UPDATE: February1, 2022
Last month we published an article about ceramic artist Mandy Stapleford. The article should have read, “She and her husband built a stage on the property and produced community Shakespeare performances in 2011 and 2012.” We would also like to add that you can see Mandy’s current creations at Ennui Gallery, on Bent Street in downtown Taos.
A Force of Nature
Mandy Stapleford is a force of nature, a voice of wisdom for Mother Earth, and a visionary—able to turn thoughts into beautiful objects.
She landed in northern New Mexico from the east coast in 1998. Like many before her, Mandy’s is a “Taos” story. “I was heading back to the Berkshires in February of 1998 from Los Angeles, and I stopped in Taos to help some college friends build their earthship [home]. I worked in a restaurant, tended bar, and waitressed,” Mandy said. “Within six weeks of living in Taos, I fell in love with the community.”
Mandy is an artist, a writer, and the creator of Good News, Good Planet (GNGP), an alternative non-political news outlet that she contributes as a monthly column to The Questa Del Rio News. She also airs a weekly show on KNCE 93.5 radio, weekdays at 8:20 am, 12:20 pm, and 5:20 pm. You can find the column at goodnewsgoodplanet.com.
Mandy created GNGP in 2015, with the guidance of a few friends. Since then, she’s written over 400 stories, and counting. “It began because I am friends with KNCE and asked them: Why don’t you guys read some good news in the morning? Rita O’Connell looked at me and said, ‘Why don’t you do it?’ Max Moulton showed me how to use [the software] Garage Band and told me what kind of microphone to buy. I began with recording it in my studio,” she said.
Mandy lives in a straw bale home that she envisioned and constructed, along with a large studio on her property. She puts on Shakespeare performances there, which boasts a stage. “I built my house in seven months flat!” Mandy said.
Her talents aren’t just limited to radio news; Mandy is also a ceramic artist. Her art, words, and passion are a confluence visible in each piece she sculpts. Her recent show, “A Nobility of Beasts; a Ceramic Narration of Bestial Assemblage,” is a creation of sculpted beings with an accompanying book (mandystapleford.com). Mandy features both mythical and “real” creatures. She describes her work as figurative, fantasy sculpture and influenced by gargoyles. “I have been putting horns on things since I was six years old. I have always done clay. I love architecture and architectural ornamentation. Only recently, in the last two years, have I moved into sculpting real animals,” she relates. “My mother was an artist and always supported me as an artist. She died when I was 30.”
Mandy says, “We are part of this earth. We come from it, and we are all connected… every single living thing. When we care for her, we care for ourselves,” she emphasized.
When asked how long it takes her to make something, she explains that it takes her whole life! Realistically, though, it takes about seven hours for each little piece, including an octopus, her latest creation. “The process is very involved. It is lots of crossing your fingers,” Mandy said.
When she speaks about “A Nobility of Beasts” she adds, “I want this to travel to natural history museums… to give a voice to animals and as a series on animals that have been brought back from the brink of extinction. This ties right into Good News, Good Planet. It is about hope and success.”