stWhen I first thought about the blog tour for Alabama Studio Style, I did not realize what a great opportunity this was going to be to travel the world, connect with some of my favorite people and experience life from my own beautiful table. Now, half-way through, I am awed by deep, thoughtful questions, the vision of these women and sometimes, simply sitting and sewing. Here are a few of the highlights & THANK YOU to everyone who has had me round. I am looking forward to New York next week and to the rest of the tour. A few of my favorites:
Off to Nashville this morning to spend the day with Anna Maria Horner.
Looking forward to visiting her studio, sewing & exchanging stories.
And, yes, taking in a moment of silence on the Natchez Trace Parkway.
Thanks for your patience over the last week as we have updated and refreshed the website.
Thank you to Jennifer Crossley for the lovely article in our local newspaper this morning about the release of Alabama Studio Style - great to have the support of our community!
And a shout-out to Sara Martin who is that friend who tries to keep me straight on this Journal (among other things)! Sara has been a great friend and collaborator all of these years. Without her clear guidance and eagle eye, the comma splice would have become my trademark. (Is there a comma splice somewhere here?)
Also, we will be working on the website over the course of the next week. Please bear with us as we do a bit of spring cleaning, streamlining and trying to create an easier interface with less clutter. Should you experience any problems whatsoever, please contact us.
Thanks go out to everyone @ Southern Living for the lovely piece in their February issue. We have gotten lots of emails and calls about the article. There have also been several requests for the play dough recipe that Maggie and I were making that afternoon when Southern Living visited…
One of the simplest things to make in your own kitchen:
1 cup flour
1 cup warm water
2 teaspoons cream of tartar
1 teaspoon oil
1/4 cup salt
Mix all ingredients, adding food coloring last. Stir over medium heat until smooth. Remove from pan and knead on a floured board until cool and soft. Keep in an airtight container. Play often.
The Cooper Hewitt National Design Museum has announced their upcoming National Design Triennial series for spring 2010.
“Why Design Now?” will be on view from May 14 through January 9, 2011, and will explore the work of designers addressing human and environmental problems across many fields of design from architecture and product design to fashion, graphics, new media and landscape design. Organized by Cooper-Hewitt curators Ellen Lupton, Cara McCarty, Matilda McQuaid and Cynthia Smith, the Triennial will be global in reach for the first time, reflecting the connectedness of design practices and the need for international cooperation to solve the world’s problems.
We are incredibly humbled & proud to announce that Alabama Chanin will be featured alongside esteemed designers like Martin Margiela in a section entitled “Prosperity:”
Progressive designers and entrepreneurs are building engines of prosperity that enable local communities to use their own resources to create their own wealth, as well as to participate in the global economy. Projects on view include a number of items that address basic necessities, such as a pearl millet thresher and a low-smoke stove developed for use in India; examples of slow design such as hand-made, limited-edition clothing by Alabama Chanin; and works made in collaboration with international designers and local craftspeople like the Witches’ Kitchen Collection, Design with a Conscience Series, manufactured by Artecnica.
Read the full press release here.
The exhibition opens on May 14th, 2010 and runs through January 11, 2011 and will include garments and fabrics from our Alabama Chanin collections.
Thanks to all of our supporters who have helped to make this possible.
Natalie and all of us @ Alabama Chanin
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
After lofty plans to post each day about the last decade – and the next, my computer slipped from my hands last Tuesday morning and crashed (literally) to the floor and shattered. Later that afternoon, my Blackberry decided to follow suit. My deduction was that it was time to take a much needed sabbatical from all things electronic. A week later, everything and everyone seems to have survived without me. The world is still spinning, I am no further behind than I was last Tuesday, and I have had a week to “Reflect, Rejoice and Renew.” So, here we are, a few days later and making a fresh start. Thank you to Kathy Kemp and al.com for this lovely article. And, thank you again to everyone who makes this a wonderful project each and every day…
Florence-based designer’s skirt creation completes Obamas’ Christmas tree, By Kathy Kemp — The Birmingham News December 22, 2009, 5:30AM
Alabama Chanin, the Florence-based couture fashion design house, has sewn another bead into its weighty crown.
The company created the stenciled, beaded blue and white tree skirt that completes the official White House Christmas tree, on display in the Blue Room through December. Alabama Chanin founder Natalie Chanin attended the recent unveiling — her latest stop in a series of high-profile appearances.
“We were honored to be asked to do this,” says Chanin, who was a Top-10 finalist for the coveted DFDA/Vogue Fashion Fund prize, presented last month in New York City. Vogue magazine featured her in a full-page color spread in November, and she was also the subject of a Birmingham News profile. In The News’ story, Chanin couldn’t talk about the tree skirt because the White House had yet to unveil the tree. But now the entire world can see it — in pictures, at least, or in a tour of the nation’s home.
Twenty-two Alabama Chanin artisans, mostly local northwest Alabama seamstresses, spent three weeks sewing and constructing the tree skirt, which measures 14 feet in diameter and weighs about 28 pounds. The skirt features 13 large panels representing the original 13 colonies, and holds about two kilos of Chanin’s white satin bugle beads, all sewn by hand. It is made of Chanin’s signature fabric, 100 percent organic cotton jersey, in the colors, as requested by the White House, of white, peacock blue, Navy blue and storm blue piping. “We painted the entire piece with our Maggie stencil, then used quilting, reverse applique and reverse applique with beading on different sections,” Chanin explains. (She teaches her techniques in her “Alabama Stitch Book,” available at www.alabamachanin.com.)
Chanin, like other artists the White House invited to create decorative pieces for the tree, paid for the materials, labor and shipping of her own work. Chanin is already taking orders for custom tree skirts for the 2010 holiday season (contact email@example.com for details).
The 2009 White House tree, a Douglas fir from Shepherdstown, W.V., stands 18.5 feet tall, reaching all the way to the ceiling. Each year, the Blue Room tree is the same height, because the power source is on the ceiling.
“Reflect, Rejoice, Renew” is the theme for President Obama and his family’s first White House Christmas. Reflecting the national desire to conserve and recycle, the tree is lit with environmentally sound LED lights and decorated with bows and more than 650 ornaments from previous generations. Chanin’s work fits nicely with this year’s theme. She uses local artisans, rather than shipping production overseas. She’s long been known for using organic products and recycling materials. Every scrap left over from her clothing creations is used for something else. In fact, she had piles of jersey strips baled and used them to make a sofa for the Alabama Chanin office.
At the White House this month, more than 50,000 people are expected to see the tree — and its skirt — while attending parties and other functions. When the tree comes down, Chanin’s skirt, along with the tree ornaments, will be archived with the Smithsonian Institution in Washington.
© 2009 al.com. All rights reserved.
Thank you to everyone at Vogue, the CFDA, Norman Jean Roy, Karlie Kloss, Tabitha Simmons, Florence Kane and all of our Alabama Team for this beautiful photo of the Alabama Nomad.
From Vogue Daily:
Still under the radar, West Coast-based Heath Ceramics is a Vogue editor favorite. Imagine our delight upon discovering that their new color for fall, out today, is this divine shade of red, reminding us of the fall collections (think Prada, Louis Vuitton, and Galliano). “Even though we’re in California, the warmth of red ceramic ware in winter takes the chill off our damp, foggy afternoons,” says coowner Catherine Bailey of the new shade.
Heath is a family affair (Catherine owns the company with her husband, Robin), and when asked what they will be serving in this fabulous casserole (of which only 75 were produced), the couple suggest Maryana Vollstedt’s Brussels Sprouts and Baby Onions with Mustard recipe from The Big Book of Casseroles (Chronicle).
“Our whole family loves brussels sprouts, and the bonus is that they look great in this red dish.” Another suggestion is a Baked Couscous Pudding with Raisins from John Pawson and Annie Bell’s Living and Eating (Clarkson Potter). “The recipe is simple and the texture is a great surprise in a pudding. I find the leftovers can make a great breakfast as well,” says Catherine. It is no wonder they count Alice Waters’s Chez Panisse among their clients (they collaborated on the restaurant’s dinnerware) and, as they happily admit, they have found solace creating simple, beautiful things. What’s next? A collaboration with Alabama Chanin is in the works.
Heath Ceramics large red casserole, $195; heathceramics.com.
Photo: Liam Goodman
By SUZY MENKES From the New York Times:
September 13, 2009
NEW YORK —
“Fashion’s Night Out” — an evening of open-house shopping last week in New York and other major cities around the world — was designed to brace up nervous customers and convince them that consumption is joyous.
But it also proved that there is more to e-commerce than buying online.
The key “e” words were “emotion” and “energy” during this Vogue-sponsored fight against retail gloom. After a long period of credit-happy consumers and easy sales, stores and designers are having to work much harder to engage customers and make them feel that their purchase is worthwhile.