Category Archives: THE SCHOOL OF MAKING

MAKING A DIFFERENCE

As the year closes, I thought I would put together a list of those people and organizations who have made a difference for me in 2011. For a moment, let’s celebrate just a few of those who are creating inspiring works by striving toward a better, more beautiful, sustainable world.

The Kitchen Sisters, Davia Nelson and Nikki Silva, have been producing inspiring material for years, as producers of such programs as Hidden Kitchens, Lost and Found Sound, and now, The Hidden World of Girls. One particularly inspiring piece, the film “White Gloves,” by Courtney Stevens and Les Blank focuses on the Oakland Museum Women’s Board. The short piece is poignant in its focus on volunteerism, women, and the relationships that bond people together.   The Kitchen Sisters never fail to tell important stories and create moving art. (Images at the top of this post from Francesca Woodman.)

The book, Deep Economy: The Wealth of Communities and the Durable Future, offers a challenge to the notion that more is better and instead emphasizes the importance of locally-centered commerce, politics and culture. The author, Bill McKibben, challenges us to consider why we buy what we do and urges us to think about our role within a community at large. McKibben makes appeals for action, but he also leaves us with a sense of what is possible. I believe in community and the fact that change is possible.

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2011 – A REVIEW

It seems unbelievable to me that 2011 is coming to a close.  The Alabama Chanin journal has covered so many topics over the 2011 year and we have been so grateful for the opportunity to share our thoughts, travels, milestones and inspirations with you. As the year’s end approaches, we thought we would recap some of the favorite topics of the year.

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BARBEQUE COLLECTION

About this time last year, I agreed to create a barbeque inspired collection for our next Fall/Winter line – yes, that’s right, barbeque. Although it seems impossible, time moves SO QUICKLY and it is time to get started. John T. Edge is headed to our studio today to discuss the upcoming work, as the barbeque collection will be shown at the Southern Foodways Alliance Symposium in Oxford, Mississippi, next year.

In preparation for that collection, I have been working on a series of barbeque inspired Textile Stories Quilts for the Taste of the South auction next month.  When thinking about barbeque (and we have our share here in Florence), what better place to start than with Joe York’s film Cut Chop Cook.

I love this quote from barbeque master Roosevelt Scott (it starts at the 4:48 minute mark):

“After building the fire, while the fire is getting ready put the pig on the pit.  And after you put the pig on, when the coals get ready then you start putting the coal under the hog.

We take the shovel.  Scoop it in there.  Scoop up what we need.  Take it on the inside and we have an open door at each pit where we go under with the shovel and spread the heat at both the ham and the shoulders.  No where else.  And all the heat meets in the middle.

You hear folks all over say they use the wood.  But then they say they use wood chips, or they may use a few pieces of wood.  They might smoke for a little bit. This right here?  All wood.  Nothing else.  One hundred percent wood. Nothing but wood.

Cut. Chop. Cook.  It’s all right here.  In the wood.”

You can almost smell the barbeque.  Food for the soul:

CUT/CHOP/COOK from UM Media Documentary Projects on Vimeo.

 

MY FAVORITE BOLERO

MY FAVORITE BOLEROSara sometimes scolds me for referring to all of our pieces as my “favorite.” It’s a truthful statement though, since at one time or another each has been in heavy rotation in my wardrobe. I tend to get stuck on one garment at a time. I once spent an entire summer alternating between two identical tank dress. So, right now I would like you to meet my current obsession- the Bolero.

The Bolero is the absolute perfect piece for erratic Southern weather. The soft jersey fabric and slim cut mean it’s small enough to toss into my bag without sacrificing much space. In less than a week my amazing Bolero has saved me from a freezing restaurant, a subzero theater, and having to explain the meaning of my tattoos to my in-laws. With that sort of performance I feel like I’m completely justified in treating myself to another for the holidays!MY FAVORITE BOLERO

 

 

THE UNIFORM

I adore clothes. Both my closet and a large portion of the surrounding floor space are a testament to that. My lack of self control, paired with a job that forces me to be around beautiful garments all day, means I acquire more than I should and more than I have room for. At some point I will have to pay Alabama Chanin for working here.

My morning routine usually consists of two or three outfit changes. And if I’m getting ready for a special occasion- forget it; it’s going to take a while. At least that was the norm before Agnes, my daughter, came onto the scene. Life with a tiny human that refused to sleep quickly put showering in the luxury category and landed multiple wardrobe changes nowhere near the radar.

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CLOTHING + SOUND + COLOR

I love, love, LOVE this clip from the New Dragon Inn that Charty Durrant sent over this morning.

The clip above is from the remake – by Raymond Lee – of a 1960′s classic Kung Fu film.

Her email: “Check out this sequence – the clothing, the sound, the colours… Ahhhhhhhhhhhh.”

Thanks for making my morning Charty!
xoNatalie

A PLEA FOR ORGANIC COTTON

Thanks to everyone who reached out about and/or shared my post on organic cotton last Friday on @EcoSalon.

For the sake of making a plea for organic cotton, here it is again… spread the word.
xoNatalie

Pound for Pound:

I am pissed. It doesn’t happen often, but, it does happen.

I grew up in cotton country. My mother and her sisters picked cotton every summer to make money for new school clothes, as they didn’t want to head back in “handmade.” My aunts and uncles raised this cotton. I slept under blankets made from scrap cotton that grows after the harvest has taken place – the dregs that are left over.  I made a film about cotton and rural quilting. For better or for worse, cotton is part of the vernacular of my community, my childhood, and my life. I would venture that cotton plays a large role in your life as well.

Since this fiber is so prevalent in our lives, I think that there are 10 things you should know about it.

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