When the company that became Alabama Chanin began years ago, we didn’t have (or didn’t know how to find) many kindred spirits—those who were enthusiastic about celebrating uniquely Southern craft traditions. Years later, we look around and see so many individuals and organizations who have taken up the banner for Southern craft, culture, foodways, and paths to the future. It is heartening to see individuals of all ages embracing what makes the South so unique and challenging us all to break new ground and connect the great things about the past into the present (and future).
The Oxford American has been around for over 20 years and has been an inspiration for our entire writing team. Their annual Southern Music Issue, which focuses each year on a different state (and includes an actual CD) continues to spotlight perhaps-forgotten artists alongside emerging musicians to give a complete picture of regional music. The Best of the South editions bring attention to new and established Southerners doing great work in areas from art to food to politics—using poetry, art, music, and spectacular narratives and essays. Natalie always finds a good story to bookmark or a quote or picture to share with the staff.
Southern Makers was founded in 2013 and is a two-day event celebrating Southern creativity and innovation by bringing together handpicked talent for one fantastic gathering. We have been honored to participate in these gatherings and have found other craftspeople who believe that the Slow Food, Slow Design, and maker movements are not trends, but reflections of Southern culture, past, present, and future. In past years, Southern Makers has taken place over one weekend in Montgomery, Alabama, but in 2016 it will expand to more cities in Alabama and beyond.
The Oxford American has partnered with Southern Makers as part of this growth. In an attempt to spread the word about Southern Makers and the makers who participate, the Oxford American site will feature a revolving selection of Southern Maker-approved goods in their online store and will occasionally profile the makers behind those goods. Additionally, the two are offering a Maker Box as a subscription odd-on. In the coming weeks, those who purchase an annual subscription to the Oxford American will be offered the opportunity to upgrade their subscription to include the Maker Box option. Subscribers will receive a box with a curated selection of goods from Southern Makers participants—including Alabama Chanin.
Together, The Oxford American, Southern Makers, and Alabama Chanin present the upcoming Friends of the Café Dinner with Atlanta-based Chef Anne Quatrano. The event will take place on Saturday, October 24 at The Factory Café. The cost of the event includes cocktails, dinner, and the very first Maker Boxes created by Oxford American and Southern Makers. Reservations must be made in advance.