- Sierra Smith
Maybe you’ve seen her at Warehouse 4 Coffee in Vandalia or hanging out at Press Coffee in Dayton. Local artist and woman-of-all-trades Samantha Chamberlain is one of the sweetest people you’ll ever meet, and she’s insanely talented.
Since she was young, Chamberlain has always been immersed in art.
“I come from a creative family. My dad does a lot of metal work, my mom draws, my sister takes pictures and my other sister paints, so I’ve always been around it,” Chamberlain said.
She paints, draws, tattoos, makes pottery and has her own web store, High Hope, where she sells her creations. If you know anything about pottery, you know it's a hard and messy craft, but it was something she fell in love with.
"I had an itch one day to take a ceramics class, and it just started from there," she said. "I remember finding some clay in a lake bed and I always have weird things in my car, so I had a jar and a fork and I dug up the clay and made my first little pinch pot. I was like, 'I'm gonna sign up for a ceramics class,' and I just went from there."
When she’s not in the studio, Chamberlain draws inspiration for her work from nature, whether it is from plants, botanicals or morel mushrooms.
“I’m definitely influenced a lot by nature and plants,” Chamberlain said. “When I first started ceramics, I mostly wanted to make vessels to put my plants in, and then I kind of got into making stuff like cereal bowls, and now I just make all kinds of stuff.”
When you step into her studio, beautiful black and white drawings of flowers, paintings and prints by friends and small bowls and ceramics decorate the bright, welcoming space she created within an old firehouse on Markey Street in Dayton.
Aside from being a lover of nature, Chamberlain is also inspired by the incredible art work her friends create. Her boyfriend, Chris Merritt, does woodwork; her friend Emily Lux is a tattoo artist at Glenn Scott in the Oregon District, and her friend Brenden Schindler of Hive, the new art gallery in town, creates clothing, draws and paints.
“I don’t know what it is about it, but seeing other people creating things just makes me want to make stuff too,” she said.
If she weren't an artist, Chamberlain said things would be much different for her. She uses her art as a way to channel her positive energy.
"If I were to stop doing art, I think I'd be really depressed, probably," she said. "Creating things actually gives me a high of being happy. When I get sad I just start painting, and I literally just forget what I was even sad about."
Some day, Chamberlain hopes to have her own standing store to share her work with the rest of the world, but for now, she plans to keep busy by creating and collaborating with her friends. This spring, she hopes to do a mural of an apple tree on the bridge near 2nd Street Market, since she’s never painted anything that large before.
“It’s a challenge and I like challenges. I like to do new things,” she said.
Chamberlain is definitely an artist you'll want to keep an eye out for in Dayton. If you want to see some of her art, some of her beautiful creations will be on display at the art gallery Hive at 508 Wayne Avenue. She also plans to do a ceramic show at Press Coffee in the near future.