Yearly Archives: 2010

RECYCLED

And back to the thought of using what you have…

Wouldn’t it be a wonderful thing if we only brought products (things) into our homes that we wanted to keep for the rest of our lives?  And when those products and things become old, we simply recycle them into our own lives.

So it is with this coat that one day no longer suited my life but is now one of my favorite pieces. I am continually stopped in airports, shops, and restaurants and asked, “Where did you get that coat?”

“Recycled,” I answer.

I used the Rose Stencil – from Alabama Stitch Book and new to our online store – to paint the bottom of my coat with our textile paint and then appliquéd the Rose stencil in our 100% organic cotton jersey fabric using our burgundy color, burgundy thread and a whip stitch.

William Morris said: “Have nothing in your houses that you do not know to be useful or believe to be beautiful.”

I would say it this way: “If you want to make a difference on the planet, this is it: Have nothing in your home or life that you do not know to be useful, believe to be beautiful or know that you will strive to keep in your life forever.”

**Photo of my (not yet finished) coat in our studio taken by me.

ARCHEOLOGY OF THE FUTURE

A photo from Li Edelkoort’s exhibition last year titled: Archeology of the Future

A table from Studio Jo Meesters in collaboration with Marije van der Park sits before one of our Textile Stories Quilts – a project included in our new book Alabama Studio Style.

*Photo courtesy of Li Edelkoort

LIFE DOESN’T FRIGHTEN ME

Maggie’s favorite poem/book of the decade (well…moment).
She says to me this morning, “I like a scary movie.”

Life Doesn’t Frighten Me

By Maya Angelou with paintings by Jean Michelle Basquiat

Shadows on the wall
Noises down the hail
Life doesn’t frighten me at all
Bad dogs barking loud
Big ghosts in a cloud
Life doesn’t frighten me at all.

Mean old Mother Goose
Lions on the loose
They don’t frighten me at all
Dragons breathing flame
On my counterpane
That doesn’t frighten me at all.

I go boo
Make them shoo
I make fun
Way they run
I won’t cry
So they fly
I just smile
They go wild
Life doesn’t frighten me at all.

Tough guys in a fight
All alone at night
Life doesn’t frighten me at all.
Panthers in the park
Strangers in the dark
No, they don’t frighten me at all.

That new classroom where
Boys pull all my hair
(Kissy little girls
With their hair in curls)
They don’t frighten me at all.

Don’t show me frogs and snakes
And listen for my scream,
If I’m afraid at all
It’s only in my dreams.

I’ve got a magic charm
That I keep up my sleeve,
I can walk the ocean floor
And never have to breathe.

Life doesn’t frighten me at all
Not at all
Not at all
Life doesn’t frighten me at all.

SWIMMING WITH BARRACUDA

The island of Los Roques is attached to an archipelago of approximately 250 islands and is the second largest living organism on the planet – second in size only to the Great Barrier Reef.

The island itself is of volcanic origin and has small rock mountains (really hills) on the Atlantic side while the archipelago side is flat and sandy. At the southeastern Atlantic edge of the island – and archipelago – is a tiny cove which is really just a curved beach with a small volcanic hill slightly offshore.  The small hill is covered with all types of sea birds and the water swirls through the chute between the island and beach with incredible force.  The beach is virtually inaccessible from all sides; to get there, you must hike, traverse a lagoon, rock climb, shimmy around edges and corners before finally dropping onto the sand..

I had that small cove in my sights as I arrived on the island, but it took me some weeks to find time, when the weather permitted, to make my way there. I packed a small bag of supplies one morning and headed out. Three hours later, I arrived at the small strip of sand, maybe the smallest beach in the entire archipelago.  The beach sits next to a large reef of dead coral.  The Atlantic was so strong that the huge pieces of coral were crashing together in the waves and making a sound like a symphony.  Hence, I named the spot “Singing Coral.”

I stood there completely alone, in awe of the coral, the ocean, the sky and the fact that I had made it around the world, around the lagoon and around my life.  The currents seemed so strong but I had an overwhelming urge to swim.  It was like everything in the universe pushed me to the water. I dropped my pack and swam towards the middle of the cove where the water seemed slightly calmer.  I lay there – floating on my back – looking at the sky and then rolled to my stomach to look down into the depths of the cove.  When I turned and opened my eyes, I realized that I was swimming in the middle of a school of barracuda.  Floating there, it seemed as if thousands of barracuda swam around me in their slow, silent, circular funnel that continued as far into the depths as my eyes could see. I lay there still, shocked, terrified and strangely invigorated…

As slowly as their circular path, I began a small paddle back to my little beach. Slowly, slowly I moved and breathed and swam until my feet touched sand.  Standing back on the beach, I let out a whoop that could-be-heard-around-the-world and thought, “I will never be afraid of life again.”

That was the day that I started my journey to Project Alabama, and now Alabama Chanin.  To this day, I strive to live my life with the same courage and conviction I felt as my whoop joined the song of Singing Coral and the universe.

To the next decade – may we all find the courage to swim with barracuda and sing to the stars…