Natalie and Paul Graves arrive in Alabama to a three-bedroom, ranch-style house rented from her maternal aunt, located in a small community immediately outside of Florence, Alabama, called Lovelace Crossroads, with a population of just over 200 people. Initially overgrown with vines, the house, built by her paternal grandfather, could only be accessed by making a pathway with a chainsaw. Over weeks, it is transformed into a home and office, eventually becoming a hub for video production, t-shirt design, and sewing.
The house, near Natalie’s childhood home, becomes the official design studio and production office for the t-shirt collection and “Stitch,” the documentary film. An advertisement runs in the local newspaper, the Times Daily, looking for part-time hand sewers and quilters. Twenty local artisans begin sewing the collection of 200 corset-style t-shirts to be presented at New York Fashion Week in February of 2001.
Listen to Natalie tell the story of her arrival in Alabama on The Moth.
Slide 2: Contact sheet of photos from New York City to Alabama, December 2000, photograph by Robert Rausch
Slide 3: Alabama collection catalog cover featuring a photo by Natalie Chanin entitled “From the Back Door,” photograph by Robert Rausch