Swatch of the Month Inspiration featuring Fabric Swatch in New Leaves White/Sand; Fabric Swatches in Abstract Concrete with Metallics and Tonal Paint; View of a display in Mary’s Weave Shed highlighting “Process in Work” by Natalie Chanin and Rachel K. Garceau. Photo: Rinne Allen; Loom in Mary’s Weave Shed highlighting “Process in Work” by Natalie Chanin and Rachel K. Garceau. Photo: Rinne Allen; New Leaves Corset Kit; Studio Bundle #3.

September’s Swatch of the Month reflects on the creative process and journey in each of us. Using the New Leaves Stencil design, natural elements come into play and call back Natalie’s monthlong residency at the Hambidge Center during the summer of 2018. 

Mary Hambidge dyeing yarn; image courtesy of the Hambidge Center

The Hambidge Center, the legacy of famed weaver Mary Hambidge, is a creative residency program nestled on 600 acres of forested mountain terrain in the North Georgia mountains, near Rabun Gap. The residency program was formalized after Mary’s death in 1973, and it preserves the belief that disconnecting from the modern world to commune with nature for a period of time generates deep thinking and creative ideas. It is open to creative professionals in the fields of visual arts, writing, music, dance, culinary, textiles, and/or the sciences. The Center believes in a classic, self-directed residency where they provide a simple place for creative development and production, based on an individual’s wants and needs. Included in the residency are living quarters and a studio space, along with a support system for artists and scientists to provide room for creative encounter.  

Swatch of the Month inspiration featuring the grounds at Hambidge Center, 2018, Photo: Rinne Allen; Plain Cake Tea Towel Kit; Mary Hambidge, date unknown, courtesy of the Hambidge Center; You Are What You See: A Trilogy of Books Based on the Library of Mary Hambidge by Elizabeth Lide, 1995; View of the gallery in Mary’s Weave Shed highlighting “Process in Work” by Natalie Chanin and Rachel K. Garceau. Photo: Rinne Allen; New Leaves Stencil.

Hambidge hosts a series of programs for the public that include artist talks, nature hikes, grist mill visits, gallery openings and other special events. In addition to their Rabun Gap campus, Hambidge has a Cross-Pollination Art Lab in Atlanta, which offers many opportunities to artists as well as the public. 

They perform ecological restoration and land stewardship initiatives on their campus–citing it as a rural historic district that is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. They are also preparing for a new facility, called the Antinori Village, in order to offer workshops, curated residencies, and leadership retreats. The underlying purpose of a new facility is to share the experience of nature-inspired creativity with more people.  

Thanks to a grant from the National Endowment for the Arts, Natalie was awarded the residency program in 2018 and the experience allowed her the freedom and space to create.  

Elizabeth Gilbert writes in her lovely book Big Magic, “We are all makers by design.” It is in our very DNA to make, because when you look back in time and the trajectory of your own family, you most often find, as Gilbert puts it, “…people who were not consumers, people who were not sitting around passively waiting for stuff to happen to them. You will find people who spent their lives making things. This is where you come from. This is where we all come from.”

In her creative journey, Natalie acknowledges, “I understand that this is where I come from and that to be a full and well-rounded human, for our society to be well-rounded, we have to make and we have to create space for creative thought and endeavor to emerge.”

September’s Swatch of the Month: New Leaves Dove/White in Backstitch Reverse Appliqué 

Exercise the creative process with our Swatch of the Month, Studio Bundle, and DIY Kits, all inspired by Natalie’s time at Hambidge.  

Learn more about the Hambidge Center here and how you can support them here.  

Read Big Magic here.  


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