Harmony
founder, creative director

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© harmony art 2005-2013


BOOKS:

currently reading

The Painted Drum
by Louise Erdrich



study and research
Cradle to Cradle,
by William McDonough & Michael Braungart

The Travels of a T-Shirt in a Global Economy,
by Pietra Rivoli

Big Cotton,
by Stephen Yafa

Eco-Textile labelling,
from the publishers of ECOTEXTILE NEWS


life changing books
Healthy at 100,
by John Robbins

The Seven Mysteries of Life,
by Guy Murchie

The I Ching,
by Brian Browne Walker

Getting Things DONE,
by David Allen


the child inside
Lorax,
by Dr. Seuss

Above All Be Kind,
by Zoe Weil

stories of harmony
(unwritten)

In Pursuit of Weasure,
the launching of Harmony Art organic design

Trees Talk,
conversations with a
redwood tree

HarmonyArt logo




the journey is the prize...... 2009, 2007, 2006, and 2005


December 10, 2008
IMPORTANT! update

Here are some additional links for information on what the new Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act legislation means as well as how to voice your concern:

US CPSC FAQ page
National Bankruptcy Day - a web site dedicated to this very issue.
Blog posting worth reading: The Smart Mama, Greco Woodcrafting's Weblog, and last but definitely not least here's a new post from Fashion Incubator.
For an automated method of emailing all of your legislators click here.

Just so you know, the new law sets the tested limit for lead at 600 parts per million (due to be reduced to 300ppm in August of 2009). GOTS maximum lead allowance is 1ppm which is for outerwear. For all other fabrics the maximum is .2ppm - much, much less than this new law allows!




December 8, 2008
IMPORTANT!

In the wake of several high profile recalls, the Consumer Protection Safety Improvement Act was passed and signed into law on August 14, 2008. Why is this important? Well, although it is designed to improve safety of products, it imposes new and pricey requirments for manufacturers.

I am all for keeping our products safe, however, this legislation is so intense that it runs the risk of putting thousands of small companies (etsy, etc.) out of business. Our fabrics all meet strict GOTS toxicity screening requirements so I have no doubt we would pass any testing, the problem is that the burden for testing is not on the suppliers but apprears to be on the end product producers.

I highly recommend that if you produce a product (especially ones for those under 12) that you read about this on wikipedia and also visit Fashion Incubator's enormously helpful site. The fines are up to $5,000 per incident and 5 years in jail! It's time for you to speak out and be heard on the topic. For how to get involved, please, please, please visit FI's site. Kathleen has even opened up her normally private forum to help you stay informed on this topic. Thanks Kathleen!




December 7, 2008
cool beads

Check out this cool glass bead that my friend Fleurette Sevin made me for my birthday! It is based on our Moon fabric! You can check out Fleurette's glass work at her website. Funny thing is that I had this plan to ask for beads (recycled, found, home-made) for my birthday in an attempt to create a "prayer bead" collection from people in my life - one bead representing each friend. I got the idea from an article in Living Craft magazine. Well, suffice it to say, I only got the word out about my "bead" request to a few people... so I haven't collected the 108 you need for a prayer bead collection... regardless, Flurette did not know about my idea but gave me a bead anyway! I love it when things like that happen. Oh and BIG thanks to the few of you who have started my prayer bead collection - you know who you are. ;) I think instead of being a birthday wish it will be a lifetime goal. What I love is that the few people who did gift me a bead did so with such thoughtfulness. When I wear/hold each bead I feel the love of that friend.

PS Fleurette says she loves to collaborate so if you have any bead needs - feel free to contact her.




December 1, 2008
recommended reading

I spent most of today in transit from Michigan to California. The plane ride was the perfect opportunity to read the Eco-Textile labelling guide that was recently released by Ecotextile News. It is 93 pages of pure gold. I just wish it was released about 4 years ago! What an amazingly comprehensive book. If you are a manufacturer or retailer who is interested in understanding the various "eco" labels for textiles this is a great, quick, easy read that really helps to clarify the various options, their strengths and weaknesses. If you are new to the eco-textile labeling issues this will save you countless hours of research and is money very well spent! Bravo and big thanks to Ecotextile News!



November 21, 2008
forty

Forty things I am thankful for: 1. ice cream socials 2. metal canteens 3. redwood trees 4. itunes 5. tap water - the most underrated beverage - pure refreshment, zero calories and practically free 6. meaningful hugs 7. quotes that help me view things in a new light 8. kind and understanding customers 9. waking up with the sun rather than an alarm clock 10. vitamin d 11. a viable business 12. connecting with like-minded people 13. learning from people with differing opinions 14. dreams that linger after I awaken 15. feeling my father's love even without his physical presence 16. integrating yoga into my life 17. the sound of rain on our skylights 18. being an aunt 19. good listeners 20. silence 21. attracting the "right" business partners 22. moments of clarity 23. conversations that expand perspectives 24. grace under pressure 25. weekly secular Sabbath breaks from business and technology 26. friends who like to hike 27. bubbly water-makers (thanks dad!) 28. election '08 is over at last! 29. dancing 30. my mother's paintings that she found time to paint even with 3 small children 31. new custom curtains 32. conversations that flow like water down a stream 33. joy 34. weekly Saturday night sunset walks 35. being able to leave my journal out and open and knowing my partner wouldn't consider reading it without permission (aka trust!) 36. fresh baked artisan/local bread 37. choice 38. music that speaks to the soul 39. the sound of crickets and frogs on a warm night 40. the night sky and the way it makes me feel so insignificant and timeless.



November 20, 2008
colleagues not competitors

If you don't already know about Dawn and Deb of Oliveira Textiles, PLEASE let me introduce you! Oliveira is a sister run organic textile company with a focus on hemp. They are great people with great design and SO nice! For those of you in search of beautiful designer fabrics, I highly recommend Oliveira. They are in the process of releasing their newest fabrics. This picture is a sneak peak at their newest design - Madeira Vine. To see more of their newest fabrics visit their blog, and tell them I say Hello!

Connecting with like-minded people has been the best part of the journey. I am grateful for Dawn and Deb and wish them an abundance of joy and success. The more of us committed to cleaning up the textile industry, the faster it will happen (plus it is SO much more FUN to work together rather than against each other).




November 19, 2008
Sweet Indulgence

This Friday is my 40th birthday! You are all invited to my ice cream social at Fentons Creamery (see entry from Nov. 7th for details). I realize however, that many of you do not live close enough to come... SO... my request is that on November 21st you go to the local ice cream establishment of your choice, bring your camera, order a sundae, eat it in my honor and send me a picture! That way you too can be part of the celebration! I look forward to seeing if anyone indulges me (and themselves) with this sweet request. :)



November 18, 2008
Sweet Jane update

After much too much internal and external debate, we have decided to do ONE more printing of Sweet Jane on the 60" fabric. We decided that instead of investing in new Sweet Jane screens we will work on adding a new girlie print to the line. I have a couple of designs on the drawing board, so as soon as the design has been finalized you will see it appear on our planted seeds page. We promise to print this new design on the 110" wide sateen.

Thanks for your valuable input and requests. We really do care and listen.




November 17, 2008
Green Festival

On Sunday, Sus and I met our good friend Freda at the Green Festival in SF. We had a grand time walking the floor, seeing all of the new "green" products and meeting with Harmony Art customers.

I thought I would share a couple of pictures from the show with you. We first visited 4 Legged Design. Shyamala has wonderful dog collars and leashes. Here is a picture of Freda and I being goofy and wearing the collars.

After that we headed to the apparel section where we got a sneak peak at Mountains of the Moon's spring line with Harmony Art fabric details. Here's a picture of Melissa holding up one of their fine designs that features a Garden tie belt. Also got to see some great shirts from Rene Geneva Design that were trimmed with Ohio.

It is so much fun to see the fabric brought to life in such a variety of creative ways!




November 7, 2008
You're invited!

Come help celebrate Harmony's 40th birthday!

Join us for an ice cream social at
Fentons Creamery
Friday, NOVEMBER 21st 7:30- 9:30 pm
4226 Piedmont Avenue,
Oakland, CA 94611
(510) 658-7000

Stop by for dinner or just dessert. Please, no presents. Your presence is the present (and it creates no landfill!). Feel free to RSVP by email or just show up and surprise us! Please carpool and feel free to invite others to join in the festivities.




November 6, 2008
suicide on the rise

The suicide (often by drinking pesticides) of India farmers is a story we have been following for quite some time. It is encouraging to see that other world leaders are concerned and helping to expose the alarming death rates. Previously, I had read that one conventional cotton farmer every 8 hours was committing suicide, but according to the article in World News: "official figures from the Indian Ministry of Agriculture do indeed confirm that in a huge humanitarian crisis, more than 1,000 farmers kill themselves here each month." That's more than one an hour! This article blames the desperation on genetically modified (GM) cotton.

These statistics are very unnerving and in stark contrast to what we normally hear advertised about the benefits of GM cotton. In the article, I learned that GM cotton grown in India require 2 times the amount of water. In wake of the impending global water crisis, this is not good news. Organic cotton farming brings hope by working with the land rather than trying to bio-chemically control it. It is much cheaper and in the long run more sustainable. After reading articles like this I am happy to be in some small way contributing to saving lives in India.

On a MUCH happier note, a new blog was recently started: Making Good. The author is Elaine Lipson. The focus of the blog is organic, sustainable and artisan textiles and clothing. I think you will find this a wonderful resource for inspiration, education, and connection. I highly recommend checking it out.




November 4, 2008
YES we can!

Congratulations to Barack Obama! It is indeed a historic day. I find it encouraging that not only the US popular vote was in agreement with the decision, but according to this site the world at large was as well.

Richard Noss of greenvision sent this touching response to the election from his 25-year old daughter, Kaitlin Noss, who is currently in Kenya working with the Maasai Community Partnership Program.

"tomorrow has been declared a national holiday in kenya in celebration of obama's win. i've been glued to the news for the past 24 hours and i'm not sure what US media is reporting, but the rest of the world is cheering and weeping (often literally) with relief and optimism. i've been out of my hotel room for 2 hours and have been thanked by 6 strangers on the street when they find out i'm american. now, that's a change!"

While we are on the subject of voting....BIG CONGRATS to Honeywear for making it into the Forbes Boost your Business Challenge runoffs. PLEASE take a moment and vote for them. Just click the link and confirm your vote via email, it's that simple. They are up against some much bigger businesses, so your vote is sincerely appreciated.




November 1, 2008
next stop India

We are in the midst of planning our first trip to India. We recently received our business VISAs and hope to have a trip planned in the next month or two. The goal is to meet the people who have been making our fabric and at the same time schedule our next print run so that we can be there to oversee the printing process. After spending most of 2007 traveling, I have been trying to do as little traveling as possible in 2008... and have been lovin' every sleep-in-my-own-bed moment. However, the time has come to see the India production process first hand. I plan to share pictures and stories from the trip with you, so stay tuned.



October 31, 2008
trick not treat

Thanks to District Cotton's blog for alerting me to the sad and twisted promotion being circulated by Cotton Inc. They have created an online game show "Do you know green? The game show where we see if you know the difference between what is truly good for the planet or just a bunch of who-ha people have made up to jump on the green bandwagon." Unfortunately, they are certainly more than guilty of jumping on the "green bandwagon". They use half truths and partial information like this lovely one: "All cotton comes from a plant, so it is renewable and natural." Yes, this is technically true but considering the toxic chemicals that are applied in the growing and harvesting of conventional cotton, I would call it anything but natural.

Although it is true that US cotton growers have been dramatically reducing their pesticide usage (partially as a result of GMO cotton seeds - yet to be fully tested, and bred to not reproduce on their own) the same is not true around the world. Cotton still is THE most heavily sprayed crop in the world. For a thorough and in depth look at the "truth" behind "natural cotton", I highly recommend (again) that you check out Environmental Justice Foundation's web site and specifically "The Deadly Chemicals in Cotton" report. I doubt you will ever look at cotton the same way.




October 25, 2008
Paper nOr Plastic

I am co-curating a gallery show at the Gualala Arts Center in May of 2009 with my friend and local quilter Jan Carter. The title is Paper nOr Plastic. The goal is to show reusable shopping bags as art and to raise awareness about plastic and paper bag usage. We are SUPER excited to have arranged for two of Chris Jordan's pieces to be on display for the show. "Paper Bags, 2007" depicts the 1.14 million brown paper supermarket bags used in the US every hour. "Plastic Bags, 2007" depicts 60,000 plastic bags, the number used in the US every five seconds.

If you want to participate, there is a $5-$10/fee and you can download the registration form here. Anyone from out of the area who wants to participate I will be more than happy to arrange to deliver and pick up your piece(s) for you, or better yet, plan that family vacation to the redwood coast and experience the show for yourself! (Note: Bag pictured by Lu Arenson.)




October 15, 2008
peaceful trivia

I recently learned that the person (Gerald Holtom) who created the peace sign was a textile designer! How totally cool is that?! I also learned that the lines that create it are from the semaphore symbols for N and D which stood for Nuclear Disarmament. Gerald Holtom originally created the symbol for a march against nuclear war in 1958. So, 2008 is the 50th anniversary of the peace sign! I think I will work on a design that incorporates the peace sign in tribute to this powerful and iconic image. Stay tuned to see the progress.



October 10, 2008
play date

Sus and I played hooky today and went to the newly opened Academy of Sciences with my mother, my uncle and aunt who were visiting from Texas and also my second cousin and her son and his girl friend. The place was packed. It took us 45 minutes to get inside the 4-story rainforest. My favorite parts of the experience were the building itself, and the food service. The building has a LEED platinum rating and is truly a work of design, environment and art. This picture is of the skylights on the living roof. The food service was fresh, local, non-disposal, veggie-friendly and tasty! Oh... I guess the real highlight was spending the day with people I love, respect and admire.

PS My 2nd cousin is Susan Adame and she is the reason I am a textile designer! Long story, which you can read here.




October 7, 2008
good news, bad news

First the good news: Walmart has banned Uzbekistan cotton! Why is this so exciting? Uzbek is known for its use of forced child labor in the cotton fields. If you are interested, I highly recommend watching this video produced by the Environmental Justice Foundation. Bravo to Walmart! This one move could make a huge and positive impact on an entire generation of Uzbek children. Click here to read the full article posted on the EcoTextileNews website.

Now the bad news: according to the Institute for Textile and Apparel Product Safety at Philadelphia University, there are several products entering the US with dangerous levels of carcinogens. They have found alarming rates of formaldehyde on furniture, car seats, and clothes that have been imported from China and Latin America. The US (unlike Japan and several other countries) does not yet have any regulation about acceptable formaldehyde levels. Thankfully, in reaction to these preliminary findings, US Senator Bob Casey is introducing an amendment that would require the Consumer Product Safety Commission to test and regulate formaldehyde levels. Please feel free to contact your Congressperson and express your support of this amendment. Say NO to toxic textiles! For more complete information on this subject please read the article in the Philadelphia Inquirer or the Injury Board.




September 29, 2008
cherish the moment

Knock on wood. Don't hold your breath, but as of Sept. 29, 2008 we have all of our regular collection fabrics in stock! Today we received the new twills and we have the wide width white sateen back in stock.

I know we will soon be out of stock of a couple of fabrics, but for today, I am going to cherish the fully stocked moment.




September 27, 2008
good news on Illustrator

If you have been following this blog, you know I have been struggling with the big move from designing in Freehand to Illustrator. Well this week Adobe released Illustrator CS4 and boy am I glad I have been slow to make the move!

Here's a quote from an interview with the Illustrator project manager, David Macy from Mordy's blog:

"When Adobe announced that we would not continue development of Freehand in the spring of 2007, a lot of Freehand users were forced to make a choice about their future. There was always a rivalry between Illustrator and Freehand, so it isn't easy emotionally for people to switch. The reality is that there were some great features in Freehand that were never matched in Illustrator and users built very efficient ways of working based on some of those features. What we're trying to do is to work on improving Illustrator based on some of those concepts, and to go beyond what Freehand could do when possible.."

With CS4 we finally will have multiple artboards in one document! Yahoo! This is something that has made me hesitant to make the leap. It appears my prayers may have been answered. Now... to order the new version...




September 26, 2008
KIVA

The most interesting things seem to be happening on a grassroots level. I like that a lot. It feels right. KIVA is an organization that I have not personally worked with but very close friends do quite frequently and have only wonderful things to report. I think this is the future of banking... the days of greed rule are over. We are moving away from trusting big companies to make decisions for us and realizing that collectively (as a one world) we can do a lot more good and a lot more people will be better off.

If you are an American Express card holder, PLEASE take a minute to vote for KIVA for their Ameican Express Members Project which if they win will provide them with $1.5 Million in funding! If you aren't a member, but know someone who is, please help pass the word. Voting ends September 29th so act quicly!

If you miss the deadline for this vote, it isn't too late to get involved with this worthwhile operation, that truly is changing the world.




September 17, 2008
milestones

On Monday, we shipped the very last roll of fabric that was printed at our original printing plant in South Carolina. For those of you who have been following the Harmony Art journey, you know we had MAJOR quality control problems with our first US printer. I am sad to tell you that our 2nd US printer although an improvement in the hand, the quality control still hasn't been up to our standard. As I start to think about reprinting Sweet Jane again, I wonder, do we try US printer #3 or do we move Sweet Jane production to India? India has done an excellent job and they are 3rd party certified to GOTS. The fabric is also produced in a Fair Trade certified facility. (None of the US printers are 3rd party certified, yet.) It is a sad commentary on our US manufacturing that I have had such challenging experiences. Referrals to fiber-reactive US QUALITY printers are welcome!

If we do move Sweet Jane to India, we will run it on the 110" sateen again. If you want to share your opinion with me, please do. I am open to feedback!




September 16, 2008
2058

I entered a writing contest today. The contest is being held by the Christian Science Monitor. The theme is: "How do you think we can tackle global warming? Peer into the future. Write an essay looking back from 2058, about how the world addressed climate change, starting in 2008." You can read my essay "Happy Birthday, Harmony"... and if you like it, please vote for it. (Note: You can only vote once.)

The prize is: "Essayists with the most votes will join our experts for a roundtable discussion about the different approaches -- and what individuals can do to help address climate change." I have always had this fantasy about being in a think-tank. This seems like a way to make that dream come true, if only for a day. Thanks for your support!




September 15, 2008
fact or fiction?

I make an effort not to talk politics... but I did want to share a web site that I have found most useful. FactCheck.org is a "nonpartisan, nonprofit, "consumer advocate" for voters that aims to reduce the level of deception and confusion in U.S. politics. We monitor the factual accuracy of what is said by major U.S. political players in the form of TV ads, debates, speeches, interviews, and news releases. Our goal is to apply the best practices of both journalism and scholarship, and to increase public knowledge and understanding."

I check their home page about once a week to see what the latest truth or untruth is being spread and by whom.

Another website I find intriguing (and a good motivator) is Earth Clock.




September 9, 2008
3 minute movie

This morning I was emailed a link to this short Cannes festival award winning movie. Along with link was the message from Lucienne Allen to "take the time to smile and enjoy the beauty in something today." Touching movie, great advice and sent from one of the most beautiful people I know. If you have an extra spare moment, check out Lucienne's web site too. SO much beauty to be grateful for!



September 5, 2008
better living through simple solutions

I love reading articles that show hard problems being solved with simple, cheap, chemical free solutions. This article shows how with a reused, yellow plastic cooking oil container and some molasses, farmers in Uganda and Zambia are solving the dreaded bollworm problems. The "pests" are attracted to the color yellow, enticed even more with the pollen mimicking smell of molasses and viola, no more bollworms for our cotton farmers to worry about.

This cheap, easy, solution shows another example of how resourceful thinking can conquer even tough challenges without toxic chemicals! The Better Living Through Chemistry days are numbered.




September 3, 2008
private tutor wanted/needed for "weasure" in Gualala

Wanted: Illustrator guru to come to my studio, spend a couple of days - up to a week training me how to use Illustrator CS2. Must be well versed in keyboard short cuts, symbols, clipping paths, live trace, etc. In exchange: private room, private bath, organic meals, hikes in the redwoods or on the ocean bluffs when not working, and maybe some organic fabric too.

I have known for years that I MUST make the transition from
Macromedia Freehand to Adobe Illustrator. The writing has been on the wall since Adobe bought out Freehand. When you know a program SO well it is not easy to start from the bottom on a new program. I have been watching Mordy Golding's videos, bought the quickstart book (583 pages!), and every few weeks start to design in Illustrator CS2, get frustrated and default back to my beautiful Freehand program. There is SO much to Illustrator that finding the tricks and tools I need seems daunting. SO... I am throwing it out there to the universe (aka the Internet) that I would love a private tutor. I don't have a budget for this, but I am sure we can make the stay worth your while. If you are the "right person" for the task, please contact me! (PS I live in the most beautiful place on earth and my hubby is an excellent cook....in case you were on the fence.)




August 30, 2008
The miracle cleaner

After years of buying "green" cleaning products and feeling disappointed with their effectiveness I have made the big switch to regular ol' white vinegar. It has been used for thousands of years for a reason - it works!

Here's a great web site that shows all of the amazing applications for this cheap, safe product. It takes some time getting use to the vinegar smell instead of pine or lemon, but I am a convert.




August 29, 2008
women of cloth aka bag ladies

A couple of days ago, I was reading Plenty magazine and came across an article about the Green Bag Lady. Teresa lives in Tennessee and has a personal mission to help eradicate the use of plastic bags. She has started an incredible movement. She gives away reusable fabric bags, the catch is you have to promise to use them and she asks that you email her a picture of you with your bag. She has given away over 1,700 bags! She has been inundated with requests to the point where she is not taking requests while she attempts to catch up on the back log. Today, I sent her a box of Harmony Art fabric to contribute to her mission/cause. Ready to make your own fabric bag? You can down load her pattern for free on her web site or watch a how-to video as well.

Not into sewing, fear not... here are a couple of other amazing "bag ladies" I want to introduce you to. One is Colleen who is a real gem. Her company My Daughter's Garden is dedicated to style and the environment. Another bag lady to the north is Josee who is the mastermind behind LilyEcolo. Her collapsable compact bag (pictured here) is FABULOUS! She sent me one and I love it so much I carry it with me almost everywhere just so I can show it off to people.

For more wonderful Bag People... check out our accessories listing on our products page. HUGE thanks for helping reduce the use of one of the most insidious icons for our disposable attitudes towards the planet. Three Cheers for the BAG LADIES (and men!)!




August 28, 2008
change or die

In May of 2005, I read this article in Fast Company. I immediately passed it on to a friend who had been given instructions by her doctor to lower her blood pressure. Although it has been well over 3 years since I read the article, it still lingers in my mind. Last night, after watching The 11th Hour, I looked it up on the Internet and re-read the article.

If you have 10 minutes, I recommend you take the time to read it. If you don't have the time, here's what I took away from it. The study was done with heart patients told by their doctors to change their behavior or die! Think a death sentence would be enough to get people to change? Nope. Only one out of 10 patience were able to change their behavior. What Dr. Ornish found is that If you work with a support group your odds of success skyrocket from 10 to 77 percent!

According to the article: "So instead of trying to motivate them with the "fear of dying," Ornish reframes the issue. He inspires a new vision of the "joy of living" -- convincing them they can feel better, not just live longer. . . "Joy is a more powerful motivator than fear," he says."

"Providing health information is important but not always sufficient," he says. "We also need to bring in the psychological, emotional, and spiritual dimensions that are so often ignored."

SO, after watching The 11th Hour last night, I started thinking about how globally we have sort of been given this directive. The planet is in trouble, global warming is real, ice caps melting, species going extinct, water polluted. Basically it is the same message as the heart patient: Change or die!

Instead of trying to motivate the world through fear and isolated action, I suggest we embrace Dr. Ornish's proven method of support groups coupled with joy and quality living. Sounds like a lot more fun to me and also our odds of success go WAY up.




August 25, 2008
GOTS labeling update

I finally was able to get clarification on our use of the GOTS logo. This morning I spoke with Connie at Oregon Tilth and she confirmed that YES we can use the logo. The certifications we receive are not in the Harmony Art name since we contract with a converter the certificates come in the converter's name. I was concerned that we might need to have the certificates transferred into the Harmony Art name but I was assured that since we (Harmony Art) does not do any processing of the fabrics we can use the logo as it relates to our fabrics. We just have to be very clear that it is the fabric that is certified and NOT Harmony Art. Currently all of our fabrics that are printed in India are 3rd party certified to GOTS. Our US printer is still not 3rd party certified but we haven't given up on them.



August 20, 2008
N-ART visit

Do you have a surrogate family? You know, the type that adopts you as one of their own? The Nartonis' are that family for me. I went to a boarding school for high school that was 2,000 miles away from my own family. I was fortunate to meet Katie and Connie (the twins) and they often took me home with them.

I have incredibly fond memories of dinners and slumber parties, family vacations and their enormous barn and garden. As a teenager they took me to my first art gallery, my first fine dining experience and my first straight from the garden vegetable experience.

Last week, Mr. and Mrs. Nartonis (aka David and Candy) came to Gualala. They now live in Boston, but we recruited Candy to be one of the judges for the big Art in the Redwoods festival. Candy is an amazing artist whom I have always admired. Words can't describe how blessed I feel to have fallen in with a family that truly knows the meaning of quality living. The love they express with each other and others has always inspired me. It was a visit I will not forget. COME BACK SOON!




August 15, 2008
How are designs picked?

After sending out our big announcement earlier this week, I have had a couple of people contact me wishing I would release more male designs. I thought I would take this opportunity to explain to anyone reading this, how a design is chosen to be added to our regular/stock collection.

It happens one of two ways. Initially I tried to pick designs that had a variety of possibilities. I tend to shy away from fabrics that are only good for babies since I want everyone to be able to enjoy them. This personal selection technique was done quite often the first 2 years we were in business.

All of the newest fabrics (Garden, Fields of Honey, Space Cowboy) were "custom" runs.

It works like this, you select the design of your choice from our design library. (NOTE: the design library is password protected and requires a non-disclosure agreement before access is granted.) You pick the base organic fabric and we modify the colors and scale if need be to suit your requirements. You commit to 500 yards and I agree to carry the balance of the run and add the fabric to our regular collection.

This system works for several reasons, it lets starting companies have a big say with 1/2 the yardage commitment. It allows me the cash flow cushion to take the financial risk on a new design. However, I will NOT add a new design to our regular fabrics unless I feel as strongly as you do about it, by working with this custom system it means I can come out with more prints more often, it also means that I am not exactly the one choosing the next release. In the case of our newest print releases we all have Hot Mama Gowns and Zen Wrapping to thank!

I am ALWAYS open to your suggestions and requests, but if you want to see something brought to life sooner rather than later, contact me about doing a "custom" run. THANK YOU for your business. I wouldn't be doing this, if it weren't for you!




August 6, 2008
Honeywear

Honeywear, the organic cotton baby products company, has been chosen by Forbes.com as a semi-finalist in their Boost Your Business Contest! There were 1,500 national applicants, and Honeywear has made it into the top 20! Please take 30 seconds and cast your vote for this Harmony Art using, woman owned company and help them make it into the top 5. The grand prize is $100,000! All you have to do is follow the link, vote for Honeywear, and confirm your vote via email, it's that simple.



August 4, 2008
Bamboozled (or one step forward two steps back)

Funny that a play on words could be so accurate! I wonder what the original origins of the word bamboozled is?

On July 15th, the Federal Trade Commission held a workshop in DC titled "eco in the market: green building & textiles". I tried to listen in to the webcast but couldn't get it to work on either my Mac or PC. I was, however, able to download the transcripts.

There was a lot discussed but what I took away from the transcripts was a more concrete aversion to bamboo fabric. Basically there is no solid evidence for most of the anti-microbial claims and in fact technically all bamboo (chemically processed that is) is a rayon product and should be labeled as "rayon from bamboo". To call something 100% bamboo it must be mechanically processed and then it would have the feel of linen not the soft flowing stuff that everyone is touting as bamboo.

There is more to the workshop than just the bamboo debate and I plan to get my own comments submitted to the FTC before the August 10th deadline. Perhaps I will post my comments so you can read them. In the meantime, the last few weeks I have happened upon two bamboo blog postings that you might enjoy. One is a familiar one which I always turn to for thorough insight and the other is a new one I just stumble upon. Enjoy!




July 28, 2008
Kansas City Here We Come!

Well, not yet. I am happy to announce that I will be one of the featured speakers at the May 2009 SDA Conference in Kansas City. It is a huge honor and a bit intimidating. They tell me there could be 500 people in the audience. That will definitely trump any talk I have given to date. If you are attending, please let me know. It would be great to know there are some friendly faces in the audience! I have never attended an SDA Conference, but people I know who have rave about them.



July 20, 2008
Alphabet Soup - the final episode

Believe it or not, we finally have Alphabet Soup back in stock! It has been a rocky road for this fabric but I am happy to say it is back. The 3rd reprocessing was a success! Thank you very much for your patience, especially Jennifer Murphy of ChapterOne Organics!







July 4, 2008
happy in(ter)dependance day

Our latest batch of organic cotton sateens have at last arrived at our warehouse in South Carolina. You can see the selection of designs at the top of the "soil" on our planted seeds page. I am very excited about this new group of fabrics. Fields of Honey is a favorite of mine and it is fun to see it finally come to life. Space Cowboy (my crop circle design) looks good in both colorways, and I know some of you out there will be happy to know we have Eyes of the World back in stock. I look forward to seeing what you create out of these fabrics and, as always, please feel free to send me any feedback you may have.



June 28, 2008
DHL days are OVER

At 3:00pm today, I received notice that as of July 1st DHL will no longer be servicing "my area". Since FedEx doesn't work with our warehouse either, looks like UPS is our only option. If we have been shipping you fabric via DHL, I regret to inform you that we need to change your shipping instructions immediately. I apologize for the inconvenience. I find their choice to tell me late on Friday, with only 1 business day notice, rude at best.



June 24, 2008
trees talk

Trees have always been a source of strength and inspiration for me.

In September 2004, the Gualala Arts Center had an "Environmental Art Show." With a LOT of help from my father, we built a solar-powered, motion-activated, auditory experience. As you entered an old growth redwood fairy ring, a cd would begin to play this recording, as if the trees were talking to you. I wrote the text and asked Pops to be the voice of the tree. The piece won not only the Redwood Coast Land Conservancy award but also the Sierra Club award. The recognition was nice, but the time and experience of working with my father--and the recording that remains--are the best reward.

I hope you enjoy listening to this collaboration: trees talk




June 23, 2008
The World According to Monsanto

I watched this video a few months ago and have been meaning to pass the link on to you. It is LONG (108 minutes), but I think this is one of the most important documentaries and well worth your time. It explains in detail what is happening to our seed supply and the biodiversity that has sustained our planet for millions of years. Warning: This video is disturbing.

To visit the site of the producers and to order your own copy visit: the National Film Board of Canada. HUGE thanks to French journalist Marie-Monique Robin for this amazing, informative, and compelling expose.




June 22, 2008
Got GOTS?

It is with long anticipation and great happiness that I report that the Global Organic Textile Standards (GOTS) finally has a logo (pictured here). To me, a logo is important to the success of a standard. With over 40 other eco-fiber standards worldwide it is critical that GOTS be able to differentiate itself to the consumer.

I am sure it will take a while for this to trickle down to end products, put keep your eyes open... if my guess is correct, this will (eventually) be THE logo to look for when shopping for organic fabrics, clothes, bedding, etc.




June 18, 2008
you are beautiful

I am definitely struggling with the loss of my Pops. One of the last things he said to me was, "You are so beautiful." I can't even write that without getting tears in my eyes. Yes, losing someone who unconditionally loves you so sweetly is not easy. My advice to all of you who still have parents left is this: Enjoy every minute with them. Ask them every question you can think of... take notes on the important things you want to be sure to remember... take pictures... hold hands... hug.

While we are on the topic of beauty, here's a great resource for finding out the truth behind your cosmetics. Beware, you may not enjoy what you learn.




June 17, 2008
the race is on

Today, we received the first installment of our largest order to date. We received the new Moonless Night Black sateen and a 60" (non-optic) white sateen. If all goes well, we should have the rest of the "planted seeds" fabrics within the next few weeks. We also (finger's crossed) hope to FINALLY have Alphabet Soup and the white denim back in stock very soon. Pre-orders for any of the "soon to arrive" fabrics are welcome.

With the new black and white sateens, Sus and I are planning to make a checkered board quilt in honor of his father, Paul Susalla, who LOVED racing. In 1967, Paul won the SCCA championship at Waterford Hills, MI. To this day, Sus wears his championship ring. For Sus, it serves as a reminder of his "Pops" and his advise to "drive your own race".




June 16, 2008
Seamless in Seattle

Congrats to Cathy Kalepo, for being recognized as an "Up and Comer" in the Seattle Magazine's "Seamless in Seattle" fashion contest. I think Calmerin looks fabulous in her four tier flounce dress.

I LOVE seeing the creative way people are bringing our fabrics to life! THANK YOU ALL VERY MUCH!






June 10, 2008
volksfaden

I am SUPER happy to report that we now have a retail distributor based in Germany. Linda Gaylord has created one of the coolest fabric sites I have seen. Her style and collection of fabrics is something we are proud to be a part of. Linda also has a blog worth checking out. Please make her feel welcome to the harmony art organic cotton team. If you are based in Germany or have friends or relatives who are, please let them know about Volksfaden.



June 6, 2008
the perfect 10

I celebrated my 10th wedding anniversary on June 6th. It was a strange anniversary to say the least. With the passing of my father only 5 days prior there was a somber tone to the event. I have to say that I am SOOOOOOO incredibly blessed to have Sus as my life partner. His strength, gentleness and thoughtfulness are a constant source of inspiration. I am not sure I could have made it through the last week without his support. It is great to be told "I love you" but to be shown it day in and day out is truly amazing. I LOVE YOU SUS!



June 1, 2008
goodbye pops

On May 31st, I was in the bay area at the request of an old friend to attend his father's funeral/wake. I hadn't seen or heard from this friend in years (he now lives in Portland) but he called and told me he would appreciate it if I could be there. The wake was about 1 mile from my own parent's home so I took the opportunity to make a surprise visit to my own mom and dad.

My father is the most intelligent man I have ever known. He understands how things work and has a reputation for being able to fix just about anything. My father's health has never been great. He spent most of his adult life in bed... in fact I was 15 when he stopped working every day at the UC Berkeley Space Science Lab and started working from his computer whose monitor shared the bed with him for the last 25 years. (He just may be the first tele-commuter.) He taught me about the "internet" when it was dos based and just a link into the public library system.

Every time I would come for a visit I would ask what his list for me to do was. Even on the morning that he passed away, he was still able to direct me to change the furnace filters, switch the gas line on the dryer and fix the leaking faucet on the front hose bib. I know nothing of such things, but his knowledge was so vast that even without seeing things he could direct me. I remember one time when I was in college my car broke down and via a pay phone (pre-cell days) he was able to direct me to fix the problem and I was back on the road.

Extremely private, incredibly thoughtful, meek, considerate and caring... my father passed away on June 1st. I am so grateful that I had the gift of one last visit. I know he is more comfortable now. My heart aches.




May 23, 2008
from India with love

The new sateens from India are almost here! This week we received sample production yardage of all of the new fabrics with the exception of Garden. I am told that one will be here early next week. I am happy to report that apart from a few minor details (like mislabeled selvages) the fabrics are BEAUTIFUL and after my initial wash test the colors hold extremely well and the hand couldn't be more luscious. I think you will really enjoy these new fabrics. If all goes well, the boat with the full inventory should be here next month. YAHOO!



May 20, 2008
water

Last week we had record breaking high temperatures. The San Francisco bay area has introduced water rationing and it isn't even summer yet. I have gotten into the habit of thinking to myself as I turn on the facet and clean, lovely water spills out... "how long will this luxury go on?" I think we in the USA take our seemingly abundant water supply for granted. After years of pesticide and chemical usage, is our water really clean? Here's a web site where you can type in your zip code and find out just how clean your tap water really is.



May 19, 2008
Alphabet Soup episode 9

Alphabet Soup has been a mighty challenging fabric to reproduce. I won't bore you with ALL the details... but this week yet another new chapter begins. After 2 unsuccessful attempt to reprocess the fabric at the printer in New Jersey, we have aborted that mission and are now shipping all of the goods to yet another processing plant in the hopes that they will have success in getting this fabric to behave in an acceptable manner. Good vibes are definitely welcome! Stay tuned for another episode of As the Alphabet Soup Turns (my stomach).



May 14, 2008
r(eco)vered

At the last Gualala Arts Center "Recycle Your Art & Second-hand Sale", I picked up 3 of these great Danish chairs. The Gualala Arts Center holds two big rummage sales a year. One in the spring and one in the fall. I didn't plan on attending but ended up going down as they were closing up. (The sale is only 3 hours long!) I was shocked that no one wanted these lovely chairs, so I decided to give them a new home. We recovered them with our organic Silent Stumps denim. I am in LOVE with them.

While we had the recovering bug, we also covered the cushions for our outdoor rod iron table set. I say "we" but the reality is that Sus did 90% of the work. Thanks Sus! This table once belonged to my grand- mother, then my parents, and for the last 10+ years it has been ours. I have always loved it, and the new Let it Grow cushions give it a fresh look.




May 13, 2008
hero worship

Katharine Hamnett is one of my heroes. Here is a great short video that features Katharine speaking about organic cotton and why it is so important. The statistic that keeps me motivated is that cotton production (field to store) employs 1/6th of the world population! Imagine if one out of every 6 people was working in an ethical and environmentally sustainable way? The potential for real, global impact keeps me inspired on this journey. Thanks for being a part of it.



May 12, 2008
decisions, decisions

After much thought, debate, and consideration, we have decided to move some of our existing line to the "limited release" section. In order to offer new designs, we have to make choices as to which fabrics we will continue to reproduce.

We are very excited about the new fabrics we have in production and feel good about the direction our organic fabrics are moving in. The consistency and the excellent quality we are receiving from our India plant helped make the decision for us.

We have not given up on our quest for a quality USA printer to work with. Stay tuned....




May 11, 2008
ode to mothers

I am grateful that we have a holiday dedicated to the women who bring us into the world. When I launched Harmony Art organic design, I didn't realize that the first people our fabric would resonate with would be new mothers. On this Mother's Day, I want to say THANK YOU to all you mothers out there!

I always want to take a moment to thank my own mother whose kindness, thoughtfulness, compassion, caring and unconditional love never ceases to amaze me. She is the most selfless person I know. I love you, mom!




May 7, 2008
COVER!

One of my fantasies was fulfilled this week. Harmony Art fabric made the COVER of a magazine. Living Crafts is a thoughtful publication and we are honored to have our Eyes of the World fabric featured in their summer issue.

If you are a crafter, I highly recommend you check out this magazine. I have 2 back issues and have read them cover to cover. I enjoyed them so much I passed them on to my crafty friend Gerda. (Click on image for a closer look.)




April 25, 2008
do you believe in miracles?

Ok, that's a tad dramatic but I have to celebrate a wee bit. On April 8th we sold out of Sweet Jane. The new batch arrived at our warehouse on April 25th. Why all the excitement? Timing a production run of organic fabric is VERY hard. The lead times are long and keeping fabric in stock is a serious challenge. The fact that we timed it within days is next to amazing. It helps that we printed this in the USA, but I am still reveling in the timing. Hopefully all the new runs will go so smoothly. (Hey, I can dream!)



April 24, 2008
too cute!

Just over a week ago, we took a road trip to Santa Barbara. On the way, we detoured to see "the babies". My brother's twins are now 13 months and SO much fun. You can see them pictured here wearing bibs generously gifted to them by Deanna of Ja*lu. THANK YOU Deanna! They will be well used and loved.

In Santa Barbara we were able to meet up with our former intern, Carol Shu. She now works for Stewart + Brown and lives in SB. What a fabulous trip... and 4 days without a computer IS possible.




April 15, 2008
secular sabbath

As some of you know far too well, leading a balanced life while running a new business can be a serious challenge. I have been trying hard to make some life/work adjustment and have recently been experimenting with the concept of one computer-free day a week. I have even been calling it my sabbath. Today, I received a link to this New York Times article from my friend Kate from Bebop Baby Shop. She also sent this photo of the creatures she has created using our scrap fabric. Both the photo and the article are good reminders to lighten up. Thanks Kate! I can use all the reminders and support I can get!



April 14, 2008
Sustainable Style

We were happy to participate in the "A Night of Eco Chic Entertaining" which occurred April 10th in NYC to promote green event planning. This is a picture of one of the tables that Danielle Venokur of dvGreen styled using our digital printed organic fabric. I think she did a beautiful job. You can read more about the event on the ecorazzi blog. Photo credit: Ron Holtz.



April 11, 2008
setting the record straight

Have you heard there is 1/3 pound of pesticides in your average t-shirt? Read Coral Rose's blog to get the full, true, updated info about this often quoted statistic. I suggest reading all 4 parts of her Fact Check series. I am SO grateful for people like Coral who are committed to honest, thoughtful information about organic fabrics. THANKS CORAL!



April 10, 2008
good green growth

If you are in the greater San Francisco bay area, here's another upcoming event you might be interested in: Designing with Conscience ::: A Sustainable Fashion Symposium. It is May 18th at UC Davis and is free and open to the public! The line up of speakers looks fantastic and I know Susan has been putting a lot of work into making this symposium thoughtful and thorough. You can visit the blog for the event to learn more. I believe that LOOK Organics will be in the fashion show. Should be a great event!



April 9, 2008
new jersey

No, not the state... the fabric. We have just received our very first organic jersey fabric. It is non-optic white and a very nice light-weight fabric. With all the challenges we have had with the interlock knits this may be the solution we have been looking for. I look forward to getting your feedback on this new knit.



April 6, 2008
land of liberty

I am writing this from the airplane on my way home from what definitely classifies as another weasure trip. Back in March of 2007, I was asked to speak as part of a panel for the SAQA/SDA Breaking New Ground Symposium on April 5, 2008 in Wayne, PA. That event finally arrived yesterday.

My friend (and artist) Sue is a SDA member and when I told her about my upcoming talk, she excitedly agreed to be my travel buddy for the adventure. Our first meeting the night we arrived was with Deidrea Haysel from Hot Mama Gowns. It was fabulous to put a name and face together and to see first hand her innovative pregnancy gowns. For all you pregnant women out there, I highly recommend you visit HotMomaGowns.com.

The next day we started the morning with a visit to Adaptive Textiles, the digital printer we do our limited release, on-demand projects with. Adaptive just happened to be located about 20 minutes from where we were staying. It was great to connect with Jeanelle again and finally meet Mandy and Larry. Seeing the digital printer first hand was also an interesting contrast to the rotary printing plants where we print our stock fabrics. I look forward to doing more on-demand digital printing project with Adaptive.

With the symposium not until the next morning, Sue and I hopped the SEPTA train and headed into Philly. I had never been to PA so seeing first hand the place where our constitution was written seemed like the thing to do. The highlight for me was the Liberty Bell. Not so much seeing it, which was cool, but reading it. Do you know what is written on the Liberty Bell? I didn't. "Proclaim liberty throughout all the land unto all the inhabitants thereof." This phrase gave me pause. The breadth of this statement is staggering and inspiring. Inhabitants means more than just white men... it encompasses everyone and every living thing, doesn't it? Perhaps the "green" movement could embrace the Liberty Bell as the civil rights movement did.... hummm.

The next day was the symposium. The panel I was put on was titled "Ever Green: thinking Green in materials and studio". One of the other panelist was Linda Pumphrey. Linda works for Mountain Mist, and she was there explaining their PLA batting. If you are looking for a greener alternative to polyester fill, you might want to check out their EcoCraft. I am happy to report that although the batting doesn't use organic corn (not enough available, according to Linda) it is GMO free!

As I am told to prepare for flight arrival... I have to end this lengthy entry with a big THANKS to Dale and Chris who let us park our car at their house, fed and clothed me (Chris' hand-me-down wardrobe rocks!) and shuttled us to and from the airport. I also need to thank Sue for being my driver and p.a. in PA. I had a ball and having someone to share the adventure with definitely created more weasure (work + pleasure). Now... for the 4 hour drive home..




March 26, 2008
hemp update

As some of you may have read on my faq page, I am very much in favor of hemp. We have been working on r & d for a hemp fabric and I recently received the first sample swatch. We are still investigating the production of it... so stay tuned.

In the meantime, if you are interested, here is a link to a good video: Hemp - The Environmentally Sustainable Alternative (Part 1). If you are wanting more in depth details, I suggest you check out Illegally Green: Environmental Costs of Hemp Prohibition By Skaidra Smith-Heisterss. Another great clearing house of info about hemp (and where I heard about these two resources) is VoteHemp.com. If you have 14 minutes check out the Hemp for Victory propaganda video encouraging farmers to grow hemp here in the USA made back in 1942. Big thanks to all the people who are helping move the wheels of change...back to the future.




March 25, 2008
Yahoo Boo Hoo

If you have been reading this journey you know I have been struggling with my emails being rejected by hotmail. I am happy to report that issue seems to be finally resolved, but now yahoo mail is rejecting my emails! This is getting very tiresome. If you have a yahoo account and you are not hearing back from me in a timely manner, you may want to pick up the phone and call me. There is a good chance my response is lost in cyberspace.



March 23, 2008
easter bonnet

On Easter Sunday, we had a lovely brunch at Victoria and Andy Thomas' house. The food was delicious, the company engaging, the sun shinning and to top it off this incredible one-of-a-kind bird hat, worn by Mike Laine. In speaking with Mike, we learned that he is a woodworker specializing in Japanese design and that he knows and has worked with our very good friend Da'vid Sipos (remember our teahouse from the LA textile show we did in 06?). Small wonderful world.



March 19, 2008
planting seeds

On labor day 2006, I was hiking the annual circum- ambulation (21 mile hike through The Sea Ranch). It was the last few miles of the hike, when I found myself in step with Maryann. We had never met before, but the last few miles flew by as we shared hopes, dreams, visions and philosophies.

Recently I received a note in the mail from Maryann... she is now producing her amazing cards using 80% post consumer waste and the fabric she prints on is organic cotton (purchased through NearSea Naturals). Her day job (Clorox) just purchased 7,500 of her cards to distribute with their new green works MomWire kits!!!

To quote Maryann, "thought you might like a look and want to know - the short walk/talk shared continues to have a BIG impact on me!" This totally made my day! To inspire and be inspired by others may be the greatest gift there is.

I just spoke with Maryann and she reported that Clorox has a new CEO whose commitment to sustainability seems very strong and real. I am continually inspired by all the signs of hope, even in unexpected places.




March 18, 2008
The latest buzzzz

I am super happy to report that Eddie's Quilting Bee in Sunnyvale, CA now carries the Harmony Art line! If you live in the San Francisco bay area and want to see and feel the fabrics, please take a trip to Eddie's store. The selection he carries is amazing. Big thanks to Eddie for taking the chance on the Harmony Art line. We hope this will be just the beginning of a great relationship.



March 17, 2008
Green Day

Having spent time in the belly of the beast in a past life, I am still interested in this sort of report from Stanford Social Innovation review. I said it back in 2004, and I will say it again... the evil-empire has the potential to become the eco-empire. Love them or hate them, Wal-Mart's influence on the movement can not be ignored. I am VERY happy they have decided to embrace GOTS. I find this very encouraging on many levels.

I still think to be truly green they will need to address the end-of-life-cycle of the consumption they encourage. The underlying (and unsustainable) notion of "better living through more stuff" that Wal-Mart so effectively promotes concerns me. With that said, I do find their commitment and actions to be encouraging.




March 15, 2008
h20 no!

The latest news about water contamination by pharmaceuticals in 24 major US cities is another sign that our current system of relating to our environment is not working, and we are still at the beginning stages of discovering how we are inadvertently polluting our water, air, soil, and selves. CNN gives the scary details as does Natural News. I liked their recent article on cotton too.



March 11, 2008
slave labor in the USA

The "green movement" talks a lot about fair trade, liveable wages, no forced labor, etc. While I was in NYC recently, I had a chance to reflect, and it finally hit me. We have labor laws for a reason! It isn't healthy to work 14 hours a day 7 days a week. We all need "down" time, family time, relaxation time. I have been working an average of 70+ hours a week for the last 3 years straight. As many start-up business owners will tell you, running your own business is a 24/7 commitment. You never are really away from your work... even if you are lying on beach in the Bahamas your mind will be thinking about your business.

I guess it finally struck me that my current work schedule is insane and unhealthy. It is time to make some personal labor laws. My first step... lunch breaks! No more eating at the computer. My second step is a computer free day once a week. If there were labor laws for the self-employeed business owner I am pretty sure 90% of us would be in jail. I look forward to these new and improved "rules to work (and live) by".




March 7, 2008
not so hot-mail

For the last 2 weeks, almost every time I try to send an email to someone with a hotmail account it gets bounced back to me. The message I get says that the address is bad but the code references my ISP being blocked as spam. I have called my ISP repeatedly and the latest news is that 2 of the 13 MSN mail servers have us blocked. We are at the mercy of MSN to release the block. My ISP's advise was to just keep sending the messages until you get an unblocked server. Lovely. Seems like 5 out of 6 times my messages come back (not 2 out of 13). It is getting very old. If you have a hotmail account, don't think I am ignoring you, just frustrated with your bouncer. If you have a different email account, please use that for now and feel free to complain to MSN that you aren't receiving mail from your friends who use Starband. Thanks! . . . and thanks for letting me vent.



March 4, 2008
on the road again . . .

After traveling for most of 2007, I took a vow of travel celibacy for 2008. That said, there are a few exceptions (things I had committed to prior to my ban on travel). Last week was the first exception. Sus and I were in NYC for the Green Products Expo. The event itself was only 4 hours long but when you live 3 hours away from the closest airport getting anywhere takes you an entire day - each way.

We had a GREAT time. We really enjoyed getting to meet friends in person for the first time like Day and Alison from GG2G and Helen from Her Design. It was also fun to reconnect with friendly faces like Sharon from Eco-Bags and Joy from Earth Creations. If you have a minute check out this video from the event.

Big thanks to Herzensart, Bella Dogga, Cotton Monkey, Buy Me 10 Flowers, and Fiberactive Organics for collaborating on our table with us. Huge thanks also to Amy, Leo and Sunil for our fabulous accommodations in the east village.




March 3, 2008
Kitchen Conference

My friend Debbie recently told me about the Kitchen 08 marketing summit happening April 23-24th in Portland. The line up and speakers look very interesting and inspiring. If I wasn't on my travel celibacy year I would definitely be interested in checking it out. Maybe some of you in the NW might want to attend. If you do, I would love to hear about it.



February 13, 2008
Call to fiber artists

It is not too late to participate in the International Fiber Collaborative. All entries must be received by March 15th. The goal of the project is "to provide an opportunity for people who enjoy working with crafts, whether professional artists, hobbyists or students to come together from all over the world to express their concerns about their countries extreme dependency on oil for energy". Their plan is to completely cover an abandoned gas station in central New York State with 3 foot by 3 foot panels of fabric/art donated by artists all over the world. I stitched a bunch of outdated swatches together to create my square.



February 11, 2008
Nice Knickers!

We were shocked to find out that our fabric appeared last week in the House of Organic Sustainable Fashion Show as part of NYC fashion week. Our fabric wasn't in any of the clothes (that we know of), but rather the underwear that Summer Rayne Oaks, the host for the night, started the show wearing. The designer of the underwear (aka knickers) is Jennifer Ambrose founder of Enamore. What a fun and funny surprise! Click on this link and scroll down to see for yourself. One of our favorite bloggers Jasmin Malik Chua made the post and also our recent feature on Treehugger. Thanks Jasmin!



February 6, 2008
survey says...

Our good friends at Truly Organic are doing a survey asking consumers about their thoughts/feelings on organic cotton and natural dyes. In exchange for completing their survey they are offering a 10% coupon to be used in their soon to open online store. If you have a minute, please take their survey and give them your input. Act quick, the survey will only be up for a couple of weeks. If you are going to be at MAGIC you can stop by their booth #919 at POOL. We wish them all the best!



February 5, 2008
As the Alphabet Turns: VI

Having left you hanging in my previous post on Jan 22nd about the predicament of Alphabet Soup, this week's episode brings some progress to the situation. The plan as it stands is to collect and ship back to the printer all of the goods for re-finishing to help solve the shrinkage/expansion issue. This particular print has been so much trouble I am beginning to think it is better defined as my situation comedy than my daytime drama. I am reminded once again of a quote from a favorite song, "nothing left to do but smile, smile, smile."



February 3, 2008
Adaptive Textiles

I met with Jeanelle Dech last year when we both found ourselves in North Carolina the same week. Jeanelle is the owner and founder of Adaptive Textiles, a digital textile printer in Pennsylvania. I am happy to report that they have recently added our organic sateen and denim to their base fabric offerings. Digital printing is an exciting technology that allows for on demand printing with zero minimums. We look forward to helping them grow their organic cotton print business. Feel free to visit their web site and/or contact Mandy for more information.



January 30, 2008
damn, denim

Okay, it isn't the denim's fault but I have to admit the latest qc issue is down right aggravating. The white denim arrived at our warehouse at last, but I found out this week that it was not whitened! Aye Caramba. Some days this business just makes you want to scream. I am grateful to report that the few customers impacted have been very understanding. On the bright side, we have consequently added a natural denim to our selection and will be getting the true (god willing) non-optic white denim in a few more weeks. Some months it really feels like one step forward, two steps back. . . but at least we are still heading in the right direction. I hear Mars is in retrograde, maybe that explains it!?



January 24, 2008
Don Kemp, my redwood superhero

Last night I attended a lecture at the Gualala Arts Center about the Usal Redwood Forest acquisition. 50,635 acres of contiguous land is now under the ownership of the Redwood Forest Foundation, Inc.. What makes this land deal so exciting (and Don my redwood superhero), is the landmark way the deal was structured... "the country's first forest acquisition by a nonprofit using 100 percent private capital to close the deal." It is too complex to try to explain in this blog, but the basic premise is a triple bottom line (environmental, social, and financial). Their goals are LOOOONG term - and if they are successful will happen long after we are all dead and gone but the deal is set up to benefit the entire eco-system including the animals, plants, and people that live in the community. This sort of creative problem solving that brings people together, gives me hope.

Two days in a row I have been exposed to examples of individual groups thinking well beyond their own needs and wants... I think we are living in very exciting times. The percolation of positive answers to problems we have slowly been creating is truly phenomenal and inspiring.




Januray 23, 2008
have 7 minutes to spare?

My dear friend Jon Sherwood whom I have known since I was 14, just got a new job as the financial manager for Engines and Energy Conversions Lab (EECL). If you have the time, I suggest watching this video and checking out the exciting things that are happening at Colorado State. When I spoke with Jonny tonight, he asked, "What was your favorite part?" My response was that the EECL is grooming and growing agents for real world change. How cool is that?




January 22, 2008
daytime drama

Sometimes this journey feels like a carnival ride, the kind that makes you head and stomach hurt. Today was one of THOSE days.

After doing a wash test on the new run of Alphabet Soup, I discovered that after washing it grows 20% in the width and shrinks 22% in the length. We aim for a 10% max... so this was most disappointing. If you have been reading my "blog" you know that Alphabet Soup has already had its share of drama. We still haven't figured out what to do about the situation...so stay tuned to for the next episode of The Young and the Stretch-less or As the Alphabet Turns.




January 16, 2008
doin' the happy dance

The first roll of the new print run was received today! I have been on pins and needles in anticipation of what the response would be to our new and improved printer. Here's what Deidrea from Hot Mama Gowns reported:

"The fabric came...and it is BEAUTIFUL. I was soo excited to tear into plastic and get to the fabric. The white is perfect, the black is super black and the detail of the print is very very sharp and crisp. I cannot wait to see my gowns in this fabric!!!! Thanks for a beautiful print brought to life!"

I can't tell you how lucky I feel to be able to work with so many wonderful, creative, patient and thoughtful people. YOU truly make this journey a joy! Hugs to you all!




January 14, 2008
greenwashing 101

Here's a link to an interview on NPR with Scot Case that does an excellent job at defining "greenwashing". I personally try very hard to not criticize others. I know nothing we do is perfect, and I know there are lots of things we, here at Harmony Art, could do better. However, when I see a well-known, national brand (Pottery Barn) putting out statements like, "Oeko-Tex is the world's definitive ecological certification process", I just can't keep silent.

Oeko-Tex 100 is a test for residual chemicals on fabrics. According to Oeko-Tex's own site it is a "scientifically founded evaluation standard for the human ecological safety of textiles". It isn't about environmental sustainability... it is about human health. For Pottery Barn to call it the "DEFINITIVE ecological certification process" is down right misleading.

With each catalog that arrives in my PO Box carrying this claim, I call them 800-922-5507 and voice my concern that they are making false claims and suggest that they adopt GOTS instead. I know Pottery Barn is a subsidiary of Williams Sonoma, and if you remember, I did a presentation for WS in Oct. last year. WS gets it... I am sad to say PB doesn't. tisk. tisk.

As more and more mainstream companies attempt to "go green", I guess it is up to those of us that really care to keep them honest and educated.




January 12, 2008
redefining vacation

Last night after an impromptu hike at the urging of my artist and chef friend Sue Friedland, I ended up back at her house for two bowls of delicious, homemade, vegan split pea and shitake barley soups. Joining us for dinner were my husband, Sue's husband, and renown quilter, Joan Schulze. Joan was in town for the "Out of the Box" show that is opening tonight at the Gualala Art Center.

In discussing our various travels and talks, I confessed that vacations are too stressful right now since my business is growing and there really is no one to pick up the slack in my absence. I had even taken a vow of a vacation-free year. Joan said something that I hope to never forget: "Oh honey, a vacation can be an hour!" She is SO right! In fact, I was in the middle of one at that very moment! Great food, wonderful people, a sunset hike at the ocean... Instead of vacation-free year, I plan to try to vacation everyday... even if it is just a few minutes.




January 10, 2008
once in a blue moon?

Today we received another big shipment, this time from our domestic printer! In addition to having Alphabet Soup back in stock (now on natural), we also have a new release Moon on a light weight flannel. You may recognize this design from its former life as Pink Moon. It feels great to be (almost completely) back in stock! Enjoy! I feel like the spirits and stars must all be aligned.



January 9, 2008
break out the bubbly!

The wait is over! We now have back in stock: Whispering Grass, Pale Aqua, Whispering Grass black/white, Let it Grow, Light Green, Vein and Light Blue. Since I didn't personally oversee this production run (done in India) I will be relying heavily on the first recipients to give me feedback.

I am optimistic that we have worked out most of the kinks and that this batch will be the best we have had to date! The only hiccup I am aware of is that there was a printing problem with Vein so we received only a small fraction of the yardage we ordered. I am encouraged that they caught the mistake before shipping. We will be offering Vein 2nds at 25% off later this year. If you are needing Vein 1sts I suggest you get your orders in asap...the supply is going quickly. (Who says fruit salad has to be tossed?)




January 2, 2008
soooooooo close

As many of you know, we have been patiently (and sometimes not so patiently) waiting for the shipment from India to arrive. I am happy to report that the fabric cleared customs and is now in transit to our warehouse in South Carolina. With any luck (and no new hold ups) we should receive the fabric tomorrow. Since there is SO much arriving, it may take a few days for our warehouse to unpack and sort it all but rest assured that we are doing everything in our power to get these fabrics available as soon as possible. Since, I have not personally been able to inspect this run, I will be counting on your feedback . Thanks for your patience!!!! We will soon have back in stock: Whispering Grass, Pale Aqua, Whispering Grass black/white, Let it Grow, Light Green, Vein and Light Blue.



January 1, 2008
New Year's Challenge

For the 7th year in a roll we have rung in the new year with gratitude. This year's list of 2,008 things we are grateful for was started (appropriately enough) on Thanksgiving and was finished before midnight last night. This year's list was done electronically with the help of many contributors with special thanks to Mary Sue, Bob, Sus and Martje.

If you compile your own list and email it to me, I will send you a free yard of the Harmony Art fabric of your choice. The real prize is the mood it is guaranteed to put you in. Cheers to a new year full of an abundance of things to be thankful for.








the journey continues... 2005, 2006, 2007 and 2009