Once upon a time, two women sat at a bar in Portland, Maine over a cocktail (the delicious but lethal Basil Lemonade at Local 188, to be exact) discussing art, men, and an unlikely, but mutual, interest: American designers who hail from Alabama. Her favorite: Billy Reid. Mine: Natalie Chanin. Throw in a little Gas Design, a little PieLab (and another cocktail), and you have an unforgettable bonding moment. Since that evening, Sara Lemieux has been one of my favorite people and a dear friend. Two years later, Miss Sara and Miss Kellen have gone on the road, and found their way to Alabama. And, in addition to making the pilgrimage to Butch Anthony's (Natalie Chanin's significant other) Museum of Wonder, they've blown kisses to Billy Reid in traffic, and secured a residency at Gas Design Creative Fuel Design Center! The beautiful creation in the photo above is just a portion of the loveliness to emerge from their time at Gas Design. For more, visit their blog documenting this trip and the art being created: Silt & Sediment. And please disregard the ridiculous "content warning". Yes, indeed, nude women are a feature of their work. (work created by women, for God's sake!) Gee, it's 2010. Why are we still such a nation of prudes?
Another lovely bit of synchronicity found courtesy of "Why Design Now?", the National Design Triennial at the Cooper-Hewitt and Alabama Studio Journal. "Why Design Now?" showcases inspiring work from "designers around the world (who) are answering this question by creating products, buildings, landscapes, messages and more that address social and environmental challenges." Alabama Chanin pieces are sharing space with three other uplifting endeavors--- two sociopolitical, and one that's design in its purest form---a love letter to the idea of conscious creation.
First, "The Girl Effect". A call to action reminding us of the potential of all girls...everywhere. Second, Annie Leonard's "The Story of Stuff" which champions the idea that we should reject mindless consumerism and, instead, "have greater reverence and appreciation" for the goods that we purchase. Finally, and most perfectly, "Painted" the Dutch fashion design collaborative (I've raved about them previously...) that, with both their couture and small-run series, has raised clothing construction to an artform. Or, as they call it, "a story of garments".
Now doesn't that all dovetail nicely?
And before I leave you, two more examples of the beauty of skill and detail. One from Japan, one from France.