Tag Archives: Inspiration

ON DESIGN: RAY AND CHARLES EAMES

ON DESIGN: RAY AND CHARLES EAMES

“Eventually everything connects – people, ideas, objects. The quality of the connections is the key to quality, per se.” – Charles Eames

Our first official On Design conversation and event centered on the Bauhaus—founded in 1919 by architect Walter Gropius. This movement’s core objective was a radical concept: to reimagine the material world to reflect the unity of all the arts. The main influences behind the Bauhaus were Modernism, the Arts and Crafts movement and, perhaps most importantly, Constructivism.

The Bauhaus school was closed in 1933 by its own leadership under pressure from the Nazi regime and many of the designers and artists who had been working within the school and those with similar philosophies, moved to the United States. Those of you who were present for our On Design: Bauhaus discussion (or who read about it) will remember that this movement came to change my life (and save my life), because the School of Design at North Carolina State University grew out of Black Mountain College—where some of the instructors from the Bauhaus settled. And, thus I essentially received a Bauhaus training.

The reach of the Bauhaus school is immeasurable. The foundations and design approach influenced designers like Frank Lloyd Wright, Edith Heath, Mies Van De Roe, Le Corbusier, Herbert Bayer, Philip Johnson, Marcel Breuer, and eventually Ray and Charles Eames.

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DIY EXPLODING ZERO (PLUS JACK CROSSING + HELMUT LANG)

DIY EXPLODING ZERO (PLUS JACK CROSSING + HELMUT LANG)

Inspiration: where does it come from?  That’s one of the most asked questions of designers and artists.

The answer is complicated and breathtakingly simple: inspiration is right in front of us. It comes to us over the airwaves, through the endless streams of data we consume, and is found on deserted street corners.

The exploding zero graphic above (on the left-hand side) landed on my desktop sometime last year and made us think about exploding our own preconceptions and also about the number zero—the number of infinite possibilities.

This manipulation of type that inspired our entire team was created by Jack Crossing. Design on paper translated to fabric, thread, beads, and sequins.

DIY Exploding Zero T-shirt is shown here with our sarong (simply a 36” x 72” rectangle of lightweight cotton jersey fabric cut lengthwise with the grain) and Natalie’s vintage Helmut Lang shoes (in pink) circa Spring/Summer 2000.

Make your own exploding zero project following the instructions below, or purchase our t-shirt DIY Kit from The School of Making.

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DO YOU REALLY WANT A COLLECTION?

DO YOU REALLY WANT A COLLECTION?

Over the years, and despite the fact that public speaking doesn’t come to me naturally, I’ve lectured at conferences and universities across the country and around the world. Invariably, during the question and answer section at the end of each talk, someone raises their hand and says, “I want to have a collection. What should I do?”

My answer has always been the same, “Get a copy of QuickBooks (or any accounting system) and a good accountant; make them both your friends.” You see, the truth is that you will spend much more time working on cash flow, and projections, and working in your business than you will designing and working on your business. (Unless you have a really good partner that runs the business for you.)

But, in the future, when I am asked that question, I will answer, read The Business of Fashion series  “How To Set Up A Fashion Business.”

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DIY MOTHER’S DAY GIFT GUIDE

DIY MOTHER'S DAY GIFT GUIDE

MOM: short for mother; three little letters that can mean so many big things to so many different people

MOTHER: more formal title than “mom”; often a verb, but not necessarily recognized as such

TO MOTHER: the act of mothering; often accomplished by friends, cousins, aunts, brothers, sisters, fathers, and sometimes by children for their own parents

At Alabama Chanin, we realize what it takes to mother, and that mothering takes time.

And, we also know that it takes time to make—so, for Mother’s Day, we’re offering early savings that you can take time to create that special gift for the mother(s) in your life.

Choose one of our DIY Kits and make a garment or home project to give. Or, if your mother is the maker, select an item that she will enjoy making for herself. Sign her up for a workshop (or choose two and join her), or give the Swatch of the Month and we will gift her every month for the next year.

Come back tonight at midnight through midnight Sunday and save 20% site-wide on select items*.

Call +1.256.760.1090 M-F from 8:00am – 4:30pm CST for help celebrating Mom.

And if you place an order online, let us know if it is a gift for someone special; we will package it beautifully and add a note of thanks.

Here are some of our favorites, curated in our 2015 DIY Mother’s Day Gift Guide:

DIY MOTHER'S DAY GIFT GUIDE
DIY MOTHER'S DAY GIFT GUIDE
DIY MOTHER'S DAY GIFT GUIDE
DIY MOTHER'S DAY GIFT GUIDE
DIY MOTHER'S DAY GIFT GUIDE
DIY MOTHER'S DAY GIFT GUIDE
DIY MOTHER'S DAY GIFT GUIDE
DIY MOTHER'S DAY GIFT GUIDE
DIY MOTHER'S DAY GIFT GUIDE
DIY MOTHER'S DAY GIFT GUIDE
DIY MOTHER'S DAY GIFT GUIDE
DIY MOTHER'S DAY GIFT GUIDE

P.S.: On June 29th, 2015 we are hosting a Mother Daughter One-Day Workshop at the celebrated Blackberry Farm in Walland, Tennessee. Contact Blackberry Farm at 800-557-8864 for more information and pricing.

*Discount excludes all workshops, collaborations, Alabama Cotton products, Alabama Studio Book Series, other books and music, Swatch of the Month, Starter Sewing Kit, gift certificates, Events @ The Factory, and Heath Ceramics dinnerware. 

MOTHER’S DAY GIFT GUIDE

MOTHER'S DAY GIFT GUIDE

Mother’s Day—a holiday we learned has a deep-rooted history—is a favorite here at Alabama Chanin. Perhaps because we are company that is 100% woman owned and 86% women run (not that we don’t love our men), we like to celebrate a day dedicated to the women who birthed us, the friends who raised us, the aunts who befriended us, and the sisters (true and adopted) who keep us on the right track. Every. Single. Day. If you’ve followed us on our journey, you are likely also aware that Alabama Chanin practices slow design and that we make our products in the most responsible and sustainable ways possible. For this reason, it can take up to six weeks for an item to be made by local artisans, hand-cutting and stitching each piece from seam to appliqué, beaded embellishment to final label.

We’ve also chosen a selection of our favorite items for the 2015 Mother’s Day Gift Guide. (Check back Thursday for our DIY Gift Guide through The School of Making.)

Also note that while our hand-sewn garments have a longer production time, we have other more readily available pieces such as our A. Chanin garments, books, and some of our home goods.

Call +1.256.760.1090 M-F from 8:00am – 4:30pm CST for help celebrating Mom.

And if you place an order online, let us know if it is a gift for someone special; we will package it beautifully and add a note of thanks.

MOTHER'S DAY GIFT GUIDE
MOTHER'S DAY GIFT GUIDE
MOTHER'S DAY GIFT GUIDE
MOTHER'S DAY GIFT GUIDE
MOTHER'S DAY GIFT GUIDE
MOTHER'S DAY GIFT GUIDE
MOTHER'S DAY GIFT GUIDE
MOTHER'S DAY GIFT GUIDE
MOTHER'S DAY GIFT GUIDE
MOTHER'S DAY GIFT GUIDE
MOTHER'S DAY GIFT GUIDE
MOTHER'S DAY GIFT GUIDE

P.S.: Only after planning our Mother’s Day Gift Guide for this week, did we learn that the United Kingdom celebrates what they call Mothering Sunday on March 15th. Having roots in the church, it is held every year on the fourth Sunday of Lent. Now you know.

THÉRÈSE DE DILLMONT (AND GAUGUIN)

THERESE DE DILLMONT (AND GAUGUIN)

While writing this post about March and our Swatch of the Month, I mentioned the Encyclopedia of Needlework by Thérèse de Dillmont which I am currently reading in preparation for a new book we are writing (yes, another book) on the tools of handwork. I became curious about the life of Thérèse de Dillmont who so meticulously documented the types and processes of handwork in the 1880s. I did a Google search and fell into a rabbit hole of handwork and feminist backlash. I’m still working my way out of this hole but I wanted to show you how a sewing needle or a spool of thread can take you from honored hobby to exercising naked in the fresh air to the feminist act of running a business.

From Wikipedia:

Thérèse de Dillmont (10 October 1846 – 22 May 1890) was an Austrian needleworker and writer. Dillmont’s Encyclopedia of Needlework (1886) has been translated into 17 languages.[1] She owned a string of shops in European capitals and she was “one of the most important pioneers in the international and multicultural enterprise of hobby needlework in the late nineteenth century”.[2]

That last sentence struck me, …”one of the most important pioneers in the international and multicultural enterprise of hobby needlework in the late nineteenth century”.

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SHOP CLASS AS SOULCRAFT

SHOP CLASS AS SOULCRAFT

On May 21,2009, Matthew B. Crawford published an article in The New York Times Magazine titled, “The Case for Working With Your Hands.” Later that month, Shop Class as Soulcraft: An Inquiry Into the Value of Work arrived on my desk at work.

Three paragraphs down in the New York Times piece, Crawford describes our situation:

“High-school shop-class programs were widely dismantled in the 1990s as educators prepared students to become “knowledge workers.” The imperative of the last 20 years to round up every warm body and send it to college, then to the cubicle, was tied to a vision of the future in which we somehow take leave of material reality and glide about in a pure information economy. This has not come to pass. To begin with, such work often feels more enervating than gliding. More fundamentally, now as ever, somebody has to actually do things: fix our cars, unclog our toilets, build our houses.”

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MARCH + SWATCH OF THE MONTH

MARCH + SWATCH OF THE MONTH

February is technically a short month, but it was so fast and furious that I had to make conscious efforts to be mindful AND productive. March looks to be just as busy, but in the best way—full of things I want to do and people I want to see.

It is National Women’s History month, so we hope you will take time to revisit some of our favorite stories of Real Women and to share your own.

Here is what March looks like for me (deep breath):

March 2 – Dr. Seuss’ birthday, now known as Read Across America day. I’m currently working on several books, among them: The Optimistic Child by Martin E. P. Seligman, Encyclopedia of Needlework by Thérèse de Dillmont (in research for a possible new book on the tools of handwork), and revisiting Mary Renault’s The Last of the Wine.

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