When I arrived at her bohemian Victorian house, resting on a hill in Boyle Heights, she was tending to some fencing around one of her raised garden beds. I received a tour around, and then she prepared an exceptional freshly picked bok choy dish where we dined and caught up. Chats about a southern period film she had just finished filming, her semi-recent travels through China, the organic farm in Malibu she worked on for a month, and the universality and evolution of myths in the history of the human race and the place of myths in modern society based on a famous conversations between Joseph Campbell and Bill Moyers filled the air. One thing I can count on with Sam is lack of dull moments. Meet this incredibly evolved, intelligent, talented being that makes me proud to be an Aquarian.
WHERE ARE YOU FROM
I'm from Pennsylvania.
MOST VALUABLE ADVICE YOU’VE EVER RECEIVED
I'm the worst at following advice. I think about all the valuable advice I didn't heed over the years and it makes me cringe.
YOU’VE BEEN LIVING BETWEEN BROOKLYN AND LOS ANGELES. HOW DO EACH OF THESE CITIES INFLUENCE AND SHAPE YOUR CRAFT
Brooklyn and Los Angeles, the cities, give me a real appreciation for hardware, utility. It’s made me comfortable having the mechanics of my lights exposed. I think my work is equally shaped by the rural upbringing I had. Where I had the time and freedom to take long walks in nature and realize its beauty.
BETWEEN FILMING MOVIES, DESIGNING SPACES, TRAVELING, TENDING A FULLY ORGANIC GARDEN, AND CRAFTING YOUR LIGHT FIXTURES, WHAT DO YOU DO TO UNDWIND AND FIND YOUR ZEN
The things you mention are actually how I unwind and find zen. But I can't say that I've found zen yet. Meditation, exercise and a project that I find exciting make me feel less anxious. Gardening and traveling force me to slow down and observe. They give me perspective and a sense of time.
TELL US A BIT ABOUT HOW YOU TRANSFORMED YOUR OLD VICTORIAN HOUSE’S YARD INTO A FULLY FERTILE GARDEN
I've had a lot of help and it's been, and still is, a long and slow process that involves a lot of trial and error. For about a year we worked on soil restoration, by planting, composting and tilling. This month I finally harvested my first very small crop of bok choy. I'm learning as I go.
TIPS YOU’D GIVE TO SOMEONE STARTING THEIR EDIBLE GARDEN
Plant and observe. The best way to learn is trial and error. Start from seeds. Start composting. And try to purchase as little as possible.
EXPLAIN YOUR PROCESS WHEN IT COMES TO PRODUCING SUCH UNIQUE AND INDIVIDUAL LIGHT FIXTURES
First I look for interesting wood formations and burls. Then I sand blast and treat them. Right now I'm photographing and tracing. That process helps me decide what hardware I'll use, where I'll drill a hole, etc, and it's a great tool for communicating with other craftsman I work with.
Because each piece is the only one, I spend what feels like a really long time planning what I'm going to do before I do it.
WHAT WILL THE EVOLUTION AND FUTURE HOLD FOR YOUR LIGHTS
I'm looking into replicating some pieces, maybe with metal.
WHAT IS YOUR DESIGN PHILOSOPHY
I'm inspired by the natural elements. That's why my lights are made of naturally occurring things. I think that's where beauty is most easily found.
ARTIST YOU ARE MOST INSPIRED BY
BOOK YOU’RE READING AT THE MOMENT
TOP FIVE BEAUTY PRODUCTS
Mud, sand, water, sun, salt. I love buying them and finding them in nature.