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September 10, 2014

MAKERS 02 // KRISTEN CHANDLER OF ALANAH TEXTILES

Kristen Chandler and I met at Treehouse's small business classes last year -- she's not only super talented and creative, but she's one of the sweetest girls you'll meet around town. Her textiles are ethereal and unique, and it's obvious by the quality of her goods that she takes special care with each and every piece she makes. I especially appreciate that Kristen uses dyes she makes herself -- from things like avocado skins! -- and uses other natural dyes that are environmentally friendly for all her products. I'm always curious to learn more about fellow makers' paths to opening their own businesses, so I wanted to share Kristen's story and her work with you guys today! -- Natty

Kristen: I began my college career at SCAD because at the time, I wanted to be a fashion designer. I spent two years there and took a few classes in both the fashion design and fashion merchandising programs, only to realize that it wasn't for me. I transferred to UGA and decided to apply to the Fabric Design program. I was accepted and loved it immediately! We learned many of the techniques the old fashioned way, drawing our screen designs by hand and learning to thread a loom.

After college I considered moving away but chose to stick around Athens, and I'm so glad I did. I worked full-time for eight months, but missed creating for myself. I always knew that one way or another I was going to use my degree. This is a very small industry, which means very limited jobs. I have always had an entrepreneurial spirit and it made the most sense to me to start my own business. I have a big dream of what I want my business to one day become but I knew that I needed to start somewhere. I started with making home goods because I can create them out of my home, on a small scale. 


My process is pretty organic, particularly the dyeing part of it. Many of the dyes I use I make myself, and others I buy in powered form, but they are all natural dyes. For all products, I begin with dyeing. I will mix up the dye, soak the fabric in a mordant, so that the dye will adhere to the fabric, and then place the fabric in the dye. One thing that is unique to my dyeing process is that I tend to leave the fabric in the dye without moving it around so that the dye creates its own pattern and the fabric is not an even color throughout. Doing this creates patterns that I can't create on my own, and therefore, each product is different from the next. After the fabrics dry, I either move on to screenprint them or begin sewing. 

I find the process to be the most rewarding part for me. With dyeing in particular, the end result can oftentimes be surprising so it keeps me intrigued. I am grateful to have learned these skills the way that I did, doing most everything by hand, as working with my hands is extremely gratifying.

Most of my inspiration is found during the process. I will realize that a dyeing technique didn't work out the way I had expected but maybe produced something better than I could've anticipated. I love those moments. I am always learning as I go, especially with natural dyes, which keeps things exciting. I also find inspiration in nature, and occasionally an idea will spark as I'm going through old sketchbooks, projects from school or scrolling through Instagram or Pinterest.


A few more fun facts about Kristen:

Alanah is her middle name.

As mentioned above, Kristen makes most all of her own dyes -- some from items found in the kitchen, like turmeric and avocado skins! She's beginning to hone in on working seasonally with the food dyes she uses, making products dyed with them exclusive to the time frame that the food is available.

Kristen is currently training to become a yoga instructor -- only a few more classes and she'll be certified to teach!

A percentage of all shop profits are donated to Out of Darkness, an organization in Atlanta rescuing victims of sex trafficking.

Kristen also works for King of Pops Athens -- when she's not in her studio, you can find her slingin' pops around town a few days a week!


Kristen has graciously offered NMP readers the opportunity to use the code NATTYMICHELLE for 20% off their order through the month of September! I think the items in Kristen's shop would make a beautiful gift for someone special...or you know, yourself!

Be sure to check out Kristen's website, Alanah Textiles, and find her on Instagram to see what she's up to and working on now -- marbled napkins, table runners and pillows, coming soon to her online store!

Studio photos taken by Kristen + action photo taken by Kristen's 13 year old sister (she has skills!). Product photos taken by Paige FrenchThe NotWedding styled shoot photos taken by Chelsea of Poppy La'Rue PhotographyHeadshot taken by Kaitie Bryant

September 5, 2014

Bits and Pieces 9.5.14

Happy Friday! Local friends -- I'm giving away a pair of these stamps today on Instagram if you'd like to pop over there and enter. I've wanted to make these stamps for a long time, but I just couldn't seem to find the time to hammer them out! You can also find them for sale in the shop here. I'm hoping to add new cities to the line this fall. I'm also offering free shipping on everything through the weekend! Use code NEWLAUNCH14 at checkout to get the discount. 


I wanted to round out the week with some things worth sharing:

Kendra Scott's 5 tips on building a brand via Style Me Pretty.

Loved this Biz Ladies profile on Design*Sponge with the girls of A Beautiful Mess.

This video nearly gave me a heart attack.

In case y'all missed it, I was featured on Darling Dear as a "Babe in Business" a short time ago!

Got a kick out of this Buzzfeed article about 90s girls. #4 -- how did I forget about Delias?!

My new fave site for home inspiration.

I hope you guys have a great weekend!

xo Natty

September 4, 2014

Lately

Oh hey, September! How did that happen? I'm so happy that fall and cooler weather is almost here. Fall is my favorite season. I feel like summer let us off pretty easy this year in the south -- there have only been a few days here and there that were unbearably hot. Most days have been mild, which has been kind to my ever-growing belly. Little man is making himself known in there and kicking up a storm. It's kind of the best feeling, even when they're really more "jabs" than polite little kicks. I feel like I've gotten off relatively easy with this pregnancy so far -- I got sick only once, no major pains, no swelling (yet). But I'm about to turn the corner where baby starts growing like crazy, so I'll get back to you on how great I feel later in the last trimester. Ha! 

This time in limbo at our apartment has been interesting. We are on top of each other here with all of our stuff, and if I'm going to be honest, it often feels a little suffocating. Not to complain, because our situation is far from dire and definitely great when you think about things in the long-term. I'm thankful we found a nice, safe apartment to rent in such a short time. But I'm a person who's at home a lot since I work here as well, so I enjoy living in a comfortable place with spaces to decorate and renovate. At our apartment there isn't really any room to do either -- ha! Does anyone else feel me on this? I'm a visual person who needs her surroundings to feel inspiring to feel happy. I have the urge to feed my need to be creative. I look at other bloggers like Liz who have made a rental just as beautiful as the previous home she owned, and I'd love to do the same but I rarely get the kick to do anything around here. Maybe it's because I know it's so temporary. I'm getting my decor fix by looking ahead and thinking of how I'll spruce up our new house early next year. I dropped by Avid Bookshop in town the other day and picked up this new book by the girls of A Beautiful Mess -- it is so fantastic! Home decor/DIY books are hit-or-miss a lot of the time, but this one is truly a winner. These girls are forever my blog heroes. 


It'll be fun after we move when we start unpacking and find little gems that haven't been seen in awhile. We met with our builder again a couple of weeks ago and finished picking out big things like granite, flooring and tile. We stayed in budget, which was a huge relief! I'm looking forward to getting everything finalized and sharing more here soon. We drove by our lot the other night and were super excited to see that they've started clearing the land to build in the next week or two. I looked around and truly felt a sense of home. I know we'll be really happy there. 

In the meantime, I'm staying busy over here with work and projects to fill up the last couple of months before I plan to take a leave pre-baby in November. My goal is to roll out a few new products for fall -- new notecard designs, a mug design or two (!), and of course, stamps. Stamps are kind of my most favorite thing to design. I love a good stamp. Recently I illustrated a few cityscapes of places in Georgia -- Atlanta, Athens and Marietta -- and made address stamps out of them. I just received the samples in the mail a couple of days ago, and I plan to share those on social media today and tomorrow and host a giveaway to spread the word. Cities that are on my to-do list for later: Nashville, Austin, Chicago and New York. Time to get busy!

I hope you guys are having a great week. More tomorrow! xo -- Natty