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ANNOUNCING: 2021 PROJECT THREADWAYS VIRTUAL SYMPOSIUM

Founded in 2019 as a 501(c)(3), Project Threadways records, studies, and explores the history of textiles. Through their work, they seek to understand the impact that textiles and their creation—from raw material to finished good—had on our local community, the region of the American south, the nation, and finally at the global level—connecting the people, places, and materials throughout the process. The organization utilizes Alabama Chanin’s experience, founder Natalie’s vision, and a partnership with and funding from the Muscle Shoals National Heritage Area to record oral histories, expand an ongoing exhibition, offer community programming, and plan annual symposiums among many more exciting endeavors. 

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From top left: “Native American sewing needles and awls from the Florence Arts and Museums“, 2020 by Abraham Rowe Photography; “Spool of organic cotton at Hill Spinning from the Alabama Cotton Project“, 2013 by Rinne Allen; “Cotton field in north Alabama”, 2012 by Rinne Allen; “Workers in front of Cypress Mills in 1885” from Sweetwater Yesteryears by William Lindsey McDonald and L.D. Staggs, Jr.; “Fabric cutter in Alabama Chanin’s Building 14 Manufacturing facility“, 2016 by Abraham Rowe Photography; “Sewing line at Tee Jays Manufacturing facility”, 1980s courtesy of Terry Wylie.


In spring 2019, Project Threadways and Alabama Chanin hosted the inaugural Project Threadways Symposium, held at The Factory in Florence, Alabama. Today, we announce the second annual Project Threadways Symposium, “Textiles Across Time and Place: Examining a complicated past to create a more sustainable future,” which will be a virtual event on Friday, April 16th and Saturday, April 17th.  

Visit the Project Threadways website to register for the virtual event and also find the details below. 

From top left: “Juki Safety Stitch Machine in Alabama Chanin’s Building 14 Manufacturing facility“, 2016 by Abraham Rowe Photography; “Industrial sewing machine folder in Alabama Chanin’s Building 14 Manufacturing facility“, 2016 by Abraham Rowe Photography; “Cutting a stack of fabric at Tee Jays Manufacturing facility”, 1980s courtesy of Terry Wylie; “Cones of organic cotton at Hill Spinning from the Alabama Cotton Project“, 2013 by Rinne Allen; “Stack of organic cotton fabric in Alabama Chanin’s Building 14 Manufacturing facility“, 2013 by Rinne Allen; “Gardner Waring Cutting Room”,1933. Photo courtesy of University of North Alabama Collier Library, Archives and Special Collections


About the Symposium 

The theme of the 2021 symposium—“Textiles Across Time and Place: Examining a complicated past to create a more sustainable future”—places the story of textiles in our northwest Alabama community into a broader context by providing a timeline of textile history in the United States. This overview discusses the indigenous people who inhabited this area and the fibers they grew through the cotton economy of the antebellum south leading up to the Reconstruction era, sharecropping, and tenant farming. It also maps out the geography from the northeast corridor down through our region of the south, highlighting the once-thriving textile cities and towns. 

Symposium speakers will focus on the geography of textiles, material culture, sustainable fashion, and clothing of the enslaved. The list of speakers includes Carrie Barske-Crawford, Jessamyn Hatcher and Thuy Linh Tu, Dana Thomas, Katie Randall, Kate Knowles, and Julius Tillery. 

The virtual event will include a tour of The Factory—Alabama Chanin’s production and manufacturing facility, engaging lectures and talks, a making workshop with The School of Making, and inspiring conversation. A variety of ticket tiers are available: VIP, General Admission, and Pay as You Wish (recommended $35). 

This event is in partnership with the Muscle Shoals National Heritage Area, the Center for the Study of Southern Culture, and Alabama Chanin. 

All ticket sales will go to 501(c)(3) certified Project Threadways. 

For details and more information, contact events@alabamachanin.com 

Ticket Tiers 

VIP 
Cost: $525 
This ticket gives you access to all events Friday, April 16th and Saturday, April 17th. Your virtual experience includes a tour of The Factory—Alabama Chanin’s production and manufacturing facility, a making workshop with The School of Making, a virtual cocktail hour and discussion, inspiring and engaging conversation, and access to all lectures and talks after the event. VIP guests will also receive a quarterly newsletter, Threadways, with exclusive textile stories and project updates, and access to two virtual discussions over the course of 2021.  

General Admission
Cost: $65 
This ticket gives you access to all events on Saturday, April 17th. Your virtual experience includes a virtual cocktail hour and discussion, inspiring and engaging conversation, and access to all lectures and talks after the event.  

Pay as you Wish 
Cost: You Choose (Recommended $35) 
Pay as you wish and receive access to either the morning or afternoon session on Saturday, April 17th.  

Making Workshop
Cost: $85.00 
Choose to add Friday’s making workshop to your General Admission ticket. 

Schedule of Events

Please note all times are CST.  

Friday 

2:00pm – 2:15pm Symposium Welcome + Introductions 
2:15pm – 3:00pm Virtual Tour of The Factory 
3:00pm – 4:00pm Virtual Making Workshop 
4:00pm – 4:45pm The Future of Threadways with Natalie Chanin and Carrie Barske-Crawford + Virtual Cocktail Hour Discussion 
4:45pm – 5:00pm Closing Remarks 

Saturday

Each presentation will last approximately 30 minutes with a 30 minute Q&A to follow.  

Morning Session 
8:00am – 8:15am  Symposium Welcome + Introduction 
8:15am – 9:15am  Material Culture Across Time from Carrie Barske-Crawford 
9:20am – 10:20am  The Geography of Textiles with Katie Randall, Jessamyn Hatcher, Thuy Linh Tu 
10:25am – 11:25am  The Future of Fashion with Dana Thomas 
11:30am  – 12:30pm  Break 

Afternoon Session  
12:30pm – 12:40pm Opening Remarks 
12:40pm – 1:40pm An Expanded Oral History with Katie Randall 
1:45pm – 2:45pm  Enslaved People and Fast Fashion with Katie Knowles 
3:00pm – 4:00pm Black Cotton with Julius Tillery 
4:00pm – 5:00pm Virtual Cocktail Hour Discussion 

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