You can't help but notice the focus in the news these days on green energy, green living, and eco fashion. More and more fashion designers are using environmentally friendly materials and socially responsible methods of production. Here are some "green" creations by Natalie "Alabama" Chanin, who has been getting lots of press for her designs and sustainable production methods.
Chanin makes fashion out of old quilts and organic cotton grown and produced in the southern United States. She employs stitchers and weavers who create and embroider garments from their own homes, located in or near Florence, Alabama.
Chanin says this about her company, "We seek to reintroduce the fading art of hand stitching, as this has always been an integral part of American culture. The company was built around the concepts and values illustrated by the quilting tradition, those of craftsmanship and beauty, but also function and utility."
I love the soft colors, detailed patterns, and embroidery that characterize Chanin's designs.
In honor of Earth Day, Chanin is hosting her 7th annual open house and Earth Day celebration on Friday, April 23rd at her 'factory' in Florence, Alabama. For those who are lucky enough to attend, Chanin will be signing her most recent book,"Alabama Studio Style: More Projects, Recipes, & Stories Celebrating Sustainable Fashion & Living." There will also be an open studio and sample sale.
You can see more of Chanin's spring 2010 collection at Alabama Chanin.
Jewelry artist Arnaud Sprimont from Belgium created the jewelry blog, apparat, to...."share and celebrate my passion for contemporary jewelry."
On apparat, Sprimont features works that are often conceptual and made from non-precious materials. As such, much of the work is not what you might call 'pretty;' nonetheless, it can be colorful and appealing.
Below are a few of the more engaging works on apparat that grabbed me: a brooch by Lina Peterson, a crocheted necklace by Madame Ulani, and an enamel and metal ring by Tabea Reuleake, as well as silver earrings and a silver necklace made by Sprimont. Each piece has a sophisticated yet playful quality.
I asked Sprimont a few questions to get a better sense of what drives his selections for the blog and his own jewelry designs.
What does the name 'apparat' mean?
'apparat' is a French word. We could translate it as something unique, intriguing or that stands out in the way someone is dressed, an object in a space, or an element in a ceremony. Basically, something that catches your eye and stands out within its context with the potential of creating meaning.
Brooch by Lina Peterson made out of painted wood, silver, acrylic paint
What do you look for in the works that you feature on apparat?
I created apparat to share my discoveries and the love I have for human creativity, especially in the context of jewelry.
I usually look for new inspirations and original ideas. This could be a unique conceptual approach, diversity or use of materials, shapes, textures, and so on. It usually triggers a new way of thinking or a feeling I want to explore. apparat helps my own practice evolve. I always try to understand the artist’s perspective beyond the piece itself but consider their overall approach so that I have a better chance to understand their creative journeys and the potential for jewelry design.
You are a jeweler who is clearly inspired by the works of fellow jewelry designers. Can you tell me about the jewelry you create (materials you use, your approach, your inspirations)?
Each day a multitude of information is exchanged between individuals and their surroundings. 'We' interact on multiple levels with other beings. It is that aspect of life I like to explore through my creations.
Of all the artists you have featured on apparat, whose work do you admire most and why?
I cannot choose which one is my favorite artist, each piece is unique with its own story. My pleasure is to imagine and observe how the stories evolve.
What's coming up for you in 2010?
I will keep pursuing my artistic practice and study others' approaches. My aim is to evolve and share with other artists and people who have an interest in art and jewelry. Let’s enjoy what will surprise us this year!
One of the things that I noticed on apparat is that Sprimont presents his works along with the works of the other jewelers without making his own stand out. You could easily miss that Sprimont is the owner of the blog. The best place to see his work is on Sprimont's Kit and Caboodle page or his page on apparat.
Trelis scarf made from merino felted wool
This beautiful felted scarf is made by self taught artist and former children's clothing designer, Elizabeth Rubidge, who refers to her felted scarves as 'Warm Jewelry'.
Rubidge was inspired to become a felter 3 years ago, after receiving a felted scarf as a gift from a friend whose mother had been felting all her life on a German sheep farm. Rubidge says, "My friend said that when I saw the scarf, my face changed. I went home and 'googled' felted scarves and artists. I read everything I could about felting. Havng worked in textiles for over 20 years, I understood what I could do with felt. I knew that I could do something different....
Different indeed. I love the checkered pattern of this scarf with the colorful hand-rolled roses and hand formed leaves. You can see more gorgeous scarves by Elizabeth Rubidge at the Artful Home or her website, The Felted Garden.