Tag Archives: Film

SIGN PAINTERS (THE MOVIE)

Sign Painters - Authors_Levine_Macon

Yesterday, I wrote about my appreciation of hand-painted signs, inspired by the book Sign Painters, authored by friend Faythe Levine with Sam Macon. Faythe and Sam have directed a documentary – also called Sign Painters, as a companion to the book.

In 2008, Faythe co-authored and directed a book and film, both named Handmade Nation: The Rise of Craft and DIY. We welcomed her to Alabama last April for our Visiting Artist Series, where she highlighted “craftivism” and brought her light-hearted stories to the Factory. This summer she has taken Sign Painters on the road for a series of screenings.

Faythe has an itinerant spirit. She states in the book’s preface, “Many of my earliest memories involve travel, much of which was by car. I’d stare out the window of the family station wagon and watch America transition from one place to the next.”

SIGN PAINTERS_COLOSSALMEDIA Continue reading

FROM SARA: BILL CUNNINGHAM (POST FASHION WEEK)

BILL CUNNINGHAM - SCENE FROM THE MOVIE "BILL CUNNINGHAM NEW YORK"I don’t want to overstate the obvious, but most of you would know that I am neither a New Yorker nor a fashion expert. While I enjoy style and design and I’m somewhat awed by the city, it’s clear to any observer that I’m native to neither. But, there’s something about Bill Cunningham that makes me feel comfortable with both. He lives and roams in the intimidating worlds of fashion and Manhattan, but manages to do so in an unpretentious way.

This weekend I re-watched the feature-length documentary Bill Cunningham New York, which profiles this prolific photographer and wise fashion observer and, once again, this eighty-something gentleman captured all my heart. Sometimes, as a fashion outsider, I imagine that NY style begins and ends on the runway. Bill Cunningham is a firm believer that this notion is not true. “The best fashion show is definitely on the street – always has been, always will be,” he assures us. His “On the Street,” column in the New York Times is a collage of on-trend people, items, movements, and real-time style progressions. In the film, Harold Koda, Curator of the Costume Institute/Metropolitan Museum of Art, explains that Bill attempts to “tease out trends in terms of the reality of how people dress.” Cunningham himself demurs, “I don’t decide anything. I let the street speak to ME.”

BILL CUNNINGHAM FOR THE NY TIMES

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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).

MAKE THINGS (AND FLY)

Next week we return to our regularly scheduled programming:

Monday – Beautiful Life: Things, stories, and people that inspire us.
Tuesday – Sustainable Life + Design: Good, good, and more good.
Wednesday – In the Kitchen: Food, of course, recipes and cookbooks, and occasional garden updates. And a cocktail (or three).
Thursday – DIY + Sewing: Do-It-Yourself, Design, Craft, or what ever you would like to call it.
Friday – The Heart, Travel + Other News, or, anything we find fascinating: Stories about our studio, interviews with our team, where we have been, where we are going, what people are talking about, and, sometimes, cotton.

(Disclaimer: Natalie reserves the right to mix it all up from time-to-time.)

We also have some new categories on our mailing list. Take a minute to join or to simply update your preferences, email address, or information. Tell us how much you want. We really want to know. Look for a monthly newsletter, coming soon, and a weekly update, coming later.

In the meantime, make things (and fly),
xo and Happy New Year from all of us @ Alabama Chanin

P.S.: Film about Chabott Engineering by Henrik Hansen

LEARNING FROM THE VERNACULAR

“It is essential to remember that as many arts of living exist as cultural nuances and beliefs.”

I posted about Deidi von Schaewen’s work back in 2010 when her “Learning from Vernacular” first appeared as an exhibition to be seen only by train.

Now, she takes the work one step further in an exhibition that “proposes a world tour of traditional architectures, known as ‘vernacular’, presented in models, films and photographs.”


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ALABAMA CHANIN: A COTTAGE INDUSTRY SUCCESS STORY

Thank you to our employees and artisans for their commitment to the extraordinary and thank you to everyone at Etsy for telling our story with this beautiful film. It makes us proud to share the stories that unfold each day in our growing community.

Please visit the Etsy blog to read a little more and leave a comment to enter to win a copy of Alabama Studio Sewing + Design plus a DIY kit that includes everything you’ll need to sew your own Alabama Chanin garment.

xoNatalie

 

I WANT TO BE FRIENDS WITH FAYTHE LEVINE.

I’m almost certain she’s the coolest person I’ve never met.

Several pieces of evidence have led me to this conclusion; the first is this article from the NY Times and the second was probably the conference call that spurred our upcoming Visiting Artist event. Natalie and I were hunched over the speaker phone in my office exchanging ideas about “loom rooms,” home-made bitters, and interactive art exhibits with a very agreeable Levine.

She ended the call saying she had to open her art gallery/skate shop a few blocks away.

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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.