Getting to know you: Samantha Malay

Each week we ask a Seattle artist to answer 11 personal questions. Last week, Daphne Minkoff. This week: Samantha Malay!


Samantha Malay is one of the artists involved in the super cool project that is the Art Lending Library. It works just like a regular library: you sign up for a library card and then “check out” a piece of art from the collection for up to 4 months (and it’s free!). That’s where we first discovered Samantha Malay’s beautiful metal tiles crafted from vintage postcards of poolside scenes. Like the tiles, much of Samantha’s work combines elements of nostalgia (a postcard, an old movie scene) with reclaimed fabrics and materials.

You can catch Samantha and lots of other local artists at the Art Under $100 holiday sale on December 7th at South Park Arts.

"Poolside #9" (recycled metal, resin, detail from vintage postcard, 5 x 5)



Where is your studio?  My kitchen in South Park.

Native Seattleite or transplant?  Transplant from Germany by way of Onion Creek, in rural northeastern Washington.

What’s on your studio soundtrack? Highway 509, birds, trains, early Freakwater, traditional Arabic music, radio documentaries.

Who is your art history crush?  I would have liked to watch Larry Sultan create his intimate and melancholy family photographs in Pictures from Home.  I wish I’d seen Margaret Kilgallen’s murals in progress, because I love the way she integrated found materials and archaic hand-lettering techniques into them.  I’d like to learn the secret pattern-making math used by Ottoman-era Turkish tile artisans.

What is your favorite Seattle fall activity?  Putting summer clothes in a suitcase like a promise of midwinter travel; afternoon walks to look at brilliant rosehips and smell wood smoke and rain.

Where is the best coffee in town?  A tie between Via Vadi Caffe in South Park and Dubsea Coffee in White Center.

What is the last book you read?  Here On Earth: A Natural History of the Planet, by Tim Flannery; The Innocence of Objects, by Orhan Pamuk.

What is your most treasured possession?  A 1967 Random House unabridged dictionary, a collection of old motel postcards and vintage domestic textiles.

What is the worst job you’ve ever had?  In high school an elderly woman hired me to clean her decaying summer cabin, where tree roots grew into the plumbing, cats lived behind the piano, and dust enveloped books, bedspreads and dishes. I felt like I was getting in the way of the inevitable.

What super power would you like to have?  The ability to instantly put people at ease.

What is your favorite piece on Artsyo (that’s not yours)?  Shaun Kardinal’s embroidered postcard Connotation No. 32.

Thanks Samantha!

See more of Samantha Malay’s work on Artsyo.

"Night Bloom #35" (reclaimed fabric, beeswax, photo, 8 x 8)

"Night Bloom #20" (reclaimed fabric, beeswax, photo, 8 x 8)