I'm happy to say Whispering Grass is back and in a new colorway. This time it's orchid and comes with a coordinating solid Orchid color. Of course I love all of my fabrics but this one is nearer and dearer to me than any other. Why? Well, it is one of the first organic cotton fabrics we ever printed. Back in 2005, our first print run was done in South Carolina and we printed 3 designs: Whispering Grass (aqua), Sweet Jane (pink) and Eyes of the World.
My husband and I flew to South Carolina to oversee and take some film footage of the printing. I remember it was SUPER hot and humid at the plant. I was young and naive. My husband still had long hair and so did I.
I remember being stunned by the size of the machinery. Pictured above is just ONE part of the process. I remember the colorist was a gem. The plant manager. . . a good ole boy. I'm sad to report this plant and the second USA printer we used have closed down. This print run pre-dated GOTS. When we did this printing we were truly the first company to bring color and design to organic fabrics and offer it to home sewers and small businesses. Now, I can't keep track of all the new organic fabric lines there are so many. Now, we have GOTS which keeps the standards high and consistent. Now, we have an Orchid colorway of THE original Harmony Art design. I hope you enjoy it. It's been some journey. . . and so it continues. . .
We've all heard the following statements over and over and over again. . .
That's nice and all, but what no one talks about or teaches you is HOW to love yourself. What does that mean?? I use to think it was spa days, pedicures, and saying "no" -- ya know, putting yourself first. It always sounded over indulgent and selfish. Over the last few years I have been trying (sometimes desperately) to define and then live from a space of loving myself. It has not been easy. There is a reason the word "practice" often follows the word spiritual.
What I think* I have learned:
1. Loving Yourself is more about what you feed your head than anything else. If you really listen to yourself talk is it kind? To you? To others?
*Truth is I am not 100% sure of anything. I tend to try things on and then test them. They either fit or they don't. If they don't I discard. If they ring true after testing I usually enlist a few friends to test them too and report back. Feel free to report back by commenting in this blog post.
Mother's Day is just around the corner. I am grateful we have a holiday for giving thanks and honor the Mothers in the world. My mom and I have had our share of rocky times but I LOVE HER SO MUCH and am SUPER HAPPY to have her in my life!
One of the newest companies to use Harmony Art organic fabrics is Aquarian Bath and they are offering something special right now. All you have to do is leave a comment on their blog and you are entered to win one of their flaxseed pillows (photo below). These pillows are the perfect thing to bring warmth and comfort for you and your mom. The pillows can go in the microwave for warmth or be stored in the freezer for use as a cold pack.
Not only do you have a chance to win a made-to-order lavender, lavender- rose, lavender-spearmint or unscented flaxseed pillow but the winner will win 2! One for YOU and one for your mom (or favorite mom).
Aquarian Bath uses USDA Organic flaxseed and USDA Organic scented herbs for their pillows. Just bounce on over to Aquarian Bath's blog for a chance to win. NOTE: deadline for entry is May 5th so don't delay!
Cheers to ALL the mothers in the world we truly won't be here without YOU!
It was September 8th, 2006 when our first rolls arrived at this warehouse in South Carolina. For the last 7+ years Peggy has been inventorying and shipping Harmony Art's organic fabric to our customers.
What a godsend she has been. Her attention to detail, quick turn around and responsiveness have been truly outstanding. She has been a joy to work with. I have had plenty of challenges creating and producing organic fabrics over the years but I can honestly say NONE of those challenges were ever with my warehouse. I believe Peggy is responsible for my ability to write that. The older you get the more you value and respect the people in your life you can count on.
Late last year the warehouse was sold to a new owner. They were smart enough to keep Peggy on but sadly they wanted my space for another customer and so the story goes. We are grateful to have found a new location in the northeastern part of the country (Connecticut to be exact) to hold and ship our fabric.
Today our organic fabric was ALL loaded into a truck for its journey northward.
I am excited and sad about the move. I know with any changes there are challenges to overcome but I am looking forward to a new relationship with a new warehouse. Peggy has left some big shoes to fill.
In the words of Dr. Seuss:
“Don't cry because it's over, smile because it happened.”
I'm smiling, Peggy. I wish you a wonderful rest of the year! You deserve a great one and you will always be an important part of the Harmony Art story.
My brother, Christian, and his wife Wendy, have two children - Emma and Matthew (affectionately called Mattman). My husband and I moved to our current location in Gualala, CA in 2001. Shortly thereafter, Emma and Mattman would come up for visits and spend weeks with us in the summer hiking, going to the beach, exploring and enjoying the remote, rugged beauty of northern California and also attending Summer Art Camp. I love them both SO very much. Some of you may have read about Christian's passing in my recent blog post. Losing my oldest brother has been difficult . . . to put it mildly. What must it be like to lose your dad when you are still a teenager?
I am doing my best to support them but I honestly don't really know how. They are both coping in their own way. Mattman is back in college in Illinois. Emma, well... let me let her tell you:
My name is Emma Herman. I’m currently a senior at Northgate high school in Walnut Creek, CA. I lost my dad about two months ago. I’m on my own road to recovery and I find that the best coping methods for me are talking to other teens that are in my same situation. I regularly attend a teen support group and I’ve recently become very passionate about adolescents getting the support and help they need. That’s when I found Comfort Zone Camp. It’s a non-profit organization that provides a free camp to children, ages 7-17, who have experienced the loss of a parent, sibling, or primary caregiver. The camp includes programs and support groups that help children cope with their grief and heal. They hold camps year-round across the US. They continue to provide free camps because of all the generous donations and support from donors.
I asked Emma when she was going to Comfort Zone Camp. She told me, "No I can't make it to the camp because it's in the LA area and not at a good time which is why I've chosen to do what I can to support them even though I can't participate."
WOW. She is that kind of kid. I am so proud and honored to be her aunt. She (and Mattman) have both taught me so much. . .
So needless to say, I am reaching out to some of my customers/friends and asking for contributions for this healing project. So far the following companies have not only stepped up and offered donations but have sent their kind wishes and comfort as well:
If you would like to donate, let me know and I can put you in touch with Emma. And yes, we will be selling raffle tickets at a later date. So, if you feel inspired to help this ambitious, thoughtful, caring, determined 17 year old that would be lovely and we'd really appreciate it! Stay tuned for more details and THANK YOU. You have once again proven to me that indeed I HAVE THE BEST CUSTOMERS IN THE WORLD!
Did you catch Emma is wearing a purple shirt and jeans in both pictures?!
No longer forward nor behind
I am offering the Gratitude Challenge again this year! Be the first person to send me a list of 2,014 thoughtful things you are thankful for and win a FREE roll of organic cotton fabric. The fine print: the free roll must be chosen from my "limited release" fabrics (scroll down for list) and although the entire roll (approx. 50 yards) is FREE, the recipient is responsible for the shipping (UPS ground) charges. You are only eligible to win this giveaway one time.
If you want to read more you can look at a couple of our past posts/winners here: 2013 and 2012.
My brother, Christian, never liked birthdays. In fact in his presence they were always referred to as "special days" not birthdays. Yes, we have been known to publicly sing "Happy Special Day" to the Happy Birthday tune. Harmony Art turns 9 this month!
Nine years ago this week, I was in Michigan with my father-in-law as he was released of his body. That event was the bitter sweet beginning of the Harmony Art journey. Just over two weeks ago I was with my brother, Christian (pictured above) as he was released from his body. It's hard to be happy and celebrate right now. I miss him terribly.
Someone told me when my father died that losing someone you love is like having a permanent hole in your heart. Lately I have been trying to imagine the hole as being a hug so when I reach for it I feel his presence and love rather than his absence. I can't say I am always succeeding but I am trying.
Christian was selfless, dedicated, and quirky. When Wendy (his wife) found the bathroom extra dirty and asked Christian about it he confessed to letting a homeless man in to take a shower and to pick out clothes from his own closet. Yes, Christian was THAT guy -- the one who would truly give a stranger the shirt off his back. He did these acts never begrudgingly but with a full and open heart.
Christian was dedicated.. . . to his job, his family, his friends, his church, his CAL Bears and all of us lucky enough to have inhabited this world with him.
If you EVER attended a Northgate girl's volleyball game you knew Christian or at least heard him. His cheers were legendarily loud. I'll personally never forget his Bronco whinny. When it came to cheering on his team (and daughter) there was no such thing as self-consciousness just utter dedication to having his support heard and felt.
A family story goes that Christian got in to one fight as a child. The reason? Someone was bullying his little brother, Merit. If you had Christian on your team he would go that extra mile. He cared about what he did and who he did it for more intensely and selflessly than anyone I have ever known.
Christian was quirky. One of his nicknames was BananaMan - he made it a point to bring bananas with him when he went on family outings or vacations. Why? To give them to people who were working that he encountered of course! It started with the sleigh driver and became standard operating procedure from there.
I for one will miss his big hugs, calling him my little brother despite his size and age advantage, our philosophical conversations - usually in cars, and just his unwavering loyalty and love.
I challenge all of us to keep Christian with us by being a little more selfless and loving when it comes to helping others, to acknowledge those things we are dedicated to -- to go that extra mile with a smile, and maybe even quietly perform a random act of kindness.
Christian, I don't know what to say but I LOVE YOU. This year's "special day" is dedicated to you.
When I took the exam to get my CBEST back in the early 90's the essay topic I had to write about was "The more things change, the more they stay the same."
Last night I watched the Academy Award winning 1982 movie Gandhi. In it, Gandhi's wife, Kasturba Gandhi states:
"There is no beauty in the finest cloth if it makes hunger and unhappiness."
Wow. More than 30 years after the movie and perhaps 100 years after the words were uttered and that still rings true. When Kasturba said it, she was referring to the British landowners who were pushing the cotton farmers into debt. The British left India and the chemical (and seed) companies moved in.
Today, it is estimated that an Indian cotton farmer commits suicide every 8 hours. Here's a 5 minute video that explains the situation in more detail. A longer movie worth watching is Bitter Seeds.
Gandhi spoke to the humanity in us all. . . I wonder what it will take to hear the message this time around ? Are we destine to keep exploiting people and planet or will we eventually wake up to the reality that we are all much more deeply connected than we realize?
I must say that I feel really happy that Harmony Art supports organic (non-gmo seed) cotton farmers in India. It makes me feel connected to this bigger story we are all writing together. Individually we may feel insignificant but together we are mighty. Gandhi taught us that too.
Uncomplicated Twill was one of our first organic prints. It was released for the first time back in 2007. The design was inspired by this flower. I do not know what kind of flower it is but I vividly remember taking this picture at the Thompson Heather Gardens in Manchester after we hiked on Manchester State Beach. As you can see I took liberty with the scale and the colors. Earlier this year we decided to reprint the design this time on organic cotton (USA) percale and in a pink colorway.
Big thanks to everyone who chimed in on facebook and voiced their opinion on which colorway we should release. I really love the co-creating process and now look forward to seeing how you bring the fabric to life. Sew Happy!!
I am often asked, "How do you come up with your designs?" Almost all of them start with a hike. I find nature to be an unlimited source of design inspiration. When I hike with the Thursday Ramblers I almost always have my camera with me and snap away at anything that grabs my attention. My most recently released fabric is called Stornetta after the land the flowers were found on. It's a magical place with fields, bluffs, cows, ocean views, a waterfall into the ocean, huckleberries, a spooky Halloween tree and much more.
Sometimes it's a plant, a texture on a stump, a flower -- really the design can start with most anything. In this particular case, the flowers on the hike beckoned to be put into a designs and I listened. . .
I have about 100 designs created and yet to be printed. How do I pick which is next? Sometimes I turn to my friends -- the ones who actually know what Harmony Art is and does -- that care and understand and maybe even sew.
In the case of Stornetta, Mary Sue and Bob picked it out. Their confidence and support of Harmony Art has been a constant source of strength and encouragement. So when they requested Stornetta in blue -- well, so be it! For the second colorway I turned to my facebook fans for suggestions and votes. They spoke too and I listened. I really love have having so many people involved. The journey is indeed the prize. Now the fun and patience begins as I wait to see what YOU create with it.