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 pounds, and takes almost one month to complete. It is estimated that over 50,000 people viewed the tree, and the hand-sewn skirt from Alabama Chanin is now housed at the Smithsonian Institution.
Slide 1: Blue Room Christmas tree featuring Alabama Chanin tree skirt, commissioned by First Lady Michelle Obama, The White House, Washington, D.C., 2009, photograph courtesy of Associated Press
Slide 2: Envelope from The White House with a beautifully written thank you note to Natalie from First Lady Michelle Obama enclosed, photograph by Robert Rausch
Slides 3–5: Fabric swatches of the selected design choices for The White House Blue Room Christmas tree skirt: Reverse appliqué Magdalena in Peacock/Navy; Reverse appliqué Magdalena in White with beading; Quilted Magdalena in White, photographs by Robert Rausch