…from our dear friend Eva Whitechapel and all of us @ Alabama Chanin
The holidays have snuck up on us once again. It seems that so often we rush through the year and then into the holidays while forgetting to enjoy the beauty of the season. These days, as we all prepare for parties, enormous dinners, and the giving of gifts, I hope that we also find comfort in tradition, the simplicity of family, and in our own unique ways of celebrating. My wish is the same for our Alabama Chanin family. As we prepare to leave for the holidays (we will be closed on Monday), we leave you with a few stories, favorite memories, pictures, traditions, and things we cherish about this time of year.
It took me years to come to love the paisley pattern. I first became aware of the distinctive design during my days working in India and throughout my years as a stylist: men’s ties, patterned shirts, dresses, and scarves just scratch the surface. Since that time, I have avoided using it at Alabama Chanin simply as I felt that it was just SO often seen across the realm of textile design. However, my strict stance has mellowed recently and the pattern is highlighted in Chapter 8 of our upcoming Alabama Studio Sewing + Design, entitled “Fabric + Fabric Maps.”
“The paisley – a tear-, pear-, or kidney-shaped curved figure – is a common motif in almost all cultures across the globe.”
Historically, paisley has been present in fabrics worldwide and there have been an array of books written on the pattern. I suppose a designer could spend their entire career just working with this simple shape.
I was greeted at work today by the most wonderful discovery – I literally gasped when I saw the copy of Savage Beauty on my desk. Thank you Natalie! It’s no secret that I’ve been obsessing over Alexander McQueen for the last several months, watching past runway shows, and sending links with reckless abandon. The work is breathtaking.
I will now give my computer a well-deserved rest from endless McQueen queries so that I might devote the day to
complete immersion in one of the most beautiful books I have ever seen. The book
You’ll find a couple of beautiful photos below, but there really is so much more.
P.S.: Thank you to Andrew Bolton and the entire team at the Metropolitan Museum of Art Costume Institute for the stunning retrospective. Read the New York Times article about the show and the man: Designer as Dramatist, and the Tales He Left Behind
The response to our Weekend Workshop Give-Away on our Facebook Page has been tremendous and inspiring, but also difficult in that we don’t know how to choose a winner.
This might have been one of the most difficult decisions we have had to make all year. So many people, so many deserving stories… The result is that instead of giving away one Weekend Workshop, we are giving away five.
We want to congratulate Janette Danley for her daughter’s beautiful story of her mother selfless love and Sarah Straud for understanding the true essence of giving by recommending Janette Danley – rather than herself. Their stories are below. We look forward to sharing the weekend with these two women in our studio this coming April.
And since we couldn’t stop there…
We would invite Julie Glasgow Higginbotham’s mother to our Weekend Workshop in August and Anne Heartness’ friend Melissa to our weekend workshop in November.
If the winners could please contact us via email office (at) alabamachanin.com, we will complete the registration. We look forward to sharing these stories in the coming year. Thank you again for all the beautiful stories and happy days to all…
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:
Thank you to everyone who braved the rain and came out for our Holiday Market + Cocktail Party last night. Continue reading
I have been taste testing tonight for our Holiday Market and cocktail party this Thursday evening. Come by The Factory to visit with great artists and musicians and, of course, to try my Alabama Royale:
Sip + enjoy (responsibly).
Join us @ The Factory:
Cocktails + Shopping
Thursday, December 15, 2011, 6 – 9pm
Holiday Shopping + Sample Sale
Friday, December 16, 2011, 10am – 6pm
For those of you who have been reading this blog for years, it will come as no surprise that I have a girl crush on Virginia Willis. For me, she embodies all of the things that are required of a great Southern Chef with an added hearty laugh. Her book Bon Appetit, Y’all is in constant rotation in my kitchen and the beautiful photographs still take my breath away.
I have been revisiting our Wabi Sabi posts as I move into the holiday season and start to get my house ready for a slew of visitors. I am so excited to be cooking up a storm from all of our new holiday cookbooks, playing games, and laughing – but, first, my house needs a good cleaning. While I love the Wabi Sabi Cleaning Cupboard, I also enjoy splurging from time-to-time on my favorite Mrs. Meyer’s Lemon Verbena cleaning supplies. June put together a lovely cleaning kit of all my favorite supplies, with some of our organic cotton scraps to use as rags for my deep clean. Perhaps I really don’t like cleaning but I do get great satisfaction from taking my time, touching every surface, and relaxing at the end of the day in a house that just smells good. All is right with the world.
“Homemakers in the Depression era knew wabi-sabi (even if they never uttered the phrase). In their homes, things were patched and mended but scrubbed and clean, handmade or chosen and paid for with care. Their linens may have been thin from many washings, but they were crisply white from lemon-juice treatments. Floors may have shown the wear of many feet, but they were clean and warmed up with a rug that had faded gracefully from brilliant red to pale rose. Wood had scratches, but it was polished to show off its grain. For those indoctrinated to believe that anything less than perfect should be replaced, our ancestors’ hands-on frugality is enlightening – welcome respite in our prosperous age of planned obsolescence.”