Mary Hambly with intuitive drawings.

On Friday evening, July 5, artist-in-residence Mary Hambly concluded a month-long residency at St. Gertrude’s with a final presentation to the sisters and other St. Gertrude’s community.

“I want you to know how valuable and meaningful is this artist-in-residence program,” she said. “I hope to convey that to you tonight.”

Hambly described having been in a fallow period in her creative life, brought on by a production mindset, weariness, and “not listening to inner direction or doing things just for the joy of it.”

She had discovered the St. Gertrude’s artist-in-residency program a year before and had bookmarked it. When she finally applied she appreciated how the application process helped clarify her goals. “I wanted to leave behind my professional identity, ego, and security of knowing what I was doing,” she said. “I wanted a spontaneous, humble partnership with the mystery of creation and to be out of my comfort zone as much as possible.”

Hambly was born and raised in Seattle, received her MFA in 1991, and resides in Bloomington, Indiana. She is a professional artist and has also taught art history, art appreciation, drawing, fundamentals of design, and paper-making. She has worked as a gallery coordinator and exhibition installer.

She arrived on May 30, having sent ahead boxes of art supplies that included acrylics, pastels, watercolor, and watercolor pencils. She had not worked in any of this media before. She began intuitive drawing and journaling. She read Kathleen Norris and Henri Nouwen. She joined the sisters for daily prayer and Mass.

Hambly also found inspiration in the Benedictine values of stability (space, prayer, time, landscape), obedience (“deep listening and hearing ways in which I am called by the mystery of creation to respond in everyday life”), and conversion (“to always be changing”).

The resulting works included mandalas, drawings, and developments of her work in paper art quilts.

“I am so grateful for the support and opportunity to be among you and your committed lives here at the Monastery, amidst the stunning Camas Prairie landscape. Simply, thank you.”

A mandala by Mary Hambly.