One of the coolest parts of being at The Hambidge Center is learning about its history. Mary Hambidge (fascinating character) moved to these 600 acres in 1934 with a vision: to establish a place where artists could reflect, create and return to a way of living that was sustainable, good for the land and for us.
I feel that vision whenever I walk through the woods here, and not just because I often come upon stone ruins, old spring houses and other remnants of past life. I can think so clearly when I walk these trails alone. That's what Mary wanted.
But my five weeks here are almost over. So I've taken part in a Hambidge tradition, one that allows me to become part of The Center's history. On the mantle in my studio are several cutting boards, each covered with the names of creative thinkers and artists who've spent time here. Each of Hambidge's cottages has them. I've scoured the ones here in Son's Studio, reading the names and the dates, which go back only as far as 1988.
One guy wrote “first novel” next to his entry. A sculptor noted, “I almost burned the place down.” But most residents just write what they are, what they worked on while they were here. Poet. Visual artist. Novelista. Photographer. Painter. Writer.
What I love about this place is you can be whoever you want to be, create whatever you want to create.
Under my name, I think I'll write “journalist.” After five weeks here, my identity has blurred – got a little “artist” and “writer” in me now. But journalism is still at my core.
Wonder what I'll call myself next time I come to Hambidge.