100% Organic Cotton Fabrics
For home sewers, businesses, retailers, and anyone who gives a scrap!
One of my favorite things in the whole wide world is co-creating. It is something I used to do almost every day in my former design jobs working on projects for big box companies. Once I branched out on my own, the opportunity to co-create took on a new form - one based more on business development and less about design work.
Last year was a year of personal challenges (maybe more about that another time). When you are forced to deal with serious stuff, you end up re-evaluating your life and where you spend your energy. One of the takeaways for me has been that I really want to do more artistic co-creating. To that end, I am working on a couple of custom runs.
The design above, "Uncertainty", is inspired by the artwork of Suzan Friedland. We will be printing it in 3 different scales on natural organic cotton sateen. One yard per scale and then it will repeat again (see mini version below).
Suzan is having a retrospect of her work at Bay Quilts in Richmond, CA in October. We expect to have the continuous yardage printed and for sale at that event (if not before). If you live in the SF Bay Area - mark your calendar for October 7th and meet us at Bay Quilts.
I have one more co-creating project in the works right now and several ideas percolating. If you would like to propose a project with me, just shoot me an email - let's talk!
When I was considering the idea of creating an organic cotton fabric line, the first place I contacted was Organic Cotton Plus. That was back in 2004! I can vividly remember speaking with Barbara Bush (not the first lady) about the concept and asking her if I created a line, would they sell the fabric for me. Her response was so enthusiastic that it played a critical part in building the confidence I needed to take the leap of faith. Now, well over a decade later, Organic Cotton Plus continues to sell and support the Harmony Art line of organic cotton fabrics. Both of our companies have changed and morphed over time but I am happy to say the relationship is still one of admiration and gratitude.
This month in honor of our longevity with each other, Organic Cotton Plus is having a sale on Harmony Art organic fabrics. Sew Happy!
Additionally, Organic Cotton Plus also has an interview with me posted on their blog.
This month Harmony Art organic design turns 13!
THIRTEEN! Thank you to every customer, friend, family member, home sewer, small business owner, colleague, educator, environmental steward, distributor, and mentor who helped to bring Harmony Art to life. YOU have helped sustain it during the start up, our growth spurt, the market's downturn and my own personal challenges.
Although the company bears my name, it truly would have been impossible without the many, many, many people who have helped me in countless ways.
So THANK YOU from the bottom of my heart. Cheers to a new Happy year ahead for all of us!
It's always fun to get a new fabric in. This one is especially exciting for me because it has been such a long time coming! I designed this fabric over 10 years ago. I ordered it March of 2016!
Whenever I would look through my library of designs that had never seen the light of production, I would always stop at this one and say, "some day"... I am happy to say that day is NOW.
Now, the next step in the patience test begins - to see who will bring it to life first and in what form that will take. Will it be children's clothes? Bedding? Apparel? Pillows? Curtains? My mind reels with the possibilities. I hope dear reader, if you choose to use this fabric in one of your creations that you will share it with me.
I have started to take a close look at my wardrobe. Just where are my clothes made? Here's one day's tags:
My underwear was made in Canada, but the tag was unreadable. My shoes had no country indicated, at least not that I could find. And my socks . . . I have no idea.
According to the US Department of Labor, in 1996, the American textile industry employed 624,000 people. In 2013 that number had fallen to 120,000.
It is quite staggering that as almost everything in my lifetime has increased in cost (healthcare, college tuition, ice cream, rent, apples, gasoline, etc., etc.), clothing seems to be a glaring exception. By now I think most of us realize it is mass production and cheap overseas labor that has led to the concept of disposable and fast fashion. Most of us have overstuffed closets and have bragged about the "deal" we got on some new item of clothing. Simultaneously, we also complain about outsourcing and manufacturing jobs disappearing in our own country.
There is a paradox here that I am still grappling with. Is Cheap a good thing? A bad thing? The enemy? Are we willing to give up our ever changing wardrobe in exchange for fewer US made items? Is this a global economy and to fight this inertia towards cheap clothes just a losing battle? Is this the golden age of cheap? Will the effects on people and planet eventually catch up with us?
I have many conflicting thoughts on this subject and over a decade of experience attempting to produce organic cotton fabrics in the USA. I haven't "solved" anything, but this year I am trying at least to pay better attention. To look at my labels when I put on the items. To thank the cotton growers, the spinners, ginners, cutters, sewers, designers, wholesalers, retailers, and more whose labor literally clothes me no matter what country they are in - to pause and say thank you.
Here are a couple of interesting posts that touch on this touchy subject: https://www.elephantjournal.com/2014/02/why-does-american-made-clothing-cost-more/ and https://www.elephantjournal.com/2013/12/3-simple-ways-to-inspire-mindful-consumption/
Are you willing to take a close look at where you wear? If so, please list the "made in" locations of the items you have on today in the comment section below.
This isn't about judgement or scolding. Just an exploration into something we all have in common. To start a dialog perhaps or maybe just a place for me to process the noise in my head. Thank you for reading this.
I found it intriguing that during his inauguration speech Trump spoke of bringing jobs back to the USA and of buying American made goods. So, in response to that directive, I decided to investigate if the inauguration swag being sold on every street corner was made in the USA?
In stark contrast.... the vast majority of these were hand-made in America. I only found one person actually selling the "pink pussy hats".
To me, this illustrates that perhaps both “sides” do share some of the same values with each other. Do you think we should be "buying American"?
UPDATE: Apparently all "official inauguration swag" is made in the USA but alas I couldn't find any in DC at the end of January.
Trudy (pictured on the right) and I traveled to DC to participate in the Women’s March on Washington on January 21st, 2017. Trudy is 84 years young and one of my best friends.
One of the hardest parts leading up to our trip, was trying to figure out what our sign(s) should read. After much debate and suggestions from friends, I opted for "Fear Less" and Trudy's side of the sign read "Speak Up".
Trudy's parents were Jewish immigrants. All of her mother's family were killed in the Holocaust. I think this influenced her choice of words and fuels her need to make sure we are acting thoughtfully and compassionately to those around the world who are suffering in other countries.
"Fear Less" has become my mantra for 2017. It feels like there is so much fear surrounding us that it is easy to slide into the depths of despair. Fear of what might happen blinds us to the beauty that IS happening here and now.
For me, the beauty of January 21st was that by all accounts it was the LARGEST WORLDWIDE protest in the history of the planet and to the best of my knowledge there was not one arrest. (If I am wrong about this, please fill me in.) To quote Trudy:
In an attempt to explain the tremendous success of the Women's Marches all over the country and the world, comments like "that's because women were in charge" don't really tell the whole story. In our view, the credit goes not only to women, but to the amazing number of men; the wonderful diversity of color, of ethnicity, of generations. In DC, where we were, considering that three times the expected numbers attended, it was more like a "shuffle" than a march; people packed so closely that it was rife for frustration. But unbelievably, not only were there no arrests; there were not even skirmishes, impatience or unkind words! It was a beautiful spectacle of creative hats and signage and compliments/chatting being exchanged.......it didn't matter if one could see the stage during the rally or even hear the speakers....the dynamic energy during the entire day was extraordinary!
It was an honor to be a part of peaceful history in the making.
Normally I start the year with my annual gratitude challenge but this year I am a little behind. However, I believe it is NEVER to late to be grateful so here we go:
Be the first person to send me a list of 2,017 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.
What are YOU grateful for?
If you want to read more you can look at some of our past posts/winners here: 2015, 2013 and 2012.
You guessed it - Harmony Art turns 12 this month! I am so incredibly blessed and amazed - My HEART is overflowing with gratitude for the freedom, creativity and flexibility Harmony Art has afforded me the last 3 years. The kind, thoughtful, caring people I have met along the journey have been inspiring and encouraging. What more could a gal ask for? THANK YOU! THANK YOU! THANK YOU!
My very first textile job was designing pajamas for Karen Neuburger (KN). One of my first assignments was to create an "election print" for the 2000 election. I was told that they wanted 3 prints that were identical except that the color and the animal would change. They wanted a donkey, elephant and eagle (for the reform party). It ended up being a huge PR campaign with all the candidates and their wives getting complimentary pajamas of their parties. KN also sent pjs to our local female Senators. I was told that Barbara Boxer liked them so much she purchased a pair for every woman in the Senate! They even were worn in Chicago down Michigan Ave in a "get out the female vote" parade. I don't know if the President of the United States ever slept in his pjs or not.
It's hard to believe that was 17 years ago (design was done in 1999)! What a wild and crazy journey this has been.
I hope EVERYONE reading this will vote in next month's election!
Founder of Harmony Art organic design.