The original impetus for traveling to Portland a couple of weeks ago was to attend an Alabama Chanin workshop. I’ve saved the best for last. Before I met her I admired the intentionality she brought to her clothing and her business, now I’m a fan.
I say often about sustainability, becoming an environmental leader and social responsibility – all catch phrases that are over- and mis-used now – it’s not about the end result, it’s about the process, about the becoming, the mindfulness that you bring to the subject. Every business is smarter about how to effect these changes within than any government entity could be and while I’m thankful that more companies have come into awareness about it’s waste streams and it’s procurement practices, there is still an authenticity that is, shall I say, lacking.
The Alabama Chanin company is true to it’s commitment to local, regional and authentic foodways, sourcing and production (if 25 women sewing by hand can be called ‘production’). All of the fabric is locally sourced and sewn. The garments are sewn by hand, keeping the traditions and the stories of that craft alive and vibrant.
During the workshop, Natalie said something that has stuck with me, as it should anyone who values authentic, original, unique experiences. Someone commented on how much work the sewing was and said, “Now I know why your garments are so expensive!” Natalie said gently in response, “No, now you know why they are worth so much.”
That was an ‘aha moment’ for me. Our trips on the Riggin are the same: how much is clean air worth? How about a week’s worth of locally-sourced, hand made food? What about wide open spaces, pristine scenery or the feel of the boat as she sails from one island to the next?
This is my project. It’s one of four panels which will eventually become a skirt. Two layers, one of gray and the other a patterned black, are sandwiched together and then hand stiched. Eventually, I’ll cut the centers of the leaves out and the second layer of gray fabric will be visible.