We often speak of collaboration and of creating a community of artists to share ideas. This philosophy is central to our artisan-based way of making. And when we stock our stores online and at The Factory, we offer a carefully curated selection of items that complement our own—always made by other artisans who follow a similar approach to collaboration or community.
Idyllwilde is a clothing company based in the Shoals that works with natural fibers like linen, cotton, wool, and silk. Founder and designer Nadene Mairesse named the company after the California town where she spent her summers, attending the Idyllwild Arts Academy. She praises her experiences there for introducing her to dance and music and for opening her eyes to the idea of a creative community. Idyllwilde makes clothing for women and children and a few sundry items—like the aprons and kitchen towels.
Nadene’s commitment to a collaborative way of making resulted in True North—a studio and retail space that she shares with local graphic designer and screen printer Chris James of Heavy Color. The two separate, established businesses have similar philosophies and priorities and they found sharing a space to be a good match. In this shared space, True North is growing a larger community of artists; they regularly host bands and open their space for artist exhibitions. Nadene also teaches workshops on basic sewing skills and indigo dyeing with Shibori techniques.
We also offer beautiful wooden spoons and spatulas, created by Steven Febres-Cordero, known by most as “The Spoonman”. Steven lives in Center Point, Alabama, and crafts a variety of woodcarvings by hand in the United States, all from exotic wood, sustainably harvested in South America.
Steven began working with wood when he was a young man and expanded his work into ceramics, painting, and clay. He has found the most satisfaction and success in his woodworking and, these days primarily focuses on his work with tropical hardwood. The Spoonman travels often between the United States and South America and he does not have a website, but he sells at craft fairs throughout the south. We offer three of his products: the 11” spoon, 12.5” slotted spoon, and 11” spatula—and their high quality and affordability make them popular gift items.
The minds behind our store’s beautiful wooden tongs are found at FEHLO, a small group of artist-designers based in Bakersville, North Carolina, who focus on crafting lasting products with sustainable and locally-sourced materials. The collective, founded by Zac Lopez-Ibanez, works closely with small, US-based manufacturers to make items with a streamlined production process – keeping products affordable and accessible.
FEHLO helps establish relationships between their makers and retail buyers by prototyping and creating limited-run productions of their designs. Lopez-Ibanez thinks his firm’s collaborative processes are key to its successes, saying, “I’ve found working with others, whether makers, designers, or mentors, allows you to operate lean and make the most out of your own capabilities.” The larger design world seems to be taking note: FEHLO won “Best in Show” at the Dwell on Design show in Los Angeles. We offer FEHLO tongs, made from domestically sourced maple and walnut, in two sizes.
Look for other Alabama Chanin additions that complement the current offerings, which feature both hand- and machine-made goods.