Category Archives: BEAUTIFUL LIFE

STARTING TODAY

STARTING TODAYIt seems that I have been lost for the last months as I finish up – our new book – Alabama Studio Design (working title). Between writing (and re-writing) texts, working on the design, and taking some of the pictures, there seems to have been little time for anything other than family, garden and  my (other) job as designer and entrepreneur. As I move towards the end of the book, it feels like life is beginning.

Looking at my desk this afternoon, I see a pile of ideas, new books, maps, notes, lists and random objects that I can’t wait to uncover. Lying on top of this pile is an orange slip of paper with a poem that has been sent to me twice in the last few months. I am thinking that this is a good place to start:

The Summer Day
by Mary Oliver

Who made the world?
Who made the swan, and the black bear?
Who made the grasshopper?
This grasshopper, I mean-
the one who has flung herself out of the grass,
the one who is eating sugar out of my hand,
who is moving her jaws back and forth instead of up and down-
who is gazing around with her enormous and complicated eyes.
Now she lifts her pale forearms and thoroughly washes her face.
Now she snaps her wings open, and floats away.
I don’t know exactly what a prayer is.
I do know how to pay attention, how to fall down
into the grass, how to kneel down in the grass,
how to be idle and blessed, how to stroll through the fields,
which is what I have been doing all day.
Tell me, what else should I have done?
Doesn’t everything die at last, and too soon?
Tell me, what is it you plan to do
with your one wild and precious life?

from House of Light by Mary Oliver

And I ask myself, “What is it I plan to do with this wild and precious life starting today?”

What are your plans?

SUBVERSIVE

Subversive Knitting, Berkeley + Subversive Donations, Florence

From Steven, our production manager:

“I spoke with Wade – our UPS driver – this morning and he lives right in the middle of all of the damage in Franklin County.  He said that almost everyone in their area lost everything.  Right now they need basics like blankets, water, food that doesn’t have to be cooked, and toiletries.”

If you would like to do a bit of subversive donating, bring (or send) any of the above items to our office and we will make sure that there is a daily delivery to those in need.

Alabama Chanin, 462 Lane Drive, Florence, AL 35630
M-F 9 am – 4 pm

Questions: 1.256.760.1090 or office(at)alabamachanin.com

 

EUCALYPTUS, LAVENDER, TRANQUILITY

In the autumn of last year, I was contacted by a New York University professor from the Liberal Studies department named Jessamyn Hatcher.  She had gotten my email address from our mutual friend Sally Singer and wanted to know if we would be willing to discuss a field trip that she was planning with her 30+ students from the Dean’s Circle, a University Scholars program.

Her email explained that the “theme for the 2010-2011 Dean’s Circle and Colloquium is ‘The Price of Fashion: The Triangle Shirtwaist Factory Fire and the Global Garment Trade.’ The Triangle Shirtwaist Factory Fire occurred on March 25, 1911, in what is now the Brown building.  146 people, most of who were between the ages of 16 and 21, died while manufacturing women’s blouses. Next year will mark its 100th anniversary, and we will use the anniversary as an occasion to explore issues surrounding the world garment trade, from mass production in sweatshops to the runways of the world’s fashion capitols to the ‘slow design’ movement.”

While I was fascinated by Jessamyn’s inquiry, in the first moment I wondered how a workshop could function with 30+ students in our studio.  My fears were unfounded.

Several weeks ago, the group arrived and the experience was one of wonder, exploration and pleasure.  Following a two day workshop in our studio, the students moved on to Rural Studio in Greensboro, Alabama, to continue their journey.

Jessamyn joked at one point how many of her colleagues had asked, “Why aren’t you going to Paris?”

The lovely thank you notes from the (18 – 20 year-old) students below explains it all.  I hope that the students don’t mind that I have shared their observations about our world.  I am appreciative to look at our work, our staff and our world through fresh eyes.

(And to have found a new friend in Jessamyn!)

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