Shop. Talk. Stitch - A gathering at Heath with Catherine Bailey & Natalie Chanin

Two weekends ago I attended "Shop. Talk. Stitch" - A gathering at Heath's Sausalito factory/store with Catherine Bailey and Natalie Chanin. They shared stories about their individual businesses, friendship and the lovely tableware collaboration they completed at the end of last year, Alabama Chanin Collection for Heath.

It's always cool to hear about the process and "behind the scenes" of a collaboration - especially when the designer's mediums are so different. Natalie and Cathy shared some great stories about how they translated their ideas - from the beginning design stages, patterns & color palette, to the inevitable production obstacles & creative problem solving. I was amazed to learn that the traditional embroidery patterns are each hand drawn, mark by mark, on each piece, by one women in the factory! I applaud her patience, steady hand and excellent graphic eye. Similar to the action of hand-stitching on a garment - this pattern is hand-etched in clay. Inspiration for the color palette came from the mineral rich, red soil of Natalie's home state and the French blue colored dishes she grew up using with her family.

It was a gorgeous day and after the talk we all gathered in the sunny courtyard to sew tea towels, drink wine, savor delicious biscuits and fresh veggies (and talk some more). My tea towel is coming along beautifully and will be sent off to mom this week. A perfect Mother's Day gift, no?

I think this collection really celebrates the esthetic, creativity and intention of each designer.



  • Kirsten said:

    Thanks guys. Yes, Natalie, Cathy and Judy are pretty amazing women. They all redefined “growth” in the business world, instead of growing bigger, they decided to grow deeper within their own communities.

    I lived in Philly and spent lots of time at White Dog Cafe! Here is a great video – it’s long, but definitely worth a watch… Judy Wicks – Selling Without Selling Out –

    May 31, 2012

  • Deb said:

    The idea is genius! Love how yours tunred out- and yes, a pretty floral would be wonderful as well! Really like the design- what a useful project. Something else on the ‘to make’ list!

    May 28, 2012

  • Bintang said:

    I’ve been listening while worikng for the past 2 days, and really enjoyed what Judy Wicks had to say about building a local interdependent economy. Natalie Chanin’s talk was also one of my absolute favs.

    May 28, 2012

  • Paula said:

    Oh, so beautiful! You have carteed an heirloom here, and a very inspirational piece.Strangely (or providentially), I just finished my first project from the Alabama Stitch Book yesterday (a book cover, to practice my handstitches), and I was dreaming of applying this technique to your patterns Thank you for sharing your vision!

    May 27, 2012

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