100% Organic Cotton Fabrics
For home sewers, businesses, retailers, and anyone who gives a scrap!
(and Happy Birthday Harmony Art)
If I am being honest -- I am actually kind of freaking out about this anniversary/birthday. I turned 50 late last year and now my company is 14! It seems impossible. So much has happened both personally and professionally. I have given over 19 lectures on organic cotton around the USA. We've printed over 100 different organic cotton fabrics. We have worked with over 250 companies. We've watched 3 USA printers close shop, GOTS certification come to life. Customers have launched businesses, closed businesses, sold businesses, been featured on Shark Tank. People have died, married, been born, moved and moved again. I've made life long friends and had people fade away. I've been through my own personal tragedies of my brother dying, my father passing away, my mother-in-law's near fatal car accident, my own cancer diagnosis and treatment.
I am not sure why but anniversaries make you reevaluate or give you pause to reflect. What have I learned? Some days it feels like A LOT. Other days it feels like nothing at all. . . but since I am feeling reflective here's what pops into my head today:
1. Ignorance and confidence are what start most businesses. Fourteen years ago I had buckets of both.
2. Success is short changed if you only think in terms of money.
3. Your business will always want more of you but if you give it everything every day you won't have any of you left. It's better to own the business not have the business own you.
4. Enjoy the journey there is no destination.
5. Having your life's work reflect your values not only personally rewarding but I believe is how real change happens.
Cheers to co-creating a future we can not only live with but be proud of. . . and THANK YOU for your love and support along the way.
Yes, The Green Bag Lady has done it! She has reached 50,000 bags GIVEN away! Harmony Art is honored to play a part in this grassroots eco-adventure. In honor of this BIG milestone there is a truly wonderful giveaway going on RIGHT NOW! You will need to click over to the Green Bag Lady's post and enter no later than 10/22 by 7pm PST to be eligible to win. Good luck and HAPPY 50,000!
Yesterday I had the pleasure of attending Suzan Friedland's retrospective show titled Hard-Earned Uncertainty at Bay Quilts in Richmond, CA. I have always been inspired by Suzan's artistic attitude, philosophy, vision, and execution. To see 30 decades of evolution in one location was spectacular.
It was my honor to bring her design to life on continuous yardage on organic sateen. Congrats Sue! Cheers to the next 30 years. I look forward to seeing what you bring to life. Oh... and if you are interested in this limited release fabric - Bay Quilts is where you can purchase it. NOTE: It is not available on their web site... I think you will need to go in person or call to place an order.
I look forward to bringing you more co-creating projects.
It is with a heavy heart we stay farewell to our distributor Stitch Simple. Jen has been not only an incredible partner in business but a true friend in every sense of the word. As Jen moves on to focus on other things in her life we wish her a fond farewell!
THANK YOU Jen for every little (and not so little) thing you have done for Harmony Art and for me personally.
We have been through births of children and fabric, the passing of family members and pets. We have laughed and cried and found the silver lining in many hiccups along the way. It is through tears I bid you adieu -- remember I am still just a text or call or email away!
Cheers to the next chapter for you and your dear family!
For those of you that have been ordering your Harmony Art fabric through Stitch Simple rest assured we have found a solution that I think will work very well for all of us. Please contact me directly for ordering instructions and stay tuned for more public announcements about the process.
One of my favorite things in the whole wide world is co-creating. It is something I used to do almost every day in my former design jobs working on projects for big box companies. Once I branched out on my own, the opportunity to co-create took on a new form - one based more on business development and less about design work.
Last year was a year of personal challenges (maybe more about that another time). When you are forced to deal with serious stuff, you end up re-evaluating your life and where you spend your energy. One of the takeaways for me has been that I really want to do more artistic co-creating. To that end, I am working on a couple of custom runs.
The design above, "Uncertainty", is inspired by the artwork of Suzan Friedland. We will be printing it in 3 different scales on natural organic cotton sateen. One yard per scale and then it will repeat again (see mini version below).
Suzan is having a retrospect of her work at Bay Quilts in Richmond, CA in October. We expect to have the continuous yardage printed and for sale at that event (if not before). If you live in the SF Bay Area - mark your calendar for October 7th and meet us at Bay Quilts.
I have one more co-creating project in the works right now and several ideas percolating. If you would like to propose a project with me, just shoot me an email - let's talk!
When I was considering the idea of creating an organic cotton fabric line, the first place I contacted was Organic Cotton Plus. That was back in 2004! I can vividly remember speaking with Barbara Bush (not the first lady) about the concept and asking her if I created a line, would they sell the fabric for me. Her response was so enthusiastic that it played a critical part in building the confidence I needed to take the leap of faith. Now, well over a decade later, Organic Cotton Plus continues to sell and support the Harmony Art line of organic cotton fabrics. Both of our companies have changed and morphed over time but I am happy to say the relationship is still one of admiration and gratitude.
This month in honor of our longevity with each other, Organic Cotton Plus is having a sale on Harmony Art organic fabrics. Sew Happy!
Additionally, Organic Cotton Plus also has an interview with me posted on their blog.
This month Harmony Art organic design turns 13!
THIRTEEN! Thank you to every customer, friend, family member, home sewer, small business owner, colleague, educator, environmental steward, distributor, and mentor who helped to bring Harmony Art to life. YOU have helped sustain it during the start up, our growth spurt, the market's downturn and my own personal challenges.
Although the company bears my name, it truly would have been impossible without the many, many, many people who have helped me in countless ways.
So THANK YOU from the bottom of my heart. Cheers to a new Happy year ahead for all of us!
It's always fun to get a new fabric in. This one is especially exciting for me because it has been such a long time coming! I designed this fabric over 10 years ago. I ordered it March of 2016!
Whenever I would look through my library of designs that had never seen the light of production, I would always stop at this one and say, "some day"... I am happy to say that day is NOW.
Now, the next step in the patience test begins - to see who will bring it to life first and in what form that will take. Will it be children's clothes? Bedding? Apparel? Pillows? Curtains? My mind reels with the possibilities. I hope dear reader, if you choose to use this fabric in one of your creations that you will share it with me.
I have started to take a close look at my wardrobe. Just where are my clothes made? Here's one day's tags:
My underwear was made in Canada, but the tag was unreadable. My shoes had no country indicated, at least not that I could find. And my socks . . . I have no idea.
According to the US Department of Labor, in 1996, the American textile industry employed 624,000 people. In 2013 that number had fallen to 120,000.
It is quite staggering that as almost everything in my lifetime has increased in cost (healthcare, college tuition, ice cream, rent, apples, gasoline, etc., etc.), clothing seems to be a glaring exception. By now I think most of us realize it is mass production and cheap overseas labor that has led to the concept of disposable and fast fashion. Most of us have overstuffed closets and have bragged about the "deal" we got on some new item of clothing. Simultaneously, we also complain about outsourcing and manufacturing jobs disappearing in our own country.
There is a paradox here that I am still grappling with. Is Cheap a good thing? A bad thing? The enemy? Are we willing to give up our ever changing wardrobe in exchange for fewer US made items? Is this a global economy and to fight this inertia towards cheap clothes just a losing battle? Is this the golden age of cheap? Will the effects on people and planet eventually catch up with us?
I have many conflicting thoughts on this subject and over a decade of experience attempting to produce organic cotton fabrics in the USA. I haven't "solved" anything, but this year I am trying at least to pay better attention. To look at my labels when I put on the items. To thank the cotton growers, the spinners, ginners, cutters, sewers, designers, wholesalers, retailers, and more whose labor literally clothes me no matter what country they are in - to pause and say thank you.
Here are a couple of interesting posts that touch on this touchy subject: https://www.elephantjournal.com/2014/02/why-does-american-made-clothing-cost-more/ and https://www.elephantjournal.com/2013/12/3-simple-ways-to-inspire-mindful-consumption/
Are you willing to take a close look at where you wear? If so, please list the "made in" locations of the items you have on today in the comment section below.
This isn't about judgement or scolding. Just an exploration into something we all have in common. To start a dialog perhaps or maybe just a place for me to process the noise in my head. Thank you for reading this.
I found it intriguing that during his inauguration speech Trump spoke of bringing jobs back to the USA and of buying American made goods. So, in response to that directive, I decided to investigate if the inauguration swag being sold on every street corner was made in the USA?
In stark contrast.... the vast majority of these were hand-made in America. I only found one person actually selling the "pink pussy hats".
To me, this illustrates that perhaps both “sides” do share some of the same values with each other. Do you think we should be "buying American"?
UPDATE: Apparently all "official inauguration swag" is made in the USA but alas I couldn't find any in DC at the end of January.
Founder of Harmony Art organic design.