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Cindy Hamlin

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Cindy Hamlin

EVERYONE HAS A STORY and mine began in the rainy Pacific Northwest. I had a very happy and adventurous childhood. My first real home was on a hill with a view of the Salish Sea from every room. It was surrounded by a garden designed and nurtured by my family. We also had two cabins that we built from scratch — one on an island and one in the mountains — where we spent weekends and summers with family and friends. I had a lot of freedom as a child and spent most of my time outside. My days were filled with making camps, following animal paths, digging holes, exploring the beach, and watching wild creatures nest, burrow, climb, and build. My most impressionable teacher was nature, and she taught me to observe, reflect and find my own comfortable sense of place.

Cindy Hamlin

A tragic avalanche took away my parents and our mountain cabin when I was 15 years old. I suddenly found myself having to adapt to new surroundings while rebuilding my life. My sister had just begun studying art at the University of Washington, so we were no longer living together day to day. I was lonely and lost, hanging precariously onto the happy memories treasured in my heart. This was a dark time, but also the beginning of my next step in the creative journey of self-discovery. It was the natural world where I felt most comfortable. I began to wander farther, look deeper, and listen to new teachers and mentors. I developed a deep spiritual connection with animals that really saved my life. There is a song by Leonard Cohen, The Anthem, and a line that rings so true for my story:

Cindy Hamlin

During my first year at college, I helped my sister move to Idaho to ski for a winter, and it was in that place that we both found a sense of peace again. I was drawn in by the sunlight, the raw beauty of the high desert landscape, and the dramatic seasonal changes. Although my roots in Washington were deep, I needed to create a new life, so I got my degree in Parks and Recreation and followed my sister to the small town of Ketchum. I bought a little cabin on Forest Service land where I lived with my two dogs. It was remote and isolated; I had no telephone, no running water in the winter, and little contact with others. My days were spent writing, collecting natural plant material, and teaching myself to batik. I experimented with color, texture, and style while listening to the coyotes howl and birds sing. I found my smile again while creating art and hiking and skiing in the mountains I now call home.

Cindy Hamlin

Three years in a little cabin in the woods taught me that I need people in my life to be happy and creative. I moved closer to town and bought the house I now call home. I met my husband, Ned, a year later, and we began our own family. We raised three wonderful sons and our house naturally grew with our family. Over the decades, our home has become an extension of our combined creative impulses, bending and changing with us through remodels, additions, and an ever-flourishing garden.

“I guess I’m a little weird. I like to talk to trees and animals.
That’s okay though: I have more fun than most people.”

– Bob Ross

My studio was built and designed by Ned, who is an architect and a very patient man. He understands my need to always create and build. It is one of several structures on our two acres created out of recycled doors, windows, wood, brick—materials that carry over their previous history into ours. Every building has a story, and you can feel a presence or déjà vu when you enter their spaces, touch a doorknob, or gaze through the windows. There is also a greenhouse, an architectural office, a Basque sheep wagon, a barn, and a chicken coop. We welcome friends to teach, create art, and share meals together. Gathering with family and friends is a tradition carried over from my childhood at our island cabin, where every weekend cousins, aunts, uncles, and grandparents gathered to build projects, play on the beach, and be together.

Cindy Hamlin

I feel rooted in my home and garden but also have a wanderlust to see other cultures and landscapes. Each time I travel, I come home with new ideas ready to infuse into my creations. I believe that each of us comes into this world already wired but also ready to be molded by family, acquaintances, new experiences, and nature. Everything that touches us leaves its print; some prints we absorb, some we shed, but everything has an impact on who we become. It is this becoming that is our creative process.

“There is a crack, a crack in everything, that’s how the light gets in.” The crack was there. I needed to find the light again.

Cindy Hamlin

One of my favorite creative outlets is gardening —learning how plants complement one another, how they grow and change through the seasons, and observing how light and shadow, the play of color, and texture in a landscape sets a mood in the garden. The natural habitat in gardens also attracts birds. I spend hours watching them build their nests. Their intricate pieces of art woven from grasses, feathers, moss, sticks, and mud give me inspiration for the birdhouses I’ve been creating for thirty years.

Cindy Hamlin
These three were some of my first birdhouses and well used over the years. They are naturally weathered through time and have evolved with the garden. One of them was a gift to my grand-mother and after she passed I brought it home to my own garden.

Creating shelters for wild creatures began when I was young, whether it’s a bed of leaves for a bee rescued from the road, a snug space in a bush for an injured bird, or rustic buckets filled with twigs, moss, and swamp water for salamanders as a temporary place of rest. I’ve always welcomed stray animals and have had an assortment of dogs, cats, chickens, a pig, a horse, donkeys, doves, and llamas. Our newest family members are Sweet Cicily the tumbler pigeon, Rudy the Rooster, and our rescue sheep: Maddie, Eunice, Lambchop, and Lucy. They can often be found wandering the garden, standing on the front porch, and peeking through my studio door.

For me, it begins with a walk in my garden, smelling flowers, watching birds, petting my dogs. As I collect branches in the wild for my birdhouses, I observe each twig before making a cut. Is there an interesting way they branch or the beginning of a bud that adds a unique element? It isn’t unusual to find me standing knee-deep in twigs, sorting and organizing as I sing and dance to music. When in the creative mood, I have to move, and there’s usually an animal at my side. That’s when the magic begins.

Creativity is a layered process: a filtering of emotions and experiences using all the senses.

Cindy Hamlin

EVERYONE HAS A STORY and mine began in the rainy Pacific Northwest. I had a very happy and adventurous childhood. My first real home was on a hill with a view of the Salish Sea from every room. It was surrounded by a garden designed and nurtured by my family. We also had two cabins that we built from scratch — one on an island and one in the mountains — where we spent weekends and summers with family and friends. I had a lot of freedom as a child and spent most of my time outside. My days were filled with making camps, following animal paths, digging holes, exploring the beach, and watching wild creatures nest, burrow, climb, and build. My most impressionable teacher was nature, and she taught me to observe, reflect and find my own comfortable sense of place.

Cindy Hamlin

A tragic avalanche took away my parents and our mountain cabin when I was 15 years old. I suddenly found myself having to adapt to new surroundings while rebuilding my life. My sister had just begun studying art at the University of Washington, so we were no longer living together day to day. I was lonely and lost, hanging precariously onto the happy memories treasured in my heart. This was a dark time, but also the beginning of my next step in the creative journey of self-discovery. It was the natural world where I felt most comfortable. I began to wander farther, look deeper, and listen to new teachers and mentors. I developed a deep spiritual connection with animals that really saved my life. There is a song by Leonard Cohen, The Anthem, and a line that rings so true for my story:

Cindy Hamlin

During my first year at college, I helped my sister move to Idaho to ski for a winter, and it was in that place that we both found a sense of peace again. I was drawn in by the sunlight, the raw beauty of the high desert landscape, and the dramatic seasonal changes. Although my roots in Washington were deep, I needed to create a new life, so I got my degree in Parks and Recreation and followed my sister to the small town of Ketchum. I bought a little cabin on Forest Service land where I lived with my two dogs. It was remote and isolated; I had no telephone, no running water in the winter, and little contact with others. My days were spent writing, collecting natural plant material, and teaching myself to batik. I experimented with color, texture, and style while listening to the coyotes howl and birds sing. I found my smile again while creating art and hiking and skiing in the mountains I now call home.

Cindy Hamlin

Three years in a little cabin in the woods taught me that I need people in my life to be happy and creative. I moved closer to town and bought the house I now call home. I met my husband, Ned, a year later, and we began our own family. We raised three wonderful sons and our house naturally grew with our family. Over the decades, our home has become an extension of our combined creative impulses, bending and changing with us through remodels, additions, and an ever-flourishing garden.

“I guess I’m a little weird. I like to talk to trees and animals.
That’s okay though: I have more fun than most people.”

– Bob Ross

My studio was built and designed by Ned, who is an architect and a very patient man. He understands my need to always create and build. It is one of several structures on our two acres created out of recycled doors, windows, wood, brick—materials that carry over their previous history into ours. Every building has a story, and you can feel a presence or déjà vu when you enter their spaces, touch a doorknob, or gaze through the windows. There is also a greenhouse, an architectural office, a Basque sheep wagon, a barn, and a chicken coop. We welcome friends to teach, create art, and share meals together. Gathering with family and friends is a tradition carried over from my childhood at our island cabin, where every weekend cousins, aunts, uncles, and grandparents gathered to build projects, play on the beach, and be together.

Cindy Hamlin

I feel rooted in my home and garden but also have a wanderlust to see other cultures and landscapes. Each time I travel, I come home with new ideas ready to infuse into my creations. I believe that each of us comes into this world already wired but also ready to be molded by family, acquaintances, new experiences, and nature. Everything that touches us leaves its print; some prints we absorb, some we shed, but everything has an impact on who we become. It is this becoming that is our creative process.

“There is a crack, a crack in everything, that’s how the light gets in.” The crack was there. I needed to find the light again.

Cindy Hamlin

One of my favorite creative outlets is gardening —learning how plants complement one another, how they grow and change through the seasons, and observing how light and shadow, the play of color, and texture in a landscape sets a mood in the garden. The natural habitat in gardens also attracts birds. I spend hours watching them build their nests. Their intricate pieces of art woven from grasses, feathers, moss, sticks, and mud give me inspiration for the birdhouses I’ve been creating for thirty years.

Cindy Hamlin
These three were some of my first birdhouses and well used over the years. They are naturally weathered through time and have evolved with the garden. One of them was a gift to my grand-mother and after she passed I brought it home to my own garden.

Creating shelters for wild creatures began when I was young, whether it’s a bed of leaves for a bee rescued from the road, a snug space in a bush for an injured bird, or rustic buckets filled with twigs, moss, and swamp water for salamanders as a temporary place of rest. I’ve always welcomed stray animals and have had an assortment of dogs, cats, chickens, a pig, a horse, donkeys, doves, and llamas. Our newest family members are Sweet Cicily the tumbler pigeon, Rudy the Rooster, and our rescue sheep: Maddie, Eunice, Lambchop, and Lucy. They can often be found wandering the garden, standing on the front porch, and peeking through my studio door.

For me, it begins with a walk in my garden, smelling flowers, watching birds, petting my dogs. As I collect branches in the wild for my birdhouses, I observe each twig before making a cut. Is there an interesting way they branch or the beginning of a bud that adds a unique element? It isn’t unusual to find me standing knee-deep in twigs, sorting and organizing as I sing and dance to music. When in the creative mood, I have to move, and there’s usually an animal at my side. That’s when the magic begins.

Creativity is a layered process: a filtering of emotions and experiences using all the senses.

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