Hambidge Center

Building a Tower of Bones

Imagine collecting bones all of your life -- your first fox skull as a kid -- saving them up -- and then arranging them so that they form a 10-foot tower. That's what artist Michael Murrell was doing this fall when I was fortunate to meet him at the Hambidge Center in Rabun Gap, Ga. (Check out the final image of the bone tower at the end of the video.) I'm not sure how many skulls and bones he's picked up during his nine residencies at the Hambidge Center and over its 600 acres of woods and streams. But he gives Hambidge credit for providing the inspiration, peace and quiet to get things done.

You can see his work from January 16 - March 6, 2015, at the Chastain Gallery in Atlanta.



Work in Progress

This fall I've started production on a documentary (with the help of photographer Joe Boris) about a woman who was way ahead of her time in many respects, especially as a homesteading entrepreneur. Mary Crovatt Hambidge, born in Brunswick, Ga., in 1885, went to New York to become a performing artist in her 20s and became part of a close-knit artists' circle in the 1920s led by art theorist and illustrator Jay Hambidge (whose name she took). In the 1930s and '40s she gained a national reputation as a designer/weaver/entrepreneur responsible for the Weavers of Rabun (Rabun County, Georgia) and Rabun Studios (New York). Towards the end of her life, she was a tireless proponent of a back-to-nature utopian artist community in the north Georgia mountains that would follow the principles of ancient Greece and dynamic symmetry. After her death in 1973, an artist residency program was born from her vision--and her 600 acres--that is now the excellent Hambidge Center for the Creative Arts and Sciences.

During our last visit to Hambidge, we were fortunate to meet a contemporary weaver, Jessica Green, who's running her own weaving operation outside of Asheville. While doing a fellowship at Hambidge, Jessica put Mary's old loom back to work. It's amazing when things fall into place like that.

Check back for more details as things unfold.

Mary at the loom in her cabin in the north Georgia mountains.

Mary at the loom in her cabin in the north Georgia mountains.

Jessica Green at Mary's loom in October 2014.

Jessica Green at Mary's loom in October 2014.