Among the most meaningful things I’ve ever found in a thrift store was a pair of dresses I unearthed at the Goodwill in Durham, North Carolina. One was a white summer dress with a fitted bodice and a full skirt dotted with embroidered flowers. The other was a pink sequined number straight out of an old Italian movie. What made the dresses so arresting wasn’t their cut or color, or even all the flowers and sequins. It was the fact that inside, attached to the labels, their former wearer had pinned stories: “Picnic. 1957. Hillsboro, North Carolina.” “Eastern Star Dance. May 8, 1958. Danced with M.K.”
I’ve since learned from my friend Emily Spivack who created and edits a blog about clothing and memory to call these stories “worn stories.”
On Tuesday night, as part of MAKESHIFT, we invited members of the audience to write their own worn stories. Rosanne Cash, Cathy Bailey of Heath Ceramics, and Natalie read excerpts of their stories to inspire us.
To begin the evening at MAKESHIFT @ the Standard Talks, Rosanne Cash opened with a performance of “Fair and Tender Ladies,” a traditional Appalachian folk song that has been recorded by many singers. The song had been performed by her step-mother, June Carter Cash.
Rosanne began by sharing her thoughts on crafting and writing music. In turn, she asked the audience to collaborate and “craft” a new song from the original version. This posed the question: “What can we learn from the field of music as we creatively approach a collaboration between amateurs and auteurs, makers and users?”
Thank you to everyone who braved the rain and came out last night for MAKESHIFT at the Standard Talks. On behalf of myself and all of the panelists, we appreciate everyone’s enthusiastic response to MAKING.
It was a beautiful evening. As a group, we crafted a song and sang together, finger-knitted, and shared our ‘worn stories.’ Throughout the day, we will share some of our MAKESHIFT moments here. Continue reading →
Cathy Bailey of HEATH Ceramics has frequented this blog for a number of years as a friend and a colleague. After loving her work (and her) from afar, we were fortunate to collaborate with HEATH Ceramics to produce a line of table and dinner wares that were launched last fall.
Cathy (her husband, Robin), and I share much of the same passion about design, craft, and local production. Next week, Cathy and I will share the stage at the Standard Talks. This coming Tuesday, Alabama Chanin presents MAKESHIFT: Shifting Thoughts on Design, Fashion, Craft, and DIY, our first event in a series of many as we continue a conversation on the intersection of design, fashion, craft, and DIY.
A few weeks ago, we took to the streets of Florence to spread wildflower seeds guerrilla-style. We tossed our homemade seed “bombs”, seed encapsulated clay balls, into alleys and onto vacant areas – hoping to add more color and beauty to our community.
With the amount of rain that we have been receiving lately, every growing thing has been sprouting up and up toward the sky. Yesterday, retraced our steps to see if our dispersed wildflowers were making progress. There were no full blooms yet; however, we are starting to see small dots of the color purple in Olivia’s yard.
Thank you to our employees and artisans for their commitment to the extraordinary and thank you to everyone at Etsy for telling our story with this beautiful film. It makes us proud to share the stories that unfold each day in our growing community.
Please visit the Etsy blog to read a little more and leave a comment to enter to win a copy of Alabama Studio Sewing + Design plus a DIY kit that includes everything you’ll need to sew your own Alabama Chanin garment.
Next Thursday, as part of Nashville Fashion Week, I will participate an educational panel discussing production issues in fashion. The panels and events for the day have been thoughtfully curated by Nashville Fashion Week and Imogene + Willie.
Visit Imogene + Willie’s blog to learn more about the origin of the educational panels.
PRODUCING THE GOODS
The production process and what it takes to source, sew and manufacture fashion in the United States. An emphasis will be placed on the importance of and challenges to keeping production in this country.
WHAT MAKES A BRAND?
The focus, hard work, and thought required to define, build and market a fashion brand. Special emphasis will be placed on the importance of social media and issues concerning propriety.
SOUTHERN FASHION NOW
An exploration of trends, characteristics, and the national and international affect of modern Southern design and designers.
Our Visiting Artist Series with Faythe Levine – co-author and director of Handmade Nation, is quickly approaching- and we still have a few open spots for the Friday seminar. Register here + find out more information about Faythe on our Workshop Resources page.
Open to all.
Thursday, April 12, 2012 from 7pm-9pm
Anyone Can Craft: An interactive exhibition and open conversation with Faythe Levine. Admission is free.
Friday, April 13, 2012 from 10 am-Noon
Levine will be conducting a seminar, limited to 25 guests. Cost $60.
Join all of us @ Alabama Chanin
462 Lane Drive
Shakerag Workshops have been taking place on the campus of St. Andrew’s-Sewanee School for some eight years now. Among the rolling hills of the Cumberland Plateau, Shakerag operates as a community where artists + those eager to learn a craft come together in a creative learning environment. Similar to our sewing workshops, the instructors work closely with students in a full-immersion studio course. This summer, I am eager to travel here with our studio Directress, Diane, to teach sewing, to learn, and explore the Sewanee Hollow.
We will be teaching Open Design: Sewing and Construction during the week of June 17-23, 2012, as part of the second session. This is how I intend to spend my days at Shakerag: coffee + breakfast, sewing, delicious lunch, more sewing, and a relaxing yoga session or a hike on the St. Andrew’s-Sewanee Perimeter Trail. To end the day, a locally-sourced dinner- featuring adapted recipes from A New Turn in the South- followed by enrichment + faculty artist’s lectures. And of course, Hugh Acheson’s lecture, Wednesday evening, June 20, 2012, is a welcome interruption in the schedule. Continue reading →