Refueled – Issue 5 – Available Now
And featuring a spread on Alabama Chanin Denim.
Our newest catalog for Alabama Denim is up and ready to view. Additional garments will be coming to our online store over the next few days. Stay tuned…
And look for some of these shots in the newest issue of Refueled - dropping on May 31st. I am looking forward to seeing everything Chris has put together!
A few of my favorites:
Thank you to the amazing Penelope Greene and all the folks at the New York Times for the lovely piece about Butch, the Woods of Wonder and the Doo Nanny.
I love this picture of Maggie jumping on the bed:
And thank you to Robert Rausch for the lovely images of my family.
Don’t miss Robert’s pictures here.
Thank you to Haskell Harris and all the folks at Garden & Gun for this piece about my favorite room (and table) in the house.
Ten years ago, Natalie Chanin surprised the New York fashion world with a T-shirt that she ripped to pieces and sewed back together using quilt-inspired stitches. Then Chanin promptly left for her hometown of Florence, Alabama, where she hired local seamstresses to create her first label, Project Alabama. Now she runs Alabama Chanin, a company that produces couture clothing, fabric, jewelry, and home goods from new, recycled, and organic materials by hand, a process that gives each design its one-of-a-kind charm.
Chanin, whose career is famously influenced by her Southern upbringing, often works out of her house, the dining room in particular. “It’s really the soul of the house,” she says. “And it has great light, so it doubles as my office and photo studio. I do everything from folding clothes to hosting Christmas parties in that room.”
The dining room is full of Chanin’s handmade artistry, including the table, made from scrap wood that’s painted her favorite color, white. “It doesn’t compete with all of the things you have in your life,” she says. There’s also a chandelier she rehabbed with paint and a couple of reworked vintage chests.
Chanin’s designs have recently inspired a second craft book, Alabama Studio Style, due out this month, which details how to make some of her favorite furniture creations at home. “People want more value for their dollar these days,” she says. “They’re interested in things with a good story and things with a purpose.”
Thank you to Jennifer Crossley for the lovely article in our local newspaper this morning about the release of Alabama Studio Style - great to have the support of our community!
And a shout-out to Sara Martin who is that friend who tries to keep me straight on this Journal (among other things)! Sara has been a great friend and collaborator all of these years. Without her clear guidance and eagle eye, the comma splice would have become my trademark. (Is there a comma splice somewhere here?)
Also, we will be working on the website over the course of the next week. Please bear with us as we do a bit of spring cleaning, streamlining and trying to create an easier interface with less clutter. Should you experience any problems whatsoever, please contact us.
Thanks go out to everyone @ Southern Living for the lovely piece in their February issue. We have gotten lots of emails and calls about the article. There have also been several requests for the play dough recipe that Maggie and I were making that afternoon when Southern Living visited…
One of the simplest things to make in your own kitchen:
1 cup flour
1 cup warm water
2 teaspoons cream of tartar
1 teaspoon oil
1/4 cup salt
Mix all ingredients, adding food coloring last. Stir over medium heat until smooth. Remove from pan and knead on a floured board until cool and soft. Keep in an airtight container. Play often.
After lofty plans to post each day about the last decade – and the next, my computer slipped from my hands last Tuesday morning and crashed (literally) to the floor and shattered. Later that afternoon, my Blackberry decided to follow suit. My deduction was that it was time to take a much needed sabbatical from all things electronic. A week later, everything and everyone seems to have survived without me. The world is still spinning, I am no further behind than I was last Tuesday, and I have had a week to “Reflect, Rejoice and Renew.” So, here we are, a few days later and making a fresh start. Thank you to Kathy Kemp and al.com for this lovely article. And, thank you again to everyone who makes this a wonderful project each and every day…
Florence-based designer’s skirt creation completes Obamas’ Christmas tree, By Kathy Kemp — The Birmingham News December 22, 2009, 5:30AM
Alabama Chanin, the Florence-based couture fashion design house, has sewn another bead into its weighty crown.
The company created the stenciled, beaded blue and white tree skirt that completes the official White House Christmas tree, on display in the Blue Room through December. Alabama Chanin founder Natalie Chanin attended the recent unveiling — her latest stop in a series of high-profile appearances.
“We were honored to be asked to do this,” says Chanin, who was a Top-10 finalist for the coveted DFDA/Vogue Fashion Fund prize, presented last month in New York City. Vogue magazine featured her in a full-page color spread in November, and she was also the subject of a Birmingham News profile. In The News’ story, Chanin couldn’t talk about the tree skirt because the White House had yet to unveil the tree. But now the entire world can see it — in pictures, at least, or in a tour of the nation’s home.
Twenty-two Alabama Chanin artisans, mostly local northwest Alabama seamstresses, spent three weeks sewing and constructing the tree skirt, which measures 14 feet in diameter and weighs about 28 pounds. The skirt features 13 large panels representing the original 13 colonies, and holds about two kilos of Chanin’s white satin bugle beads, all sewn by hand. It is made of Chanin’s signature fabric, 100 percent organic cotton jersey, in the colors, as requested by the White House, of white, peacock blue, Navy blue and storm blue piping. “We painted the entire piece with our Maggie stencil, then used quilting, reverse applique and reverse applique with beading on different sections,” Chanin explains. (She teaches her techniques in her “Alabama Stitch Book,” available at www.alabamachanin.com.)
Chanin, like other artists the White House invited to create decorative pieces for the tree, paid for the materials, labor and shipping of her own work. Chanin is already taking orders for custom tree skirts for the 2010 holiday season (contact firstname.lastname@example.org for details).
The 2009 White House tree, a Douglas fir from Shepherdstown, W.V., stands 18.5 feet tall, reaching all the way to the ceiling. Each year, the Blue Room tree is the same height, because the power source is on the ceiling.
“Reflect, Rejoice, Renew” is the theme for President Obama and his family’s first White House Christmas. Reflecting the national desire to conserve and recycle, the tree is lit with environmentally sound LED lights and decorated with bows and more than 650 ornaments from previous generations. Chanin’s work fits nicely with this year’s theme. She uses local artisans, rather than shipping production overseas. She’s long been known for using organic products and recycling materials. Every scrap left over from her clothing creations is used for something else. In fact, she had piles of jersey strips baled and used them to make a sofa for the Alabama Chanin office.
At the White House this month, more than 50,000 people are expected to see the tree — and its skirt — while attending parties and other functions. When the tree comes down, Chanin’s skirt, along with the tree ornaments, will be archived with the Smithsonian Institution in Washington.
© 2009 al.com. All rights reserved.
Thank you to everyone at Vogue, the CFDA, Norman Jean Roy, Karlie Kloss, Tabitha Simmons, Florence Kane and all of our Alabama Team for this beautiful photo of the Alabama Nomad.
By SUZY MENKES From the New York Times:
September 13, 2009
NEW YORK —
“Fashion’s Night Out” — an evening of open-house shopping last week in New York and other major cities around the world — was designed to brace up nervous customers and convince them that consumption is joyous.
But it also proved that there is more to e-commerce than buying online.
The key “e” words were “emotion” and “energy” during this Vogue-sponsored fight against retail gloom. After a long period of credit-happy consumers and easy sales, stores and designers are having to work much harder to engage customers and make them feel that their purchase is worthwhile.
Thanks to Laird Borrelli-Persson for this lovely review on Style.com:
About Spring/Summer 2010:
The Alabama Chanin Spring/Summer 2010 collection is a nod towards the new American luxury with simple, clean lines. Doeskin, silver blue, nude and coffee are combined with white in simple stripes and elaborate floral embroideries.
The stripes and harmonious colors of the collection were inspired by Agnes Martin: The Nineties and Beyond, the colors and richness of HEATH Ceramics, the photographs of Slim Aarons and the worn red of an empty paint bucket found on the side of a road.
Agnes Martin’s paintings from The Nineties and Beyond include titles such as “Beautiful Life;” “Love & Happiness” and “A Little Girls Response to Love” – the mood of the collection echoes these titles and whispers to a clear, crisp spring day.
More pictures and look book coming soon…