Maira Kalman is an author, illustrator, and visionary who is ensorcelled by the small moments and experiences that occur not during, but between, the landmarks of one's day or life. Through her unique approach to storytelling, she imbues people, objects, and mundane facets of the human condition with knowing wit and humanity. Maira has long been an inspiration, and has become a dear friend of Natalie’s since a fateful visit to The Factory for a sewing workshop. She has published over thirty books, beloved by adults, children, and everyone in between, and is a frequent contributor to publications including The New York Times and The New Yorker.
Natalie and Maira meet in 2013 through their mutual friends Gael Towey and Rosanne Cash. When Natalie is asked if she’d like to “go for tea” at the home of Maira Kalman, she responds with an enthusiastic “Yes.” Natalie spends the afternoon in stunned silence, listening to, and watching these three amazing women. Natalie is forever grateful to Maira Kalman for the following (in no particular order): stories, friendship, drawings, The Elements of Style, Rosh Hashanah walks in Central Park with Shofar, Sara Berman’s Closet, embroidery inspiration, What Pete Ate from A to Z, an apartment stay, books galore, and the lovely note below.
Maira Kalman, Rosanne Cash, Gael Towey, Lisa Fox, and Kay Gardiner form the New York charter group of “Stitch and Bitch.” A first for The School of Making, the group is profiled in New York Magazine's 50th Anniversary issue, My New York, in a piece entitled “My Sewing Circle.” (Natalie is attending her daughter Maggie’s first soccer game of the season in Florence, Alabama, and can’t make this important “Stitch and Bitch” meeting. She has almost no regrets.)
“When I met Natalie Chanin, I knew I was in the presence of an angel.
A southern angel on earth. A woman of determination, warmth and generosity. Her extraordinary talent accompanies extraordinary kindness of heart.
I mean really, could there be a better human?”
—Maira Kalman, artist and author
Learn more about Maira Kalman’s incredible work here.
Watch Maira’s “Portraits in Creativity” video by Gael Towey here.
(Look for entries on the rest of the “Stitch and Bitch” group coming soon.)
Slide 1 (from left): Kay Gardiner, Gael Towey, Lisa Fox, Rosanne Cash, and Maira Kalman of the “Stitch and Bitch” group at Lisa’s home in the East Village, New York City, from New York Magazine, “My Sewing Circle,” 2018, photograph by Dina Litovsky
Slide 4: Maira Kalman and friends during an intimate dinner at The Factory, 2021, photograph by Natalie Chanin