Yearly Archives: 2008

CRAFT + POLITICS

The new issue of American Craft arrived last week and, as expected, is totally inspiring. From Andrew Wagner writing about “Craft & Politics” and the amazing article “Let’em Eat Cake” by Sabrina Gschwandtner to the lovely story and pictures about “Craft & Community” including Denyse Schmidt and Artecnica, the layout, design and content is spectacular.

And don’t miss the second ‘Summer in the City Salon Series’ program ‘Connect/(Dis)connect’ at the American Craft Council Library held on July 24th.

More information here:
American Craft Council – ‘Summer in the City Salon Series’

ALABAMA BOUND

American Routes takes a trip through the music of the Yellowhammer State–Alabama. Visit the Muscle Shoals Sound Studio and find out what’s in the water around “The Shoals” to make it a historic hotbed for R&B hits by Wilson Pickett, Aretha Franklin and more. Also, a trip through Hank Williams‘ childhood home in Georgiana, and W.C. Handy Music Festival in Florence. And music from Shelby Lynne, the Birmingham Sunlights and the Delmore Brothers.

 

FROM MELANIE (AND A PICTURE OF GRANNY LOU)

This poem is from Kay Ryan, the new US poet laureate.

I kept on thinking about it this weekend while we were stitching our beautiful Alabama Chanin clothing. I kept thinking that our strong stitches were going to hold tight as we made our deep tracks.

Thank you for including me in such a special experience.

Love,
Melanie

The poem reminds me of my great-grandmother – Granny Lou – moving around her house at Burcham Creek:

THINGS SHOULDN’T BE SO HARD

A life should leave
deep tracks:
ruts where she
went out and back
to get the mail
or move the hose
around the yard;
where she used to
stand before the sink,
a worn-out place;
beneath her hand
the china knobs
rubbed down to
white pastilles;
the switch she
used to feel for
in the dark
almost erased.
Her things should
keep her marks.
The passage
of a life should show;
it should abrade.
And when life stops,
a certain space—
however small —
should be left scarred
by the grand and
damaging parade.
Things shouldn’t
be so hard.

 

IT TAKES BALLS

Okay, what about a woman who can sing and cook, has her own radio program called “Apron Strings” and has a song about how it “Takes Balls” to be a woman?

Check out Elizabeth Cook.

Elizabeth has fans from all corners of the earth that make their own music videos to her songs. Check out this awesome It Takes Balls video that Elizabeth found on You Tube.

http://www.elizabeth-cook.com/

ALABAMA SONG

Our weekend workshop was a beautiful mixture of women from all walks of life. It was wonderful to hear our studio filled with laughter, chatter and, from time to time, the quiet hum of concentrated fingers at work. All of the projects are lovely and I am certain that the participants will be showing off their garments over the course of the next months.

(Keep an eye on the flickr page for new additions: Alabama Stitch Book Group )

Our Sunday morning was enchanted by a serenade of Alabama Song by singer, songwriter, and designer, Allison Moorer. Allison is an amazing woman and I was inspired by her fearless choice to make our 16-Panel Swing Dress with all-over rose reverse applique.

I cannot wait to see her on stage in the piece and feel grateful to have found a new stitching sister so close to home as Nashville is just a hop, a skip and a jump up the Natchez Trace from Florence.

Visit Allison’s website:

http://www.allisonmoorer.com/

Listen to her music:

http://www.youtube.com/allisonmoorertv

and stay tuned for more on a week in music (thanks to Allison and Traci).

Posted at 5:13 am

CARL KASELL’S VOICE ON MY HOME ANSWERING MACHINE

I am obsessed with Wait Wait Don’t Tell Me. Like This American Life, I download the podcast to my iTunes weekly and listen at the first possible convenience.

A few weeks ago, I wrote the following email:

I would give (just about) anything to have Carl Kasell’s voice on my home answering machine; however, I have an extreme case of incurable radio fright and break out in hives at the thought of speaking personally with Peter Sagal. For this reason, I would like to be considered for Not My Job.

Being included would make my year and would also save me from having to reveal my true ignorance (and thick southern accent).

Imagine my surprise when Butch called to tell me that my name was announced on Saturday and that film historian, director and actor Peter Bogdanovich would be playing for me! Well, after much screaming, excitement and dancing around our studio, I realized that Peter did not win. I have to say that the questions were very hard and that Peter is forgiven.

Perhaps I will have to get over my fear of the perfect wit of Peter Sagal and try to play myself!

Listen to the episode here:

Not My Job Guest: Film historian, director and actor Peter Bogdanovich

TOPICS FOR CONVERSATION AND INSPIRATION

I received the email below from friend Sarah Lewis after she visited the Photography on Photography: Reflections on the Medium since 1960 (through October 19, 2008 at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City). And while I am not in New York myself to see the exhibition, my entire body of work has been very influenced by the photographs of Walker Evans (along with others from this era) and particularly his work with John Agee in Let Us Now Praise Famous Men.

I love the text below. Here is Sarah’s email:

I am sure you heard of the photographer Walker Evans…!?

“Watching Allie Mae Burroughs work with a simple broom kept in the kitchen corner, Agee mused that everything in the house might be licked with the tongue and made scarcely cleaner.

Evans photographs of the tenant farmers’ tidy kitchen are distilled essences of domesticity. “

From the MET photo exhibit,

“Kitchen Corner, Tenant Farmhouse, Hale County, Alabama, 1936.”

And his predecessor, Sherrie Levine, “After Walker Evans.”

…I think of you no less than every other day…

Xo
Sarah

Learn more about the exhibition here and start your own discussion about the role of the historical in contemporary work:

Sherrie Levine: After Walker Evans 2, 1981

 

THE BEAUTY OF THE FORGOTTEN AND EVERYDAY

I had actually forgotten that I had a subscription to The (New) Oxford American. I had not received a copy in some time and then miraculously the “Best of the South 2008” was in our post box last week.

I have heard rumors of complaints about the magazine but I have to say that while the new design does not appeal to me in the same way as my old archived copies, I always find a good story, quote or picture in the magazine. (Well, when it arrives, I suppose. I mean who cannot just love Roy Blount, Jr.?)

This issue is no exception and I was delighted to read “The Collector of the Everyday” about Joseph Mitchell by Sam Stephenson.

I think of myself as a very well read person and developed a love (obsession) with books when just a little girl. I have read everything from the entire works of Milan Kundera to Nancy Drew and am constantly on the lookout for a new author that will feed my desire for knowledge. So, how could it be that I never heard of Joseph Mitchell?

Not only was Mitchell a journalist and novelist but also a collector of everyday objects. The photographs of his meticulously collected and documented objects are spectacular and stir a feeling in my stomach that I have known this person intimately.

After investigation, I found that Granta 88: Mothers contains an extensive piece with the photographs. I ordered the issue immediately. The images are rich, moving and everything but everyday.

Up in the Old Hotel and Other Stories is on my bedside table. And I will be on the lookout for vintage New Yorker magazines with Mitchell’s stories.