Category Archives: BEAUTIFUL LIFE

UPDATE

Thanks to all of you who have sent letters and words of encouragement for my father.

We finally got him moved to the University of Alabama Medical Center in Birmingham and are hoping for a complete recovery.

Birmingham has become world renowned for their work in stroke recovery and the study of the brain and the concept of “plasticity.”

The Birmingham News ran an article yesterday about the revolutionary CI Therapy and Dr. Taub:

Patients make Pilgrimage to Birmingham for Brain Growth

My father is not so far along yet, but we are looking forward to the process of healing.

Thanks again to you all…

**I ran the picture above earlier in the year but thought appropriate to include it in this post. This picture was taken on my Brownie camera in 1964. My father holds me on our family horse – “Queenie” – while my grandfather pushes the button. I can smell hay, saddles and the wood of the barn when I look at this picture.

INTERNATIONAL DESIGN SEMINAR – FOLK FUTURES

A WORLD OF FOLK

I am very excited to be included in this seminar and looking forward to visiting Stavanger and seeing The World of Folk exhibition:

International Design Seminar – Folk Futures With: Li Edelkoort, Tord Boontje, Natalie Chanin, Dick van Hoff, Hella Jongerius, Peter Marigold, Mike Meiré, Fernando & Humberto Campana.

As part of this summer’s A World of Folk exhibition, Folk Futures will discuss the future of unique design in a day-long symposium featuring presentations by distinguished international designers: Tord Boontje, Natalie Chanin, Dick van Hoff, Hella Jongerius, Peter Marigold, Mike Meiré and the Campanas brothers.

The seminar will examine how craft and design will provide an important and continued stimulus in this new century and analyze the implications of commercial production on uniquely made objects. Exhibition curator and trend forecaster, Li Edelkoort, will introduce a dynamic line-up of speakers, illustrating the importance of telling stories through the creative process and previewing how craft and technology will merge in symbiosis in the coming years.

The Alabama-born designer Natalie Chanin will explain how soul can be ingrained into a product through the handmade, while Dick van Hoff will talk about the challenges facing industrial production when maintaining craftsmanship principles. London-based Peter Marigold will discuss how chance and performance can influence the design of a product and Hella Jongerius will be interviewed by Li Edelkoort in an interesting conversation about the integration of local folklores in contemporary design. German art director Mike Meiré will discuss local food and its integration into the design field. Tord Boontje will revisit his journey through decoration and embellishment while joining Fernando and Humberto Campana to also describe their recent collaborations with artisans in Africa and South America.

MYELOMA SUCKS

MYELOMA SUCKS

As you will have noted, I had taken a small break from posting here while we were working on our new collection.

However, during this time, my father suffered a stroke following his third treatment for Multiple Myeloma. I am bleary-eyed.

This has been a scary, trying, and intense time filled also with compassion, caring, and the strength of human commitment to heal my father.

We are thankful to the staff at University of Arkansas Medical Sciences for their support and expertise.

My father received a positive report this morning and he has a wonderful chance for complete recovery. I am extremely grateful and know that my life is filled with HEROES.

And visit Multiple Musicians Against Multiple Myeloma – An event to benefit the International Myeloma Foundation. I received this lovely “Myeloma Sucks” pin while on the Myeloma station at UAMS with my father.

When you are thinking about giving this year, consider the Multiple Myeloma Foundation.

I am sending a wish of health, happiness, peace and thanks to everyone who has helped us through this time.

May we remember to live our lives to the fullest each and every day.
xoNatalie

HOMAGE TO A TEACHER

Occasionally in our lives, a person comes along who changes the course of our destiny and makes us a better person, simply by having touched our lives. One such person in my life was a teacher who believed in me before I knew that one could believe.

I came to his studio as a naive, wounded young woman and his quiet guidance opened a path for me that I never knew could have existed. I am the designer, business owner, manufacturer, and person I am today because of the commitment of a teacher/professor and friend: Michael Pause.

Here is a portion of an email that I received from him today:

… Speaking of which, on 30 June I resigned from the faculty, after 33 years. Cleaned the office, put my keys in an envelope, put the years in a box, ribboned it and put it up on a shelf. It was a fantastic run; every student was a gift in some way.

I mourn for the legions of students who will miss his quiet guidance, commitment to pure design, and his struggle to keep a sliver of Bauhaus alive in education today.

Let’s take a moment today to thank all of those teachers along our way who have helped to shape us into men and women we are proud to be, walking paths we are proud to walk.

Thank you Michael. May your days be filled with family, joy, good work, and laughter.

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’

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.

 

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