When I was working on our Heath Ceramics collaboration, we worked with colors rooted in the Southern vernacular and my upbringing in the 1960s and 70s in Alabama. When I look at the dishes, I see parts of my childhood in the shades of red and blue.
The chosen red is appropriately called red clay, as it was inspired by the color of Alabama soil. This miraculous color used to bring tears to my eyes as I would fly in from my time living in Europe. As a child, our summer clothes were stained with the color. The bottoms of our feet were permanently red clay colored after the temperature reached 78 degrees. Gillian Welch’s song Red Clay Halo cannot say it any better:
All the girls all dance with the boys from the city,
And they don’t care to dance with me.
Now it ain’t my fault that the fields are muddy,
And the red clay stains my feet.
Being a barefoot child who played in the garden, I knew this color intimately. This is the color of hard-working farmers and farm wives; it is the story of a community.
Southern musicians have written about Alabama’s red soil for decades. EmmyLou Harris’s Red Dirt Girl is another iconic example.
A traditional southern barbecue will almost always have the option of pork, whether in the form of pulled pork sandwiches, slow-cooked ribs, or smoked pork butt. Our July 4th pork dish may be a little more formal than those options, but it is actually very easy to prepare.
Our pork loin was sourced locally and roasted with fresh herbs from my garden. It looks even more delicious in a Large Serving Dish by Heath Ceramics. The dish helps hold the moisture, keeping the pork moist and allowing the flavors to emerge. I love the red color in contrast to our White and Navy Center Stripe Table Cloth.
“Let us raise a standard to which the wise and honest can repair.” –George Washington
The flag is the centerpiece of American cultural imagery. Growing up in the 1960s and 70s, the flag came to mean so many different things: pride, controversy, rebellion, commitment, more, so much more…
It has taken me decades of living, working, and traveling the globe to understand my own relationship to this symbol of our great nation. I have grown to love the flag in all its incarnations – as a reminder of where I come from, our collective history, and, of course, of the wise and honest standard to which I believe we are raising our repair.
Thanks to Garden & Gun for making our dinnerware their Editors’ Pick for the June/July 2012 issue.
Beautifully hand-crafted pieces.
Perfect timing for summer parties and entertaining.
Even better timing for my summer tomato sandwich diet (recipe included).
The etched salad plate is the perfect size for a single, delicious sandwich and I’ve got tomatoes in my garden almost ripe for the picking.
Alabama Chanin for HEATH Ceramics is available for purchase from Cook + Dine or from Heath’s website.
Cathy Bailey of HEATH Ceramics has frequented this blog for a number of years as a friend and a colleague. After loving her work (and her) from afar, we were fortunate to collaborate with HEATH Ceramics to produce a line of table and dinner wares that were launched last fall.
Cathy (her husband, Robin), and I share much of the same passion about design, craft, and local production. Next week, Cathy and I will share the stage at the Standard Talks. This coming Tuesday, Alabama Chanin presents MAKESHIFT: Shifting Thoughts on Design, Fashion, Craft, and DIY, our first event in a series of many as we continue a conversation on the intersection of design, fashion, craft, and DIY.
Heath Ceramics: An impressive view from within from Heath Ceramics on Vimeo.
Spending the past couple of days in the San Francisco Bay Area, I’ve seen firsthand the “making” spirit that defines the unique culture and character of life here. Alabama Chanin feels very connected to–and inspired by the creativity, craftsmanship, quality, and local manufacturing in this community.
Watch Monocle’s video which highlights some of the craftsmen and advocates that are pushing the maker movement ahead: SFMade, New Resource Bank, and HEATH Ceramics.
From Make, Do, Change:
“ …that creativity is very strongly back to appreciating good craftsmanship and quality in physical objects, and the idea that making products and working with your hands is something to be respected…”
-Robin Petravic, of HEATH Ceramics.
Our local bakery – called Sugar Bakers – makes the most beautiful cakes. I personally think of them as “old-timey,” because they remind me of my childhood birthday cakes with white buttercream frosting and plenty of scallops and swags.
Here a beautiful cake they recently made for me for a special occasion using a “stitched” Anna’s Garden pattern on the top. I think that this would make such a beautiful wedding cake (or birthday, or shower, or anniversary).
In the spirit of “The Best Of” week as we move towards New Year’s Eve, I had to recap some of the best meals of my year – and they were plenty (despite my detox).
2011 started with a trip to Blackberry Farm’s Taste of the South with an amazing array of chefs and artisans. The weekend is somewhat of a blur – perhaps because of all the wine tasting with Angie Mosier, and Charles and Kristie Abney. I remember a biodynamic wine that was a glowing, beautiful orange color. (Charles and Kristie – if you are reading, can you remind me of the name of this wine? I would love to share it with others!)
Pardis Stitt will not let you leave her house, restaurant, or presence without a “to-go” box. And I know this may come as a surprise, but one of the best meal moments of my year was eating freshly cooked homemade chips and charred onion dip from Bottega in my car, on my way home to North Alabama. The recipe for this deliciousness can be found on page 23 of Bottega Favorita: A Southern Chef’s Love Affair with Italian Food. I have not been able to replicate the perfection of that afternoon in my own kitchen – must have been the “Pardis Love” that made the difference.
I know that many of you have already read the article; however, it is just so beautiful in the printed Design and Living 2011 Issue that I can’t help sharing again.
Thank you to Sally Singer, Pilar Vilades, Alexandra Lange, and the New York Times…
Thanks to all the HEATH Ceramics team for this lovely piece on Alabama Chanin in their November Newsletter:
Slowing Down (and Sitting Down) with Alabama Chanin
Stitch and clay intersect to create modern heirlooms in our newest collection
Slow down. This may feel like an impossible pursuit, particularly in this season, but when Heath Ceramics Creative Director Catherine Bailey explained that one of the intentions of Heath’s collaboration with Owner + Designer Natalie Chanin of Alabama Chanin was to “celebrate slow, thoughtful design,” the word really resonated.