Wednesday, December 16, 2009

inHERview: Christine Chitnis

this month's inHERview is with a dynamite beauty, Christine Chitnis, writer and crafter extraordinaire (and more, so much more...)!

i had the privilege of traveling to Squam Art Workshops with Christine after she responded to my post on the SAW message board requesting a ride to the september '09 session. this is how i first came to know Christine, through her generosity. when i met her and after we spent some time talking and getting to know one another i thought, "this woman is a force." truly. i am deeply inspired by the inventive, cheerful and graceful life she creates day by day.

Who are you?
I am a writer and crafter...a maker of many things. I am both a world traveler and a homebody. I am a city mouse and a country mouse. I dwell in the opposing sides of myself.

Where can we find you?
Here, there, everywhere. This year has been a "vagabond year," involving tons of travel; Chicago, New York, Boston, Philadelphia, St. Croix, Nantucket, Martha's Vineyard, Montreal, New Hampshire, Michigan...the list goes on and on.

What makes home "home" for you?

My home is filled with things I made with my own two I rescued from the side of the road, refurbished and painted, pillows I made out of tea towels, all sorts of treasures. My home is filled with color and light, I think it is an extremely cheerful place to be! And how could I forget my chickens...who entertain me constantly with their silly antics. They make my backyard the place to be!

My community is also a defining characteristic of "home." My husband works for Brown University, so the academic community is an important part of our social life. I love the local merchants who make our town the vibrant place that it is. I am our library's #1 patron...I am there every other day checking out a book or ten! Community is a large part of what I define as "home." We are lucky to live in the thriving, diverse community of Providence, RI.

Where do you feel most at home?
If I am surrounded by my family I am at home, no matter where I happen to be physically.

How do you spend your days?
I spend my days writing, dreaming and creating in my studio. I love having my own space in which to spread out and make a lovely mess.

How do you spend your nights?
I love the moment when my husband comes through the door. Dinner is simmering on the stove, music is softly playing in the background, and all feels right in the world. We always sit down together for dinner and talk about our day, it keeps us feeling connected.

How do you spend your weekends?
Weekends are for travel, exploring new places. One of the many things that I love about living on the East Coast is that we are close to so many amazing places; Maine, New Hampshire, Boston, Vermont, Newport...the beach, the mountains, the city. We are so lucky to live where we live. We can hop in the car or catch a train and in a few hours, be in a whole new world.

How do you define your tribe?
The people who, because of their presence, make my life richer.

Who is a part of your tribe?
This past year, my tribe has grown in ways that I never anticipated, and that is due to my attending Squam Art Workshops. I met Elizabeth and we immediately hit it off...we have since traveled together, laughed together, philosophized together. She is "my people." Through her I have met and grown to love the fabulous Swirly, the lovely Jeanine, the hilarious Kellen, and so many others.

It also helps that Elizabeth's man and my man get along. Men must be kept occupied so us ladies can freely do our thing! They are like children at times, "oh look, a ball, go bat it around for a while so we can talk"...but we love them despite this, or maybe because of this!

The original member of my best friend in the whole world (besides my hubby), is my mom. She is at the heart of everything I do. I also have a small handful of friends from college and my single days...they knew me way back when, and loved me anyway...those are truly great friends!

What does December mean to you?
December is a time for giving thanks. It is a time to reflect on the year coming to a close. It is a time to be with family and friends. It is a time to practice simple living...small, thoughtful, handmade gifts instead of consumerism and greed. Also, as a Catholic, it is a time for remembering the true reason for the season...that small child born in a humble manger.

I am loving this quote for December: "A small gift given with true sincerity is often worth more than a valuable gift given without it." -Blessed Henry Suso

What adventure are you participating in?
I am on my way to India for the first time this month. My husband is Indian, and ever since we were married, he has been eager to show me his country. I can hardly wait to experience the rich colors, spicy air and friendly, crowded streets.

As far as writing adventures, I have some incredible, big, huge projects in the pipelines. But they are top-secret and cannot be discussed yet. Let's just say 2010 will be an exciting year, career-wise!

What are you reveling in?
The fresh snowfall and my warm cup of coffee...does it get any better than that?

What are you committed to?
Growing as a person, writer, wife and friend.

What song is singing to you right now?
While pondering your questions, I was listening to Chaka Khan's "Love Me Still" with Bruce Hornsby on piano. Jonatha Brooke introduced me to this song at Squam, and it is so is on constant repeat!

If you were to "tell the world just one thing" (as Jewel sings) what would that "one thing" be?
"Right is right, even if everyone is against it; and wrong is wrong, even if everyone is for it." -William Penn

A fantastic reminder to forge your own path, no matter what the masses may be doing.

Links to Christine:


jeanine said...

what a great interview. isn't she just the bee's knees? i love this woman.

Amanda {Mocking Bird} said...

Interesting interview. her home looks gorgeous!

Ivy said...

I liked this interview. She is inspiring and I have mentioned her twice now on my blog. Everyone should get to enjoy such a lovely lady.