“A Carafe, that is a blind glass.
A kind in glass and a cousin, a spectacle and nothing strange a simple hurt color and an arrangement in a system to pointing. All this and not ordinary, not unordered in not resembling. The difference is spreading.”
This is how Gertrude Stein begins her Cubist experiment in verse. Tender Buttons, Objects has been called a masterpiece, a failure, confusing, nonsense, and a beautiful collage. It has been supposed a practical joke, too obscure to have real meaning, or too meaningful to describe (the last presumably said by an unenthusiastic poetry student).
Most of us don’t really think about color, or what color is or how it’s made, and yet our entire day is filled with too many shades to count or record. In Victoria Finlay’s 2002 book, Color: A Natural History of the Palette, she writes, “the first challenge in writing about colors is that they don’t really exist. Or rather they do exist, but only because our minds create them as an interpretation of vibrations that are happening around us.”
This leaves quite a bit of objective opinion about color, much of it based on what we are physiologically able to absorb and interpret. The human eye perceives color in different ways, often depending on how light affects the color we are observing. We’ve all witnessed the changing shades of green in the trees or greys and reds on the buildings around us from dawn to dusk as the temperature and quality of light shifts throughout the day. Each person sees color in different ways, notices subtle differences, and has a biased personal interpretation of color. Isn’t one of the first things we learn to answer about ourselves as children, what’s your favorite color?
Newsletter #5 showcases our newest addition to our collection of workshops: the Studio Week. The first session is scheduled for November 2013. Also, our Father’s Day Gift Guide offers a selection of items specifically for Dad.
Read about Single Lock Records, a local indie record label in our community and browse our Library + Gifts for books on innovative business models from Zingerman’s Community of Businesses, based in Ann Arbor, Michigan.
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xoNatalie and all of us @ Alabama Chanin
In honor of Father’s Day, we want to take some time this year to celebrate and express appreciation for the men in our lives. Dads, husbands, partners, sons, and brothers have cared for, provided for, sacrificed for, and loved us throughout many stages in our lives. This year I’ll be helping my son Zach (pictured above) celebrate his first Father’s Day. (Yes, I am now a granny.)
In 1982, Ari Weinzweig and Paul Saginaw opened Zingerman’s Delicatessen in Ann Arbor, Michigan. The deli quickly became Ann Arbor’s premiere specialty foods store. As the business grew to include mail order customers across the country, Paul and Ari were presented with an opportunity to open stores nationwide and follow a traditional franchise business model. What they did instead is a great representation of the philosophies that Alabama Chanin tries to embody. Community, sustainability, and education are at the heart of the Zingerman’s Community of Businesses, which is made up of eight different, semi-autonomous businesses that operate as one organization. Zingerman’s has remained firmly in Ann Arbor, building successful commerce from within the community, by the community, for the community. This year the organization will have annual sales of about $46,000,000 and employs nearly 600 people.
The Zingerman’s Community of Businesses (aka, the ZCoB) includes a bakery, a coffee roaster, a creamery that makes both fresh cheese and gelato, a candy manufactory, and a James Beard award-winning restaurant. ZingTrain, Zingerman’s business training service, offers seminars that share the organization’s approach to leadership, service, open book management, visioning, etc. They offer baking classes at BAKE, their nationally recognized baking school for the home baker. Zingerman’s also runs a publishing house, which publishes several books by Ari, focused on guiding the small business owner. You can find the titles Building a Great Business and Being a Better Leader in our online store. In the spirit of Alabama Chanin, the books were beautifully designed and illustrated by the Zingerman’s team, printed in Ann Arbor on recycled paper and are not available through mass market distribution.
We sat down with Ari Weinzweig to find out more about this unusual and innovative prototype for a new kind of business model.
Lately, we’ve dedicated several journal posts to Mom in anticipation of her holiday this Sunday. Mother’s Day often feels like a holiday remembered at the last minute – a rush to find a card, a brunch reservation in lieu of a gift. But when we started brainstorming for posts about mom a few months ago, we began looking at women, and mothers, through a different lens and gained a deeper appreciation for the women who birthed us, nurture us, care for us, and stand by us through everything.
The Dust-to-Digital book and CD compilation Never a Pal Like Mother is a collection of vintage photographs of and commercial recordings about mother. It’s an unusual and unique gift for any book lover. Just one of several Dust-to-Digital publications we sell in our online store, it may be our favorite.
Our post on Mom and the Casserole explored the history of the American casserole, a memory most of us share and strongly associate with Mom.
We dug deeper into The Craft of Midwifery, possibly the oldest DIY pursuit known to (wo)mankind, and the growing interest in home births.
Mark Twain’s Advice to Little Girls added some much needed humor to our routine.
We look forward to Sunday and sharing a few moments (not just a card) with our mothers (and those who have mothered us) and perhaps a few moments mothering ourselves.
We wish you all a HAPPY MOTHERS’ DAY—whatever that means for you…
xo from all of us @ Alabama Chanin
Some of us fell in love with Mark Twain the first time we read The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, and some of us understood his genius much later on, when we were finally old enough to appreciate his humor and satiric commentary on humanity. Twain’s polished use of irony is ever-present throughout the brief book, Advice to Little Girls, re-published this year with beautiful, and equally provocative, illustrations by Vladimir Radunsky. I loved it immediately.
Whether or not Twain intended this book to fall into the hands of sweet little girls, we’ll never know. And I’m undecided about sharing it with Maggie. Of course, I want to raise a creative, independent thinking, strong daughter, but somehow I think Twain’s “advice” might give her more ideas than she is (and I am) ready for. She’s already managed to exhaust me with her picky eating habits, her refusal to brush her hair, ever, and her snail’s pace at doing just about anything I ask of her.
I think that we all have memories of family dinner with Mom bringing one single bubbling hot dish to the table. I have a favorite casserole from childhood, something that my mother called “goulash” that I’m sure bears little resemblance to the actual Hungarian dish. I’m not sure that I’d even like it if I ate it today, but the thought of the curly noodles and the hearty aroma is enough to make me still believe it was practically gourmet cuisine.
We’ve quickly fallen in love with Dust-to-Digital’s recordings and hardcover book compilations. The third in our series, Never A Pal Like Mother: Vintage Songs & Photographs of the One Who’s Always True, is perhaps the most sentimental and most resonating collection yet.
I received this gorgeous package from friend and maker Kata Golda a few days ago. My daughter Maggie snatched the contents up and they have been in her school backpack every day since.
Kata makes a menagerie of amazing little creatures with hand-dyed wool felt and hand stitching. They are simple, colorful constructions that embody Kata’s warm spirit and whimsyLike Alabama Chanin, she has a zero waste philosophy, using every piece of fabric and working with recycled and non-toxic materials when possible, while upholding the same standards in day-to-day life.
(Thank you again Kata.) Kata Golda’s Hand-Stitched Felt book is a beautiful addition to the hand-stitcher’s library.