Penelope Green from The New York Times describes how Alabama Chanin works within the framework of the slow design movement best: “Slow means that Alabama Chanin is run on the tenets of the Slow Food movement, which essentially challenges one to use local ingredients harvested and put together in a socially and environmentally responsible way. Above all it emphasizes slowness in the creation and consumption of products as a corrective to the frenetic pace of 21st-century life. “Good, clean and fair” is the Slow Food credo, and it has — rather slowly — begun to make its way out of the kitchen and into the rest of the house.”Yesterday, Michelle over at Holley and Gill asked me to share my thoughts with her about The Slow Home Movement. It got me thinking about how absolutely all-encompassing that the movement can be, dependent upon how far you choose to take it. It’s about far more than being eco-friendly.The slow home movement is about going local and purchasing the quality of home furnishings that will be handed down to your granchildren – not that will end up in a land fill in a few years. This goes for fashion too! Alabama Chanin is of the highest end, and the most exquisite example of slow design I have seen in a while. The aesthetic quite reminds me of the work of J. Morgan Puett – don’t you agree? The slow home movement is about supporting your local community, not always purchasing from the big box stores. It’s about craftsmanship, whether it is the work of artisans or it’s homemade – the bottom line is that it is about honest quality and keeping tradition alive.It’s about thoughtfulness, not mindless consumption. When we do choose to consume new product, it’s about selecting the one that is of the highest quality (within your budget, of course) and picking something that is made with integrity.Embracing the slow home movement is about creating a nurturing environment for your family. It is also about ritual and the little things that make daily life feel more special. It’s about slowing down and being present for those moments.This is just my take on the slow home movement – which could vary wildly from yours. I don’t know that anyone out there has specifically set up guidelines or ‘rules’ to follow. I think it’s more about remembering how it used to be done. You know, back when our grandparents were kids and we were not all 110% ‘connected’ 100% of the time.– It could be as simple as preparing your dinner at home and eating off of china plates instead of ordering-in. Think about the packaging, plastic forks, knives, bags, and extra ketchup they send along with carry out!
– It is about up-cycling or refurbishing and repurposing flea market finds.
– It could be about planting a vegetable garden, (even if it’s just a little one) and eating fresh picked vegetables in the Summer time.
– It can be as simple as taking a few seconds to light a candle, a moment or two to arrange some flowers, or to make something by hand. I choose to live with what I love by displaying my collections in an aesthetically pleasing way. As I look around, it brings me great pleasure to see fresh cut flowers, a collection of framed photographs, or the tea cups I have been collecting since I was a young girl. It forces me to ‘stop and smell the roses.’
– It is about being mindful of the impact that your new furniture and home decor items have on the environment.
– It’s about using bar soap instead of soft soap in plastic containers and making the most eco-friendly choices for your home as possible.
– It is about setting a beautiful table scape and then actually sitting down to enjoy a meal, with the TV off.
Be certain to check out the Alabama Chanin press page. There are many articles where Natalie has been interviewed about her slow design practice. I find the whole thing both absolutely inspiring and fascinating all at once. Besides visiting the Alabama Chanin website, you can also find them on Tumblr, Twitter, and Facebook. I hope you enjoy learning about their body of work as much as I did.In other news: Design Milk made a lovely mention of ABCD Design on Kelly Hoppen’s blog last week. I have to admit, it was quite flattering to realize I was on Jaime’s radar! Please pop by to check the article out.