PNCA/Cyan PDX Cultural Resident and Alabama-based artist and designer Natalie Chanin presented a lecture on “Craft, Identity and Commerce” at the MFA Applied Craft and Design Studios at the Bison Building. This Graduate Visiting Artist lecture took place on April 15, 2010 and was co-presented by Oregon College of Art and Craft.
Chanin spoke about forging a modern day model for cottage industry production; how she and a bunch of ladies in Northwest Alabama have influenced global fashion industry; lessons learned while establishing her sustainable fashion business; the urgency of the situation that the US is facing right now as it continues to lose small-scale industry and multi-generational family businesses to globalization; and how sometimes “all it takes is to bake one cake to make a difference.”
Chanin’s projects reflect a wide range of disciplines, from sustainable clothing and home furnishings to a limited edition jewelry line. She is best known for her work as co-founder and designer of Project Alabama, which became known for elaborately embellished and completely hand-sewn garments, made from recycled materials by local artisans and sold in stores around the world. Her design collective, Alabama Chanin, describes itself as “a lifestyle company that focuses on creating an array of products through focusing on slow design and sustainability.” They craft limited-edition products for the individual and for the home.
*Natalie Chanin, Graduate Lecture Series*
Download audio (40 MB, MP3)
Slideshow photos by Heather Zinger ‘10.