FABIOLA (LOVE LETTER TO A PAINTING)

FABIOLA (LOVE LETTER TO A PAINTING) via California Literary ReviewIn his classic tome on two-dimensional design, Wucius Wong indicates that it takes at least three elements for something to be considered repeating. Repeating elements is one of the first theories you learn as a textile designer. I spent an entire semester discussing the theory of words and their meanings in design language. We were all in agreement: for repetition, two isn’t enough. What about over three hundred?

Wucius Wong’s theory is the first thing that comes to mind when I look at these pictures from an exhibition by the artist Francis Alys, showcased at the National Portrait Gallery in London. In room after room, over 300 portraits of Saint Fabiola are displayed: the same woman in the same pose, the same traditional rendition. Repetition – the same image seen over and over again.

The artist has collected these paintings from flea markets and garage sales in his adopted home of Mexico City. Most are painted by amateur artists. All portray the same woman, again, and again, and again. What Alys points out is that, though the images are similar – they all portray this woman, Saint Fabiola, in the same traditional veil, seated in the same pose and with the same background color – each individual image is unique. Each bears the mark of the artist. One may paint her nose with a slant; another may paint her with makeup or a solemn expression. The artists have copied a widely known image, but interpreted through their own eyes. We see repetition, but without absolutely identical images.

The larger art here is in the repetition of the “pattern,” or image. But, Francis Alys is showing us that even copies bear the mark of the creator. Seeing the same image repeated hundreds of times makes for an impressive impact. Viewed as a whole they represent merely a single pattern; viewed more closely, they demonstrate that, even when re-creating someone else’s work of art, the artist’s uniqueness shines through.

SAINT FABIOLA

*Photos borrowed from California Literary Review.

JACK RUDY PINK GIN + BAR TOWEL

JACK RUDY PINK GINThis post published last Wednesday in the midst of technical difficulties that lasted more than a week. We are deeply proud of this collaboration, adore all things Jack Rudy, and want to be sure that everyone gets a chance to meet Brooks up-close (or at least closer). Here we re-publish  the story, giving the Pink Gin it’s due.  Besides, it’s a good week for everything we (heart):

Since we’re celebrating Valentine’s Day, it’s only natural to throw a cocktail in the mix. And so, in keeping with the season’s color palette, I’m drinking a Pink Gin and Tonic made with Jack Rudy Handmade Tonic.

Alabama Chanin loves Jack Rudy and we have used it in several cocktails, from a rosemary-infused Vodka & Jack Rudy to our Handmade Cocktail made with Tito’s Handmade Vodka. We collaborated with Brooks Reitz, one of the creators of Jack Rudy, to design a hand-stitched 100% organic cotton French Terry bar towel especially for Jack Rudy enthusiasts.  Our Jack Rudy-inspired bar towels are available on our website, and you can also choose to bundle them with a bottle of Jack Rudy Handmade Tonic (bring your own gin).

JACK RUDY BAR TOWEL Continue reading

Bookmark and Share

NEWSLETTER #1

ALABAMA CHANIN NEWSLETTER #1

We are pleased to introduce our first-ever Alabama Chanin newsletter. Each month (or so), you can expect updates about our newest designs, events, workshops, design projects, products, and other ideas and people we care deeply about.

You can update your subscription to include the newsletter (and our other offerings) by clicking here.

Let us know what you want and when you want it.

A LOVE LETTER TO LOVE LETTERS

Love LettersOnce there was nothing but paper and pen. Not so long ago (a little over a decade), before the email, the text, the tweet, or the Facebook post, there was simply paper and pen.

Think about how special it feels when you get an actual hand-written note in the mail. When you were a child and wrote that super-secret note to your pen pal, covering the envelope in stickers – think of the pure excitement when a response finally arrived. When I was young and corresponded with friends, summer camp bunk-mates, or cousins, I remember watching as they grew and their handwriting changed: a visual representation that we were getting older. As we moved through junior high and high school, the passing of the note in class became high art. As we got older, silly little love notes were left under car windshield wipers, tucked into coat pockets, left on pillows. Some were sappy, some embarrassing, some beautiful – all with one intent: to express affection.

But, at some point we stopped.

Continue reading

Bookmark and Share

LOS ANGELES BOUND

ONE-DAY RETREAT @HEATH CERAMICS- LOS ANGELES. PHOTOGRAPHER: COREY MILLERIt’s no secret that we (heart) Heath Ceramics. And we are fortunate enough to have one HEATH collaboration under our belt (with a new design coming in May).

Our collaboration plates and dishes are a daily treasure in my home. My daughter sighs, “I want to eat on the star plate this morning.”  “Star plate for a star student,” I reply.

HEATH was founded in 1948 by Edith Heath. “She was a talented ceramicist with a great respect for craft and material, and a strong point of view on the product that her company would make — simple, good things for good people.” Over 65 years later, the company is still dedicated to that same simple, functional (and beautiful) line of products.

My friends Cathy and Robin took over in 2003 and will soon be celebrating a decade at the helm of this company with an amazing history.

Dinnerware and tile are staple products under the Heath Ceramics name, but visit their website or store front and you will find an array of merchandise and collaborations in textiles, home accessories, glassware, and more.

ONE-DAY RETREAT @  HEATH CERAMICS - LOST ANGELES. PHOTOGRAPHER: COREY MILLER

Continue reading

Bookmark and Share

LOVE AND SAVE

LOVE AND SAVE Take 15% off the things you love from Alabama Chanin through February 7, 2013*

Enter code LOVESAVE at checkout

*Excludes workshops

(P.S.: Don’t forget to order in time for Valentine’s Day.)

For Valentine gift suggestions and delivery options: call +1.256.760.1090.

DR. RUTH (AND THE LOVE OF LITERATURE)

DR. RUTH (AND SOME VALENTINE'S LITERATURE) There is no denying that I love stories and storytelling.  In various and changing stages of my life, I have transformed from an obsessed to a simply avid reader, and everything in between.

These days, I have to admit that I have a hard time staying awake long enough to get through all the books on my nightstand, as some nights I seem to fall asleep before six-year-old Maggie.

Over the years, and as my love for reading grew, I developed numerous ways of moving through literature:

Choosing an author and reading everything: Hermann Hesse, Zora Neale Hurston, Toni Morrison, Alice Walker, Mary Renault, Steven King (the early works)…

Finding a theme and following it through: Good Business (Paul Hawken, Bill McKibben, Samuel Mockbee…), Classics (Homer, Chaucer, Dante, Shakespeare), The Nature of Love (D.H. Lawrence, Laurence Durrell, and Marquis De Sade), Southern Short Stories (Harry Crews, Eudora Welty, Tennessee Williams, George Dawes Green)…

Genres, and subgenres: pioneer, mystery/thrillers, vampire, Southern gothic, cookbooks, and, yes, erotica.

Last week, I was on the phone with my dear friend Lisa who talking about Dr. Ruth and organizing a book reading with the famed doctor in the mattress section of a well-known store.  Genius.

Dr. Ruth was suddenly on my radar and, in the process, I discovered her Twitter account (follow Dr. Ruth; you will thank me). So, as one thing leads to another on the internet, I follow one of the links to the video below, which brings me back to literature, specifically erotica:

I started pretty early in my reading life with classics like Lady Chatterley’s Lover, The Story of O, and afterward moved seamlessly from De Sade to Anaïs Nin, from the (rather boring) Memoirs of Fanny Hill by John Cleland (I prefer Erica Jong’s version) to Anne Rice’s (trashy) Sleeping Beauty series, written under the pseudonym of A. N. Roquelaure.

So, I admit that when the Fifty Shades Series arrived on my radar, I wanted to see what all the fuss was about. Many women today are reading this series openly. I see school moms posting about the characters on Facebook and little old ladies sitting in coffee shops with the book proudly lying open beside their tea.  So while I am thankful that erotica has found its way out-of-the-closet, I found the series (ahem) not as engaging as some of the classic tomes from my earlier days; however, I ADORE Dr. Ruth’s take:

All of this in a round-about-way to say Happy Valentine’s Month ahead of us. Here’s to a bit of literature (erotic or otherwise)–perhaps read aloud to a loved one.

These days, I mostly enjoy Ivy and Bean, recited aloud by my budding reader (if I can stay awake long enough).

LES BLANK (A LOVE LETTER)

LES BLANK (A LOVE LETTER)I’ve written a couple of times about what happens when your heroes and heroines become friends. For me, it brings about a feeling of connection to the ever-expanding universe; all things are possible.  A girl from the countryside in Alabama can dine with royalty (in all its meanings).  The picture above is proof. When I look at this picture, I laughingly think of The Death of Roy Batty in Blade Runner: “I’ve seen things you people wouldn’t believe. Attack ships on fire off the shoulder of Orion. I watched C-beams glitter in the dark near the Tannhauser gate. All those moments will be lost in time, like tears in rain….” However, those moments will not be lost. Knowing and dining with Les Blank gives me a connection to the stories and tiny details of human nature that make me a bigger, and better, person. His contribution to the genre of documentary film is exceptional; his contribution to my life is priceless.  His clear vision of humanity (like that of The Kitchen Sisters)  helped mold the designer, story lover, and human being I am today. I am so sad to write that my friend, and hero, is very ill with a protracted cancer.  The City of Berkeley, California declared January 22nd the official Les Blank Day and wrote this: “With a soft spoken demeanor, an eye for beauty, an insightful mind and great enthusiasm, Les Blank has captured the essence of aspects of American culture,” and “through his respectful, quiet presence, and non-didactic style created films that allow his subjects to reveal their true selves in a unique way.” Well deserved.  The world is a better place because of Les Blank, visionary wayfarer. P.S.: Photo above with Les and Alice Waters from April 2008 at The Edible Schoolyard (where Les first filmed and then cleaned everyone’s plate).

HOMEGROWN GOWN

NO'ALA BRIDALWe (HEART) this story in the newest NO’ALA Magazine (on pages 110-117) about our custom made Bridal gowns:

NO'ALA BRIDAL

It takes a village:

“Once the elements of the gown are chosen, Diane, the master seamstress, measures the bride and Carra-Ellen cuts the fabric and prepares the pattern. Steven, the production manager, applies the stencil to the fabric using an airbrush technique. And with Natalie’s stamp of approval, Olivia prepares the kits for the artisans.

The artisans, who are all from the North Alabama area, are independent contractors, who charge per square inch, depending upon the intricacy of the stitching. This cottage industry-style production model allows artisans to work from their own homes and set their own wages.”

NO'ALA BRIDAL

Plan ahead:

“Brides should allow three weeks for online orders and several months for a custom gown. ‘It’s a slow process,’ says Lyndsie, ‘but it’s well worth the wait.’”You can contact Lyndsie: office (at) alabamachanin.com. Look for our new bridal line to launch soon.

NO'ALA BRIDAL

P.S.: What did you wear to your wedding(s)?

“A handmade silk slip underneath a silk brocade, baby blue fur-collared evening coat from Anna Molinari, heels, and a diamond choker,” says Natalie. “Totally 1996.”