American Routes takes a trip through the music of the Yellowhammer State–Alabama. Visit the Muscle Shoals Sound Studio and find out what’s in the water around “The Shoals” to make it a historic hotbed for R&B hits by Wilson Pickett, Aretha Franklin and more. Also, a trip through Hank Williams‘ childhood home in Georgiana, and W.C. Handy Music Festival in Florence. And music from Shelby Lynne, the Birmingham Sunlights and the Delmore Brothers.
Our weekend workshop was a beautiful mixture of women from all walks of life. It was wonderful to hear our studio filled with laughter, chatter and, from time to time, the quiet hum of concentrated fingers at work. All of the projects are lovely and I am certain that the participants will be showing off their garments over the course of the next months.
Our Sunday morning was enchanted by a serenade of Alabama Song by singer, songwriter, and designer, Allison Moorer. Allison is an amazing woman and I was inspired by her fearless choice to make our 16-Panel Swing Dress with all-over rose reverse applique.
I cannot wait to see her on stage in the piece and feel grateful to have found a new stitching sister so close to home as Nashville is just a hop, a skip and a jump up the Natchez Trace from Florence.
I received the email below from friend Sarah Lewis after she visited the Photography on Photography: Reflections on the Medium since 1960(through October 19, 2008 at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City). And while I am not in New York myself to see the exhibition, my entire body of work has been very influenced by the photographs of Walker Evans (along with others from this era) and particularly his work with John Agee in Let Us Now Praise Famous Men.
I love the text below. Here is Sarah’s email:
I am sure you heard of the photographer Walker Evans…!?
“Watching Allie Mae Burroughs work with a simple broom kept in the kitchen corner, Agee mused that everything in the house might be licked with the tongue and made scarcely cleaner.
Evans photographs of the tenant farmers’ tidy kitchen are distilled essences of domesticity. “
From the MET photo exhibit,
“Kitchen Corner, Tenant Farmhouse, Hale County, Alabama, 1936.”
And his predecessor, Sherrie Levine, “After Walker Evans.”
…I think of you no less than every other day…
Learn more about the exhibition here and start your own discussion about the role of the historical in contemporary work:
I had actually forgotten that I had a subscription to The (New) Oxford American.I had not received a copy in some time and then miraculously the “Best of the South 2008” was in our post box last week.
I have heard rumors of complaints about the magazine but I have to say that while the new design does not appeal to me in the same way as my old archived copies, I always find a good story, quote or picture in the magazine. (Well, when it arrives, I suppose. I mean who cannot just love Roy Blount, Jr.?)
This issue is no exception and I was delighted to read “The Collector of the Everyday” about Joseph Mitchell by Sam Stephenson.
I think of myself as a very well read person and developed a love (obsession) with books when just a little girl. I have read everything from the entire works of Milan Kundera to Nancy Drew and am constantly on the lookout for a new author that will feed my desire for knowledge. So, how could it be that I never heard of Joseph Mitchell?
Not only was Mitchell a journalist and novelist but also a collector of everyday objects. The photographs of his meticulously collected and documented objects are spectacular and stir a feeling in my stomach that I have known this person intimately.
After investigation, I found that Granta 88: Mothers contains an extensive piece with the photographs. I ordered the issue immediately. The images are rich, moving and everything but everyday.
FOR generations of Southern bakers, the secret to weightless biscuits has been one simple ingredient passed from grandmother to mother to child: White Lily all-purpose flour.
Biscuit dives and high-end Southern restaurants like Watershed in Atlanta and Blackberry Farm outside Knoxville use it. Blue-ribbon winners at state fair baking contests depend on it. On food lovers’ Web sites, transplanted Southerners share tips on where to find it, and some of them returning from trips back home have been known to attract attention when airport security officers detect a suspicious white dust on their luggage.
White Lily is distinctly Southern: it has been milled here in downtown Knoxville since 1883 and its white bags (extra tall because the flour weighs less per cup than other brands) are distributed almost solely in Southern supermarkets, although specialty stores like Williams-Sonoma and Dean & DeLuca have carried it at premium prices.
But at the end of June, the mill, with its shiny wood floors, turquoise and red grinders and jiggling armoire-size sifters, will shut its doors. The J. M. Smucker Company, which bought the brand a year ago, has already begun producing White Lily at two plants in the Midwest, causing ripples of anxiety that Southern biscuits will never be the same.
Maggie keeps saying over and over again, “Mommy, going beach, Mommy, going beach.”
Don’t miss Working the Miles by Joe York, a tribute to the men and women of 13 Mile Oyster Company, honoring Tommy Ward who, like his father before him, has served as a guardian of the Apalachicola Bay.
“The honeybees are disappearing, and it’s …. scary, considering that our civilization kind of depends on pollination and all…
Shining a spotlight on this catastrophe is Earnest Sewn with the latest in their ongoing installations: “A New Hive.” Bee-inspired works by Derrick R. Cruz, Caroline Priebe, Natalie Chanin, Cory Gomberg, Monica Byrne and others will be included in the exhibit at Earnest Sewn’s flagship store in NYC’s Meatpacking District. The hope is to bring attention to this extremely pressing issue, because as Cruz puts it: “Curiosity leads to contemplation, internalization, and then to genuine concern.”