Over the last several years, The Factory has expanded in leaps and bounds and the Alabama Chanin team has grown to keep in-step. Working in a creative industry, it takes a while to find the perfect mix; some people must be true creatives, while other jobs require a tactical mind. It is special when you find someone with both a free-spirited artistic mind and a love of logic, puzzles, and problem solving. Luckily, we found just that someone in Maggie Crisler.
Maggie works as a graphic designer, but also has a hand in managing inventory and works in the dye house. (See: a Jill-of-all-trades.) She came to us, as do many of our team members, through word of mouth. Back in 2012, our Director of Design, Olivia Sherif, mentioned to friends that we were looking for someone with a flexible schedule and some fabric cutting and sewing experience to work part time in our production department. Maggie volunteered herself and began working for us just before Christmas of that year. Her talents for illustrations and graphic design became quickly evident, so she was promoted to a full-time member of our media team.
Born in neighboring Sheffield, Alabama, Maggie was, by all accounts, an inquisitive child. She began pre-school just before she turned 3 years old and spent much of her childhood reading, drawing, coloring, and helping her mother in the kitchen. She remembers that the summer before her 5th grade year in school, she read over 200 books for her school’s summer reading program. She expressed an early love of music and played piano, violin, clarinet, and taught herself how to play bass guitar at age 16.
Maggie studied art at The University of Alabama and, out of necessity, took a graphic design course. She immediately was drawn to the combination of artistic freedom and structure. In fact, Maggie ended up earning her bachelor’s degree in graphic design. “I fell in love with typography and how letters work together on a page,” she says. “I love puzzles and I love figuring things out on my own. I have my parents to thank for that. When I was a child and I got stuck on something, my mom would always say ‘Try to figure it out on your own. If you can’t, then I’ll help you.’ It pushed me to work even harder.”
She grew up in a loving household and does not take for granted the fact that her parents have always supported her love of art and music. She has one younger brother, who was born with a rare genetic disorder called Prader-Willi Syndrome. His disorder played a role in shaping and strengthening her entire family. Maggie says, “Growing up with him definitely taught me a lot more about being patient and forgiving others quickly.”
These days, you can find Maggie crocheting, doing needlework, or quilting. She likes to explore letterpress and printmaking – anything that might pose a challenge that she can conquer. She and her husband Daniel have a 6-year-old Scottish Terrier named Simon. Daniel has revived her love of music; he is currently teaching her the guitar and she plays electric organ and percussion in their band, Daniel Elias + Exotic Dangers. Her willingness to adapt and grow makes her an invaluable part of our team.
Maggie Crisler, part of the heart and soul of Alabama Chanin.
First and last photos courtesy of Amy Jackson.