentioned before, my brother had a creative gift as well. He was great at sculpting things out of clay. He was also incredibly smart. With his intelligence and sculptural abilities, he made hilarious stop-motion, clay animation videos. It was truly impressive for a 12-year-old, I will tell you that. Like my parents, he was always using his creativity to make things for other people. He once made me this necklace that spelled out “Sammie” in chunky clay beads. That little treasure, with his fingerprints baked into the clay, in still in my jewelry box. Modeling clay was his art-form, hence the “Clay” in The Clay Moon.

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I was very close to my brother when I was little. I followed him around everywhere and always wanted to get into whatever he was doing. He taught me how to build with Legos, play video games, and even pop the heads off of my dollhouse people (sorry generic “grandpa” doll). He would do whatever he could to make me laugh and I would laugh at anything he did. We were the truest meaning of best friends. One day, we went to the store and picked out friendship necklaces. We decided on a celestial necklace set- two halves that when separated looked like crescent moons, but together made a smiling sun. We always wore our necklaces. My brother was even buried in his. It was just me and my half-moon that was left. It isn’t the necklace itself that The Clay Moon is named after though. It is the friendship that it stands for- a beautiful memory that can never be destroyed.

The Clay Moon was given its name to serve as a reminder to keep wonderful memories alive and to always create beautiful things out of even the deepest hurt.

 

This Is The Story All About How (An Introduction)

Hi there! Welcome to The Clay Moon!

My name is Sammantha Archibald-Stafford (what a mouthful), but you can call me Samm. I am a fine-artist that focuses on nature-inspired paintings (you know, plants, animals, and the like). I am located in Memphis, TN. I have started this blog to provide some insight on why I love creating art and what my work means.

Art comes in many forms, whether it is music, fine art, or writing. I have never been much of a writer, but I love storytelling. One of my main motivations to create art is to tell my story. Everyone has their own story to tell and I believe that each one is special.

My hope is that the works I create and their meanings will make others feel brave enough to go forth and share their stories in their own way.

As a little girl, I loved to make things. I sculpted figurines to play with out of oven-bake clay, colored portraits of my sleeping babysitter (sorry Aunt Lisa), and glued googly eyes on pom-pom balls because I thought they made cute “critters". I suppose I got it genetically, if that's a thing? My parents are both crafty in their own way. My big brother was also very talented at sculpting and creating stop-motion videos. There was many a time that his films featured my dollhouse being overrun by some sort of green, sticky creature.  The desire to create was always there, but one day it became something more. When I was eight years old, my older brother, my best friend, passed away.

I was still a child when my brother went to Heaven. It was hard to face such extreme loss. Earth-shattering felt like an understatement. It is safe to say that I didn’t deal with what happened until much later. I wanted to be tough for my family, but I also just flat-out wasn't ready to comprehend what happened to us. I got a little older and started drawing whenever I had free time. My parents were nice enough to let me paint all over the walls in my bedroom (seriously, they were the coolest). It became my outlet-my escape. When I took art courses in college, I allowed my work to get a little more personal. I was finally able to grieve as well as remember some of my fondest childhood memories through my paintings. I was able to remember how generous my brother was even as a little kid. I remembered when he let me have "sleepovers" in his room and watch Winnie-the-Pooh because I couldn't sleep. I let myself go back and feel the emptiness that rang through our home after he left us.

Art helped heal the broken heart of an eight-year-old me. It has been such a gift in my life, and I hope that my art brings joy, healing, and understanding to those who view it.

There are many themes and elements (nature, family, etc) that inspire my work.I will touch on those in posts to come.

Stay Tuned!

-Samm.