From The Kitchen Project, Alabama Adventure Weekend and the first oral histories collected with textile farmers and workers across the region, Natalie builds a deep relationship with the Southern Foodways Alliance, the Center for the Study of Southern Culture, and the University of Mississippi. Projects envisioned by John T. Edge are realized across many symposia. All of these collaborations will eventually inspire and become the basis of Project Threadways, established in 2019.
Alabama Chanin: 21 Years of Sustainability
Vivian Howard and Natalie first meet at the 2011 Southern Foodways Alliance Symposium. They go on to share and cook many meals together, including a Friends of the Café Dinner at The Factory in the summer of 2014.
Natalie and Zoe Turbnull meet in 2003 and develop a strong working relationship and professional and friendly admiration for each other. The two would later collaborate with Krista Freibaum to create the Makeshift series of events during New York Design Week.
In 2010, ten years after arriving back in Alabama, Natalie and Alabama Chanin partner with Commune Design—Los Angeles-based, award-winning design studio—to create a new logo, label, and brand assets. The new logo is a play on Chanel Paris, with “Alabama” large and “Chanin” small underneath. The new mark incorporates the “A” and the “C” as integral parts of a wagon wheel signifying the evolving arms of the business from collections and collaborations to books and workshops. Learn more about the extraordinary work of Commune here. View Commune’s brand assets for Alabama Chanin here. Slide 1: Development for Alabama Chanin signature...
Alabama Studio Style, the second book in the Studio Design Series, is published in 2010. The book builds upon techniques explored in Alabama Stitch Book. It adds new stitching, stenciling, and beading methods, and uses organic cotton jersey yardage rather than recycled t-shirts as raw materials. Twenty-four projects make up the core of the book, including garments, home décor and entertaining, and a collection of three menus with sixteen recipes.
Alabama Chanin’s 2009 and 2010 collections are featured in Cooper Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum’s National Design Triennial, Why Design Now? The exhibition, curated by Ellen Lupton, Cara McCarty, Matilda McQuaid, and Cynthia Smith, with contributions by Andrea Lipps, highlights 134 projects from an array of fields that represent innovative, solution-based design, progressive use of resources, and environmentally conscious practices. Through the triennial’s overarching/core themes of energy, health, community, mobility, materials, prosperity, communication, and simplicity, it explores projects that share a common goal of working in harmony with the environment and offering solutions, both small and large in scale, for the global necessities of sustainability and social responsibility.
Alabama Chanin partners with Cathy Bailey and Robin Petravic of Heath Ceramics.
At the invitation of Michelle Obama, Alabama Chanin creates the tree skirt for the Obama White House Blue Room Christmas tree. The design theme chosen for the year is “Reflect, Rejoice, Renew,” highlighting the Administration’s desire to conserve and recycle. The skirt is crafted in white and shades of blue, using the Magdalena stencil with quilting, appliqué, reverse appliqué, and hand beading. In total, the skirt is constructed from 13 large panels (symbolizing the 13 original colonies) by 22 artisans who volunteer their time. The skirt contains over 4 pounds of glass beads, measures 14’ in diameter, weighs approximately 58...
Alabama Chanin participates as a featured designer in the American Craft Council’s 2009 conference, Creating a New Craft Culture. The conference aims to examine what lies at the core of being a maker through analysis of themes that study how craft interacts with the individual maker, community, and marketplace as a whole. Natalie’s exhibition and written entry is entitled “The Marketplace and the Personal: A Story of Thread.” “This thread is going to sew the most beautiful garment that’s ever been made. The person who wears it, it will bring them joy or peace or love or warmth or happiness...
Designs from Alabama Chanin are included in the exhibition “A World of Folk” in Stavanger, Norway Curated by internationally renowned trend forecaster, Lidewij “Li” Edelkoort, the design exhibition celebrates Stavanger as the 2008 Capital of Culture of the European Union.