founder, creative director
the journey is the prize...... 2009,
December 28, 2007
raising the festivus pole
I am proud to report that my suggestion for a "green" Christmas theme for 2008 was not only met with approval but my sister-in-law, Wendy, challenged us to make it a zero waste event and if we are buying new products, to try to buy ones made in the USA. Great suggestions!
Our family had a "festivus" pole for the 2nd year in a row. Instead of the airing of grievances we changed it to the airing of gratuities. It is easy to feel stifled by traditions, but I am lovin' the new (and improved) traditions my family is embracing! Note: we haven't come up with our version of the feats of strength... yet!
December 24, 2007
I'm dreaming of a green christmas
This time of year is full of paradox for me. I love the way it brings people together. I don't love the extreme consumerism that seems to have overshadowed what was once the celebration of the winter solstice and then later became associated with the birth of Jesus. I love the smell of pine trees. I never understood the "kill a tree for Jesus" concept.
As I attempt to make sense out of the season, and not turn into a complete curmudgeon, I have been perhaps over-thinking my purchases and trying to figure out how (to quote NPR) to turn a trend into a tradition. Why not convert the holiday into a colossal GREEN and red tradition?
My mother without fail, asks for my help in planning the holidays. It's too late this year, but for 2008, I am going to propose that we only exchange "green" gifts. The interpretation will be up to each of us, but the potential for creative, non-landfill items sounds like fun to me. It will be interesting to see if I encounter any resistance tomorrow when I suggest the rules for 2008.
The irony and/or synchronicity of the color green already being the color of Christmas makes me chuckle. Could our "Green Christmas" become a tradition? I hope so! Stay tuned to find out.
December 11, 2007
Aussie here we come!
I am SUPER happy to announce the latest addition to our distribution team: Organic Fabric Online is officially open and accepting orders. This family based business is located in Victoria, Australia and will be servicing our friends "down under". They will be expanding their offerings and helping those on the other side of the world get access to organic fabrics.
If you have friends or family in Australia I highly recommend you turn them on to this site. The picture is of Janette, holding her long traveled first rolls. Please make them feel welcome!
December 10, 2007
Alphabet Soup Saga
We were suppose to have Alphabet Soup back in stock over a month ago. The delay happened when we received natural instead of the white ground we had ordered. Well, it happened again. SO, after polling several of our Alphabet Soup purchasers, we decided to forgo another wait and to re-release Alphabet Soup on a natural ground.
It is easy to get frustrated by these sorts of "set backs" but I am choosing to see them as the fabric making the decisions for me. Sound insane? Maybe, but often enough things I have tried to control have turned out much better when I let go. I am hoping this is one of those times. We expect to have Alphabet Soup on the natural ground in stock by early 08. It is a journey... with many detours. As always, I welcome your feedback.
December 6, 2007
tis the season
I must not be traveling right now since I am finding time to actually read and blog!
Thanks Coral Rose for turning me on to this interesting site/movie: The Story of Stuff. It is a 20 minute video...very appropriate for this time of year. It explains the "external costs" of the things we purchase and addresses the unsustainable consumerism cycle we seem to be trapped in. Another interesting read this week is "Dress for Excess: The Cost of Our Clothing Addiction". This article is full of interesting stats and figures about our growing apparel consumption, like this one: "The government says apparel prices in the United States dropped by about 25 percent from 1992 to 2002, and we responded like the good consumers we are, increasing our buying by 75 percent."
I believe these articles/videos support my personal theory that we are on the brink of a major consumerism shift... away from the better living through more stuff mentality to quality living through thoughtful things.
P.S. There are lots of other great articles and topics of interest on Coral Rose's blog, Sustainable Action Leadership . I highly recommend spending some time on her site too!
December 1, 2007
I use to subscribe to many magazines...home, fashion, business were my main reads. I have slowly let go of just about every magazine since A. I don't have time to look through or read them and B. I now trend hike instead of trend scout and C. I am saving trees and energy.. but there is one magazine I still subscribe to: Ode. This month there were 3 articles that I thought some of my blog readers (whoever you are) might be interested in. "Fields of Dreams" is about organic cotton farming in India - where a majority of our base cotton is coming from at the moment. The other article, "Think outside the Bank", is about alternative sources of funding for entrepreneurs. I know many of us have new businesses and I thought the sites mentioned in the article like prosper.com might be interesting to some of you.
I said 3 didn't I? My other favorite article from this month's issue confirms my close to 20 year commitment to being a fish-itarian (vegetarian with the occasional addition of fish). "Meat is Methane" exposes how meat production is the biggest cause of climate change.
Ode eventually will remove the free access to these articles so read soon if you are interested.
November 25, 2007
Recently, I received in the mail some treats for the furry friends in my life. The eco pet toys are new from Sparkle Jess Designs. Her creations are very thoughtfully made. She uses natural untreated wool (locally sheared). This is a picture (right) of my good friend Foxie (who belongs to Mary Sue and Bob)
enjoying her new Sweet Jane bone.
I have sadly never had a dog, but I enjoy living viacriously through my "dog friends". We currently have one all black cat, Atlantis, who comes with a stern warning label: pet at your own risk. We love him, but at 15, he is a bit crotchety. Here is a picture of Atlantis (left) enjoying his new rag rug made by artist, poet and friend Jane Reichhold out of Harmony Art fabrics. Thanks Jane and Jess!
November 21, 2007
39 things I am thankful for: 1. honesty 2. sleeping in my own bed 3. Sus 4. quality time spent with family and friends 5. improving quality control 6. sunshine 7. wise mentors 8. help when you need it 9. Carol (intern) 10. GOTS 11. serendipity 12. reunions with old friends 13. the growing global awareness about sustainability 14. weasure 15. hikes 16. getting to boogie to the "world's greatest wedding band" 17. patient customers 18. digital cameras 19. connecting with like-minded people 20. silence 21. financial sustainability 22. moving forward 23. Lizzard's Lunchtime Lounge 24. CSA organic food programs 25. water 26. laughter that makes your belly ache 27. friendship that defies space and time 28. creativity 29. Dar's continual assistance 30. meaningful conversations 31. the ocean 32. the incredible human body 33. inspiration 34. encouragement when you need it most 35. all the people who bring my fabric to life 36. the continual quest for balance 37. realizing perfection and urgency are both illusions 38. meeting Martje and Barb 39. love, joy and gratitude
November 18, 2007
I just got educated last week on white. I had been specifying white and been getting 2 different shades - a bright white and a "natural" white. The new Whispering Grass B/W has been printed on bright white. The new Sweet Jane and Silent Stumps are now on "natural" white. Not expecting this difference, we looked into the situation and discovered that for bright white you need to add an optical brightener. Without this you end up with "natural" white.
Optical brighteners are allowed under the Global Organic Textile Standards but only for the next 2 years and then it will be reviewed again. There are some concerns with the potential environmental harm with these brighteners. SO... moving forward I plan to only specify "NON Optical Natural" white.
November 17, 2007
fiber-reactive field trip
I spent the majority of last week visiting our domestic print facility on the east coast. They have been doing our interlock printing but I had not yet visited the plant. Since we were re-printing some designs it seemed like a good time to take the trip and meet the people in person.
It was a very productive trip. Graceland, Sweet Jane and Silent Stumps as well as Stumps Speak denim are now printed and will soon begin shipping. This was my first time at a fiber-reactive printing plant. Although the printing machinery is very similar to pigment printing, there are many more processing steps. After it is printed and dried, it then has to be steamed, from there it is washed and dried again and finally put through quality control. Instead of a one day process it is more like a 3 day process. The plant we are using has been producing textiles since the late 1800s. Being there felt like walking through history. Big thank you to Bob, Marianne, Donna, Josh and all the guys on the line for letting me invade their space. I really appreciate the care and attention they showed our fabrics.
November 9, 2007
Another weekend of "weasure"
I look forward to another weekend of work + pleasure and connecting with like-minded people.
Tomorrow I am heading down to San Francisco to attend the Green Festival. I will be there on Saturday (only) helping Shyamala with her booth. Please feel fee to stop by 4 Legged Designs (booth #925) and say hello and check out her eco-dog collars, leashes and gemstone amulets. Note: picture is of Shyamala and her late and great friend Mansur.
On Sunday I will be in Sebastopol at the Surface Design Assiciation meeting. I look forward to seeing old friends and making new ones.
November 6, 2007
rollin' rollin' rollin'
It has been a LOOOOONG time coming but at last the reprinting of Whispering Grass, Vein and Let it Grow is officially complete, and packaged for shipment. I received these photos today from the plant in India. Let's hope (and pray) that they look as fabulous inside as they do from the outside.
Production samples arrived yesterday of Whispering Grass and Vein and although you will notice a slight color shift (as anticipated) the hand of the fabric has improved tremendously! I think the fabric will be worth the wait. We still have a few more weeks before it will be here in the states. Thanks for your continued patience. We are still working out the kinks in the system but every day is a day closer to having it wired.
On a domestic note, I will be flying to the east coast next week to supervise the re-printing happening here in the states. By Thanksgiving we should be shipping the 60" wide new runs of Graceland, Sweet Jane and Silent Stumps as well as Stumps Speak Denim and hopefully Alphabet Soup too. I look forward to having to having much to be thankful for this year!
If you happen to live in the New Jersey area and have time next week to be my chauffeur, I would love company on my quick trip to the printer. If so, please shoot me an email or give me a call.
November 3, 2007
What a Night!
I went directly from Monterey to Healdsburg to be the matron of honor in my friend Theresa's wedding. It was a reunion of good friends and an opportunity to make new friends. The entire female wedding party was decked out in Olivia Luca, hemp/silk designs.
Theresa had been talking about hiring the "world's greatest wedding band" for months but would not tell us who it was. I have to admit it exceeded my expectations when Melvin Seals and the JGB Band showed up to rock the house! (see picture of me huggin' Melvin after the show.)
Theresa and Brian, I wish you a lifetime full of love, laughter and MUSIC!
October 31, 2007
Trick or Organic Treat?
I spent this week in Monterey, CA at the Asilomar state park conference facility. It is a beautiful venue on the pacific coast. The Organic Exchange's annual conference was there and what an event! There were 350 people representing 39 countries and all parts of the organic cotton supply chain. I met farmers, converters, printers, manufacturers, entrepreneurs, artists, volunteers, and at long last Barb Bush-Lamming from Texas. Barb was one of the VERY first people I talked to before Harmony Art organic design was even launched. Her enthusiasm and support has been an inspiration from the start. Barb is part of Organic Cotton Plus and also works directly with the Organic Exchange. It was fabulous to finally put a name and face with the voice I have come to know so well.
The good news is that according to the OE's latest fiber report, organic cotton production for the 2006/2007 crop year increased by 49%! The OE estimates that 100,000 households are now involved in organic cotton farming worldwide. Change IS happening. Thanks for being a part of it.
October 28, 2007
At long last . . .
This week was one I have been looking forward to for close to a year. Martje and I have been emailing each other from different sides of the world, and at long last we finally met in person. Martje is the woman behind the Buy me 10 Flowers company and she is also my distributor in the EU. She lives in the Netherlands and has been a huge supporter of Harmony Art fabrics both professionally and personally. Whenever there has been a disappointment or set back along the journey I can always count on Martje's positive spin and "Polly Anna" attitude to bring things back into perspective. Customers/friends like that are truly what have made this journey such a joy.
She came with her family and timed the visit to be able to attend the annual OE conference too. More on that in my next post.
October 10, 2007
Today in England was the RITE conference. The Rite Group is a non-profit industry association dedicated to minimizing the environemental impact of textiles (& apparel). Although I wasn't there in person, my amazing European distributor, Martje, was. I love seeing our normally competitive industry coming together. Sounds like it was a very full day!
Later this month we will be attending the OE conference. The Organic Exchange is another non-profit organization. Their focus is on organic cotton. Their annual conference can be anywhere on the planet, but this year is in Monterey, CA. We will be there! If you are planning on attending too, let me know. Although the internet is wonderful, I love meeting face to face.
October 4, 2007
Shades of Green
This morning, I had the pleasure of speaking at the Williams-Sonoma corporate office. They invited me there to begin their education about what it means to "go green".
It is very rewarding to see mainstream companies taking up this initiative in a thoughtful and meaningful way. I have to admit that in trying to convey 4 years of personal research into an hour long talk made me realize just how complex the subject truly is. The title of my talk was "Shades of Green" since it has so many different possible meanings. My main advise was to define their objective and to see sustainability as a journey rather than a destination. I think the talk went well.
September 27, 2007
change of season
It is appropriate that on the fall equinox our print Solstice would finally be ready. The leaf motif in the design was noticed on the winter solstice last year and here it is 3 seasons later realized as an organic fabric! This also gives you some idea just how LOOOOOOONG the process can take.
In other fabric news, this week the last India strike off was received and approved. The new runs of Vein, Whispering Grass (aqua and black/white), and Let it Grow should be printed next week. These designs will be fully 3rd party certified to GOTS standards which ensure not only organic processing and printing but that fair trade labor is used as well. The fiber-reactive printing process should also ensure a softer hand than our previous wide-width runs..
Once printed they will make the trip by boat from India, through customs and to our warehouse in South Carolina. Thanks for your patience!
September 19, 2007
Swatch cutting is messy business. Not only is it time consuming, you also end up with plenty of little miniscule pieces. For no particular reason, except maybe that I am a nut about keeping things out of landfill, I started a scrap bag. A few months back, two different companies approached me about recycling my fabric scraps! I was more than happy to share my "waste". One creative company I told you about back on Sept. 4th: Bebop Baby Shop.
The other, mEG +aLI, just shared with me these cute baby clothes embellished with Harmony Art organic cotton scraps. I LOVE it! If you are looking for a good home for your fabric scraps, may I suggest contacting these two companies. Another person that amazes me with what they can do with a tiny piece of fabric is Martje.
"One man gathers what another man spills" - or woman as the case may be.
September 14, 2007
As some of you know, for the last 6 weeks our little company has been graced with the presence of Carol Shu as our intern/artist in residence. It is with a heavy heart and best wishes that we bid farewell today. Carol is AMAZING! What a blessing to have someone young, competent, intelligent, thoughtful, hardworking, and enthusiastic around.
Carol is a recent graduate from UC Davis design department with a focus on fashion. Her goal is to pursue a career in women's eco-apparel. If you are such a company looking for those rare star employees, I suggest you don't wait and email Carol today. You won't regret it.
September 13, 2007
blog, blog, blog
What a week! Check out these new blogs that have so kindly and generously helped spread the word about Harmony Art fabrics. First on September 9th we had an incredibly kind entry by Sasanna on her blog "Organic Solutions for the Mint Green". Then on the 11th, Carol's friend Jimmy posted on his blog. Today, Alyssa's entry "Harmonizing Your Business" was posted. We are honored and touched. Big Thanks!
P.S. Alyssa has another blog: "The Wedding Less Traveled" that is a MUST read for any bride-to-be.
September 7, 2007
The Teen Choice Awards were last week and although we weren't there... our fabric was and so was our good friend Rachel Hulan of Path Design. Rachel was the designer for the "eco" back stage lounge. We were honored that Rachel chose to use our fabrics in her design.
According to Rachel, Jessica Alba, Avril Lavigne, the cast of High School Musical (with the exception of Zac Ephron), and Miley Cyrus (from Hannah Montana) were all there. She also spoke with Jared Padelecki, Apolo Ohno, Nikki Blonsky from Hairspray, Snoop Dog, Jordin Sparks (American Idol winner), Megan Fox, and Sophia Bush, among others.
Enjoy the pictures, compliments of Rachel.
September 4, 2007
I LOVE Vermont
After Vegas I took a quick trip to Vermont to perform the wedding ceremony for a very dear friend of mine. While there, we stopped by Bebop Baby Shop in Essex Junction and had the great pleasure of meeting Kate and Beth the owners and creators of this special retail space. Their kindness, creativity and generosity was inspirational. We wish them all the best!
After spending time at a our friend Jim's "off the grid" eco-castle-compound and enjoying Lake Champlain, we fell in love with Vermont and hope to get back there soon! Speaking of Vermont... our retail distributor PM Organics just moved there over the weekend. I can understand why!
August 29, 2007
S(eco)nds at MAGIC
MAGIC was quite an experience. It felt like the largest trade show I have ever been to on Viagra. It was a mix of Sean John, Paris Hilton, cheap manufactures, and booth after booth after booth after booth after booth after booth...
The highlights for me were My Empire's booth at the S(eco)nd section of POOL (pictured here). It was also great to see Kathryn from Princess Linens, Kelly and Michael from Awakening Organics and also to see Tenfold's new apparel line (Truly Organic). The Organic Exchange/OTA pod/booth in sourcing was an oasis in a sea of "fashion" stuff.
For those considering showing my word of caution would be to visit it first. There is SOOOOOO much there that standing out seemed next to impossible. I think the nice thing about S(eco)nd was that is was small and all of the "eco" booths were positioned together, and they actually had recycling bins (the only ones I saw in Vegas).
August 25, 2007
Last night was amazing! We were happy attendees at the Oz Farm Field to Table all organic and local dinner. Patrick gave us a tour of the fields before we indulged in a meal I will not soon forget! Local wild salmon with the freshest local veggies, fruits, cheeses and wines rounded out the meal. Aaron did an amazing job with the food.
Earlier this summer we were approached by Aaron and Terry of the Oz farm and asked if we could provide the organic fabric for their tablecloth and napkins. It was an honor to be a small part in a magical and delicious experience. They are having one more dinner this year in October. If you live in the area or plan to visit, I HIGHYLY recommend the experience. The family style set up allowed us to met the most wonderful people there too!
The OZ farm CSA (Community Supported Agriculture) weekly bags of goodies are great too. It is our 2nd year participating and we don't plan on stopping - ever.
Photo by Brennie Brackett (an extremely talented pastel artist). Thanks Brennie!
August 24, 2007
Surrender and Ohio are printed and are now shipping!!!! I hope you will enjoy these new interlock prints. We love the soft hand of the interlocks and think these new designs will be a great addition to the Harmony Art line.
You may also notice that our web site has a new look. Carol, our amazing, talented, thoughtful, positive, creative intern has been working hard to update our prints pages. I can not begin to express how fortunate we feel to have her working with us. I don't know how I am going to handle her impending departure... she rocks. Whatever fashion company hires her will be very lucky!
August 23, 2007
The article in Ecotextile News: High levels of formaldehyde in Chinese clothing really got my attention. Apparently scientist in New Zealand for a consumer watchdog program tested adult and children clothing for formaldehyde and found in some instances the clothes to "have a reading of 900 times the level that actually causes harm." The New Zealand TV show will air the names of the companies next week.
Formaldehyde is use in textiles as a finish to prevent mildew and also as a fixative for some pigment printing. It has also been linked with cancer. I am happy to report that there is NO formaldehyde allowed in our fabrics! Thanks Ecotextile News for breaking the story. Keep up the great work!
August 23, 2007
Next week Carol and I will be heading to MAGIC for the first time in our lives. We look forward to seeing familiar faces and connecting with new friends as well.
If you will be there in attendence or with a booth... please let us know. We plan to attend the OE seminars and the Global Eco show too! Should be fun...Vegas here we come!
August 17, 2007
The many more phases of Pink Moon
I just returned from a quick and very warm trip to South Carolina to personally inspect the most recent shipment of Pink Moon from India. This was our first print run done with a fully 3rd party certified printer and .... well... let's just say there is plenty of room for improvement. We now have a whopping total of 8 versions of Pink Moon from the 2 print runs. We have decided, because of this, to offer several of the varieties at discount and also to have this colorway be a limited released. The plan is to reprint it in a new (and let's hope less troublesome) colorway...suggestions are welcome!
One of the bright spots of the overly, warm day was Diane (pictured here). She did a great job running the folding/rolling machine and helping me inspect the fabric. Thanks Diane!
August 8, 2007
This week Harmony Art been infused with a new breath of fresh air. Carol Shu has joined our team for a 6 week internship. Carol is a recent graduate from UC Davis design department. Her energy, competency, and positive attitude is a great addition. We feel SOOOOOOO very lucky to have her here. She already has created a harmony art hang tag which we will be offering as an educational tool for any company using our fabrics.
July 25, 2007
be careful what you wish for...
Last week I saw the movie Evan Almighty with my 11 year old niece, Emma. The scene in the movie that I still find myself thinking about is when God (played by Morgan Freeman) says, "If someone prays for patience, you think God gives them patience? Or does he give them the opportunity to be patient?"
I think this movie has helped me figure out my problem. I have been praying for perseverance and been given an abundance of opportunity to express it in the development of Harmony Art.
Yesterday was a series of disappointing news about our latest print run that arrived from the new fully 3rd party certified printer in India. This was to be the new and improved printer who would be able to deliver 1st quality fabric to us. We are back in the situation of not knowing what is 1sts and what is not and now the colorway is even in question. SO... I have STOPPED praying for perseverance.
July 11, 2007
This week we had three great Harmony Art fabric sighting. On July 5th, Fiber Active Quilts was featured on North Carolina's NBC17 station (click here to watch for yourself). Then we found out that Stumps Speak without words and Vein were pictured on Olivia Luca's gorgeous dresses in the wedding issue of In Style (click picture to right to enlarge). Then today we found out via the teensy green blog that Cotton Monkey crib bedding is featured in the book the Lazy Environmentalist.
All three of the women behind these companies had a vision and is making it happen. It's awesome to see these amazing companies begin to get the spotlight they so well deserve! I feel honored to be able to work with so many thoughtful, passionate people/ companies. Thanks for sharing the good news with me. I love it!
July 6, 2007
I am happy, grateful, ecstatic, excited, joyful, relieved and proud to announce the latest addition to our team. My brother, Merit, who you (if you have been reading this blog) know has been doing various helpful things for us for the last year is officially joining the Harmony Art team as our VP of Logistics.
I can't begin to tell you how happy I am to be adding his expertise and business knowledge to our growing company. Today, he managed to locate our latest shipment of Pink Moon and Pastel Pink sateen which has been in transit from India. It is now at our warehouse and will begin shipping on Monday! Thanks Bro!
June 25, 2007
weekend of art & weasure
I spent a few days last week in SF with Michelle of Cotton Monkey. Cotton Monkey was the very first company to use harmony art fabrics in their product line. I will always be grateful for Michelle's initial and immediate enthusiasm for our fabrics.
On Friday we met with Laura Cottril an amazing photographer whose intuitive perspective is able to capture more than moments in time. Then, Michelle introduced me to a former architect colleague of hers, Amy Fashimpar (one of only 3 living Fashimpars) and we headed over the bay bridge in carpool style. We met up and had dinner with Sue Friedland a multi-media artist who combines science/ physics and organic materials to create her compelling and intriguing work.
Saturday I helped Michelle (wo)man her booth at the Babes & Babies trade show. Dinner we spent with my good friend Kairsten Wydra (we use to design together in our past lives) and her creative web blogging boyfriend Jason (aka Schlomo Rabinowitz). Add that we ate an all vegan restaurant (Herbivore) and it couldn't have been a more perfect evening.
On Sunday, we met up with Kara (another former design colleague and good friend) who now heads the textile department for Williams-Sonoma and her new hubby, Jeff. We hit some great stores in Mill Valley and then it was time to put Michelle on a bus for the airport.
To be surrounded by so many wonderful, creative, passionate, caring artists/friends was incredible.... and pure weasure! (Don't know what weasure is? See entry from April 4, 2007.)
June 21, 2007
the other green
This month we have been doing a lot of planning/ assessment. After 2 1/2 years in business, it was time to perform a detailed review of Harmony Art. In looking at the numbers, it was exceedingly clear that in order for us to continue to be able to invest in more stock and be able to release new designs that we were going to have to increase some of our prices. It is a decision that we have struggled over but one that we feel necessary to remain sustainable as a business. Since leaving my mainstream design job and launching Harmony Art, every spare dime has been poured back into the business.
I welcome your feedback and appreciate your continued support. As always, please contact me if you would like more details.
June 13, 2007
I watched White Gold: The True Cost of Cotton for the 3rd time today. The reality of how cotton is grown and harvested in Uzbekistan is outrageous. The cycle of debt and exploitation coupled with environmental crisis is seriously frightening. Watching this well made video will take 7 1/2 minutes of your life.
June 10, 2007
I wanted to share with you the new work of my extremely close friend Katie Nartonis. In fact Katie and I have known each other for over 20 years! Katie has always had a great sense of style.... and at long last she is sharing this talent with the world. I think you will enjoy her line of ecclectic and thoughtful jewerly.
The Nartonis family was hugely influential on me as a young adult. Many a night I would spend at their house being educated about art and food...pick- ing veggies from their huge garden, swinging on the tire swing, playing in the old barn next door.... I had a couple of big challenges in high school and the love and warmth their family shared with me I will never forget. When people like the Narts touch your life you are never the same. If you get a chance, check out Katie's mom's (Cynthia Nartonis) web site an accomplished and incredible artist.
Now, if we could just get her equally amazing twin sister to share her paint- ings. No pressure Connie!
June 6, 2007
Today marks my 9 year anniversary of being married to Sus. This morning, at low tide we made our annual pilgrimage to Bowling Ball Beach to renew our vows.
We have 5 weddings to attend in the next 5 months. My experience is that when you find the right partner it just gets better and better each year. I feel so lucky to be able to share this journey with someone so kind, thoughtful and gentle as Sus. Cheers to the next year, and next, and next, and next...
June 5, 2007
the many phases of pink moon
Just like the moon has many phases... so does our Pink Moon. If you have been reading this blog for very long you have heard about my trials and tribulations with the print Pink Moon. Well...after a huge disappointment from my domestic printer, we had screens re-engraved and did a re-run in India. I saw the first strike off and although not the same shade of pink as the first run I was willing to embrace the "new and improved" (and fully 3rd party certified) version. The fabric is in customs at the moment and we should be receiving it any day. Well....today I found out that magically 545 yards were done in yet another shade of pink. Fortunately I like them all! One of my favorite song quotes seems appropriate... "nothing left to do but smile, smile, smile."
May 31, 2007
As many of you know who have been reading my blog... I am a huge advocate for organic processing standards. In order for our industry to remain meaningful it has to have standards that are useful, applicable and constantly moving us forward towards better environmental and social practices. GOTS is a great move in this direction, but without public understand and recognition it is unlikely to become "the" standard and we run the risk of continuing down the road of complexity and consumer confusion. One group, LEAF Certifications is taking on the task of educating the consumer about textile standards. They are at the beginning/development stages. If you are interested or are working on your own line of eco-fabric items, I suggest you visit eco-approved.org and get involved.
May 29, 2007
When I read this article "Our oceans are turning into plastic...are we?" by Susan Casey last week... I almost cried. Last weekend while enjoying a fabulous farmers market with some very close friends I again had to fight back tears. As I looked around the farmers market complete with petting zoo and organic produce were hundreds of plastic bags...almost everyone had at least one and some had several. I have been on a personal boycott of plastic water bottles this year but after learning about the floating garbage patch that is 2x the size of Texas I now am even more empowered to avoid plastic like the plague.
How can we possibly have come up with such a permanent "solution" to a temporary problem? The use of plastic bags and containers solve the immediate need of transportation but create an environmental hazard that will long out last all of us. Does anyone else find this as absurd as I do?? I think we will look back at our collective lack of outrage with horror.
Today I was introduced to Chris Jordan a Seattle artist whose work I find incredibly moving, alarming and inspiring. This is a close up of his piece titled: Plastic Bags, 2007 which Depicts 60,000 plastic bags, the number used in the US every five seconds.
I highly recommend reading Susan Casey's article and also visiting Chris Jordan's web site. Perhaps you will also be moved away from (in)convenience. I read today that SF is banning plastic bags from grocery stores and pharmacies. Maybe there is hope.
May 21, 2007
We are moving forward with printing produciton in India and New Jersey. A new run of Pink Moon and a solid light pink sateen are on there way to the US by boat. I am super happy with the hand of the new fabrics. I am really hopeful that this move...although a tough (and expensive) decision will be the right one. We will be doing our next reprints (Whispering Grass and Vein) in India and if those go well... we will be moving all wide-width printing to India, unless we can find a wide-width US printer that we can rely on. Please note that we are proceeding cautiously and there will be some lag in available inventory while the transition happens... we beg your patience and understanding during this necessary transition.
The best news is that the India printer is fully 3rd party certified (Skal/Control Union... soon to be GOTS)! So we can all rest easier that the facilities are eco-friendly and the people there treated fairly. The plan is to visit ourselves this winter. We will continue to print the thinner width fabrics domestically in NJ. I look forward to getting your feedback on this move and the new fabrics soon.
My three current wishes are for: 1. a long hike, 2. patient, understanding customers 3. a printing partner who I can brag about.
May 16, 2007
UC Davis - new growth
After being home for only 4 days and nights, I hit the road again and spoke to 2 classes at UC Davis. The professor that invited me was Ann Savageau an incredible teacher and a powerful and amazing artist.
It was great to connect with future designers/ business people. The super, great news is that out of the lectures emmerged Carol. Carol will be spending the month of August at the Harmony Art Tree Fort headquarters as our first intern. I am super excited to have some help and I look forward to sharing the journey for a while.
April 29, 2007
It was a week to remember... the QC trip took me to South Carolina where I got to meet the newest members of the family: McKenna and Preston. At 5 weeks old they were full of personality. It was great to give my brother Merit (who has helped me SO much) and Kim a hand for a change.
I want to publicly say THANK YOU to the incredible companies who so lovingly sent gifts to our new babes. The twins are modeling Buy Me 10 Flowers organic matching outfits that are ultra cozy and super cute. The Blessed Nest nursing pillow was a big hit. Kim calls it the "mosh pit" and I call it a life saver for feedings. It was incredibly functional and versatile. Preston (sitting in the nursing pillow) is sporting a "one peace" organic onesie from Starting Green.
I got to use a baby carrier for the first time... a Let it Grow Mei Tai from Picara. With some further instruction from Heather we got the hang of it and we even went on our first walk/hike. I thought it was appropriate that I be there to celebrate their first Earth day with them.
My sister-in-law, Kim, was blown away with how nice you all have been to her. I kept telling her what an incredible, thoughtful and caring people I work with. You make all the challenges bearable.
April 21, 2007
I spent the day in South Carolina at our wide-width domestic printing plant. We have had several quality control issues with this plant and so the re-printing of Eyes of the World was a test to see if they could meet our standards or not. I am happy to report that the color and registration was GREAT! However, the quality control was not as stellar as I would have hoped.
There is a re-occurring misprint on the edge of Eyes every 3-10 yards throughout the entire run. Grrrrrrrr. The lime green looked good but had black specs littered throughout it. This was especially disappointing since that fabric had already been through QC before I got there. We (Kristina, Waves and I) spent hours wiping the specs off the 1,000 yards of lime green fabric. If this was their best, I have no choice but to continue my quest for higher standards. The journey continues...thanks for your patience and understanding.
April 17, 2007
World's Greatest P.A.
For the last 2 weeks, I have had the great pleasure of having my Mother-in-law here visiting. She was instantly recruited to be my personal assistant and did a marvelous job. Tami, John and Rick at the post office will miss her daily visits. Thanks MOM! She is pictured here sporting a Stumps Speak mailbag (a gift from good friend Theresa for Christmas). Am I lucky or what!!! Please come back and visit us soon. We LOVE you.
April 5, 2007
on the road again...
I will be speaking at the Fashion Institutue of Technology's: An Introduction to Sustainable Business and Design Conference on April 19th. If you are in the NYC area I would love to see you there! The event is open to the public but they are requesting that you register in advance. I look forward to being a part of the event. While I am in NYC I will be meeting with the US IMO GOTS certifier to discuss the process of getting our printers 3rd party certified to GOTS.
From there I will be heading to SC to visit the babies (Yeah!) and my VP of logistics (their poppa) and our warehouse. After that I will be heading to Ann Arbor Michigan for the Sustainable Textile Standards joint committee meeting... and from there I head to the OTA's annual All Things Organic show where I will be meeting up with friends and colleagues. It will be a busy 3 weeks of pure weasure... and I am looking forward to all of it!
April 4, 2007
My friend Julie and I have been exchanging emails lately about the lack of words in the english language to discribe certain things. I have a new words... for the combination of work and pleasure. So much of life is not one or the other so I propose the word weasure (pronounced wej-zher).
It seems since starting Harmony Art all of life has melded into weasure....I think it is a good thing.
March 20, 2006
The babies are here!
Today is a special day...I am an aunt again... to twins! My brother's wife Kim gave birth to Preston and McKenna this morning!
In addition to these twins...I am also happy to announce the release of Baby Talk. When I designed Baby Talk in 2005 in 2 colorways - one for a boy and one for a girl, I didn't have a clue that my brother and his wife would be having twins 2 years later. Amazingly, this week as the twin prints are released, my brother's twins were born...a boy and a girl. Wild! Now... if I could just learn/find the time to sew something for them out of what will always be the twin's print to me.
March 14, 2007
I was recently introduced to a blog (thanks Heather!) that deserved mention: Fashion-Incubator: Lessons from a sustainable factory floor. This site has so much useful (and randomly interesting) information it is scary! The founder Kathleen Fasanella is also the author of "The Entrepreneur's Guide To Sewn Product Manufacturing." I haven't read it yet, but I hear it is a must read. Kathleen's blog spans a variety of topics. Her del.icio.us links are a huge resource for anyone into fashion production (or oigami). Thanks Kathleen for introducing me to the whole del.icio.us concept - I LOVE it and I look forward to joining the ranks.
New companies and estabilshed ones will learn a lot from the Fashion- Incubator site. Check it out!
March 12, 2007
I was completely honored when Stephanie Zhong of Sander Architects and Fabulously Green invited me to participate in the Pacific Design Center's Westweek Green Gallery.
I have had the pleasure of working with green designers for several months now but the opportunity to spread the word about organic fibers to the mainstream design world is a wonderful opportunity. I will be speaking on Thursday March 29th at 10:00am. I look forward to seeing some familiar faces and making new connections.
March 10, 2007
Last week Sus and I were in LA (Anaheim to be more specific) for the OTA's big dinner in conjuncture with the Natural Products Expo West which is happening this weekend. We donated the table decorations (15" swatches of fabric for each table) for the event. They decided to also use Graceland and Whispering Grass as the border on their signage and some of their presentation materials (Thanks Lynne!). It was a wonderful night full of delicious ORGANIC food and like minded people. Huge thanks to Lori, Lisa and Laura of the OTA for their help and continual great work to promote organics! We were glad to show our support. (Note my table top and sign coordinating dress by Enamore!)
While in area we had the good fortune to met with Rachel Hulan of Path Design, Delilah of The Road Less Traveled, Chris and Shannon of Pixel Pieces and Michelle and Tim (and Taevan!) from KISO Organic. It was a great road trip.
March 2, 2007
A new report on cotton was recently released by the Environmental Justice Foundation in collaboration with PAN UK called "The Deadly Chemicals in Cotton". I just finished reading it and am still reeling from and absorbing the new information.
I have been aware that cotton is the most heavily sprayed crop in the world. What I didn't realize until reading this report is just what that meant in terms of the environmental and health consequences. The chemicals being used on cotton are not just bad they are frightening!
One of the most common chemicals sprayed on cotton in the US is aldicarb. According to the report, "A single drop of the pesticide, aldicarb, absorbed through the skin can kill an adult. ... In 2003 almost 1 million kilos were applied to cotton grown in the USA." In 1984 at an aldicarb factory in Bhopal a toxic gas leak killed 20,000 people and 120,000 people were injured. Its use in the US has led to the contamination of groundwater in 16 states. This powerful nerve agent is more widely applied on cotton than any other insecticide in the US today!
If this wasn't bad enough, 99% of the world's cotton farmers live and work in the developing world where safety regulations and awareness are next to nonexistent. One story in this report made me want to cry. In West Africa ..."a father left his pesticide- soaked work clothes on the roof of the house out of reach of his four children, aged six to eight. It rained during the night, and the water passed from his clothes, dripping into domestic water vessels. The next morning the children drank and washed using the water from the vessels and some minutes later suffered headaches, nausea and convulsions. They were taken urgently to the health centre, but all four children died within about 20 hours."
There is no need to be subjecting our planet and its children to such things. Organic farming worked for thousands of years and is working now. This work is so much bigger and more important that me that it is staggering sometimes. Thanks for being part of the solution.
February 19, 2007
While on the 3 hour drive home from the bay area, I was listening to the book "The Secret" on cd. "The Secret" is about the law of attraction and how we bring things into our life - both good and bad. My husband and I have been a subscribers to such philosophy for some time but the book takes it to an even more concrete level.
The book suggested starting with a small request...a cup of coffee, or a call from an old friend. Since I was driving, I thought.. what could I start with? And then the idea popped into my head that I would like to have the person in front of me pay for my way across the San Rafael/Richmond bridge ($4) which was about 2 minutes ahead of me. I have practiced this random act of kindness before but have never been a recipient. To my astonishment and delight... it happened! Never underestimate the power of intention and attraction. I am sincerely grateful to have so many concrete examples of how the universe conspires to help us. When you are on the "right" path the signs are all around you.
February 10, 2007
what are the odds?
On my plane ride to the South, I ended up across the aisle from Amber, the designer from del forte. Del forte is an organic cotton jeans company. Amber was on her way to fashion week in London. Crazy thing is, I was not in my assigned seat but had switched with a woman so she could sit with her husband....and Amber was suppose to be on a different plane altogether! It was a quick flight chatting with another organic cotton insider. I was inspired and encouraged by Amber's knowledge, commitment, and spirit. Coincidence!?
February 9, 2007
Friends in right places
I thought it was cool when my brother moved 10 minutes away from my warehouse. Things got even stranger when my oldest and dearest friend moved to within minutes of our wide-width printer. I mean really, my brother has lived his entire life in California and then just when I start doing business with a SC warehouse...he up and moves there. Then, only months later my dear friend Vicki and family move to NC...minutes from the printer I am using for wide- width fabrics.
Now... who do I know that is planning on moving to NJ or India???? hmmmmmm
February 8, 2007
Merit Rocks Again!
Back in September of last year Merit, my brother, transported our first batch of fabrics to our new warehouse for us. This week he made another, further voyage in his big white truck to pick up the remainder of our sateen inventory and move it to the warehouse in South Carolina. Thanks Merit!!!! You rock!!! I think this makes up for all the times you picked on me as a kid and then some! Who knew when Merit and Kim up and moved to SC that they would be recruited as the official Harmony Art trucking line!
I leave tomorrow for a week long excursion to the south. I will get to see the warehouse for myself as well as spending some quality time with Merit and Kim before they become parents (of twins!).
February 2, 2007
Today, Harmony Art hit a mile stone.... our fabric was on Oprah! Well, to be more accurate Grace Welch was on Oprah showing her Patemm Pad made out of Let it Grow and Eyes. According to Grace, "the producers really loved the organic patemm pads and they really wanted me to demonstrate with them while they taped." Thanks Grace, for creating such a wonderful, useful product out of the Harmony Art fabrics! I am honored.
P.S. Happy Birthday Mom! I love you!
January 29, 2007
What a month it has been! Harmony Art had the best sales for any month to date. Our 2nd print on organic interlock, Surrender, was released, we added a brown denim and a heavy weight pink flannel solid and several new companies have launched using Harmony Art fabrics. We also added a "what's the buzz" testimonial page to our web site and a FAQ (Frequently Asked Questions) page as well. And we were featured in Pilates Style and Radiant magazines. Whew... the year is off to a great start!
January 22, 2007
Sustainable Textile Standards
I have officially been accepted to the Sustainable Textile Joint Committee. As a personal fan of the work of William McDonough and Michael Braungart, I found out about this exciting group through the non-profit web site greenblue.org. To learn more about this new cradle-to-cradle Sustainable Textile Standard click here.
If you haven't yet heard of "Cradle to Cradle" design I highly recommend the book by the same name.
January 18, 2007
It's (finally) official
I am please to announce that the Organic Trade Association has passed a resolution announcing the completion of the Global Organic Textile Standard and recognizing it as a global standard for organic fiber.
The processing of cotton can be very toxic and without universal and recognizable standards in place there is much room for deceit. It is my hope that before too long the fiber world will (like the food world) have a universally accepted and certified seal for which consumers can trust. This to me is a step in that direction. With the OTA's (US) endorsement as well as Germany, Japan and the UK behind it, I have great hope.
Next step is to get more certifiers and companies using the GOTS standard. I suggest in the meantime that we all ask when we buy organic products... who is certifying to what standards? Even if you aren't an expert just by asking that question you will be helping to ensure truth in advertising and the authenticity of the organic fiber industry.
January 8, 2007
Babies don't talk
I am sorry to report that the print run of Baby Talk did not go as smoothly as expected. This particular print was done as a custom order and because of things beyond my control the extra yardage that I was planning on selling did not materialize (excuse the pun!). Thankfully the customer who order the print did get their order. We still plan to offer this print but it will be later since we now need to wait for more of the base fabric (lightweight flannel) to be woven. I apologize for any inconvenience. Feel free to check the "seeds" page to watch its (and other prints) progression.
I feel like 2006 was one big experiment in all the different things that could possibly go wrong and right with organic textile production. Thanks for sticking with me through this sometimes challenging journey. The road ahead looks very inviting!
On a positive note, we now have solid brown denim.
the journey continues...