100% Organic Cotton Fabrics
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Exposing the Truth. . .
You may have heard about the recent study that found lead residue in those reusable non-woven-polypropylene bags that are sold at grocery store check outs. In my own town they sell these "re-usable" bags for 99 cents. Seriously cheap.
Now, I am NOT a big fan of these petroleum based bags. They don't last all that long -- according to my friend Jane with regular use and washing (to avoid contamination) they start to deteriorate in less than 6 months. This is better than the single-use plastic bags which are used for an average of 12 minutes before being discarded. However, most non-woven-polypropylene bags are made in China - which means a big carbon footprint in transportation. Frankly, I am not surprised or shocked to hear there is lead being found in these bags.
BUT... when a study like this comes out and the message from their Senior Research Analyst J. Justin Wilson is: “Environmental activists are trying to have it both ways. They’ve spent decades campaigning against lead in paint, toys, and even packaging, but when it comes to their own sacred cow, they seem willing to ignore the issue.” Concluded Wilson: “In the end, retailers shouldn’t have been goaded into selling these bags in the first place. They were merely doing their best to respond to environmental activists’ demands.”
I BEG TO DIFFER! I do not and never have wanted to replace one short sighted idiotic solution with another equally stupid one especially when there is a MUCH better, easy solution!
A cotton fabric bag (preferable made out of reused material) will last MANY years, decompose at the end of its life, NOT contain lead, NOT pollute our land and water and can be fun and stylish. Don't replace a bad solution with another bad one, please.
Anytime I see a "study" that implies reusable bags are "bad" I get suspicious. This was NO exception. My first question is always, who funded this study. (The last one you may remember about the tainted bags was paid for by the plastic industry.) This one comes to us from the Center for Consumer Freedom. Well that sounds good, right? Wrong... it didn't take much diggin' to discover that this positive sounding group was actually, a non-profit American lobby group. A lobby group? For whom?
The Channel 7 expose: Lobbyists Hide Behind Non-Profit Fronts calls the CCF part of the "non-profit front groups to push their corporate messages".
"Berman set up the Center for Consumer Freedom and a number of other tax exempt educational organizations. And those educational non-profits all seem to support messages that dove tail nicely with the food beverage and tobacco industries that have hired Richard Berman."
I looked at the CCF's 2005 990 tax return (most recent one I could find) and found that their revenue was close to $3.5 million dollars with Richard Berman only being paid $18,000 for his services as executive director and president but $1.3 million being paid to Berman and Company for managing services (of which Richard Berman is the sole owner and president) and did I mention both share office space too. The bulk of the other monies appear to be spent on "educational advertisements, press releases, opinion editorials," etc. Some of the other website gems that CCF runs are: obesitymyths.com and fishscam.com just to name a couple. I think CCF should stand for Center for Confusing Facts.
Wilson from CCF says, “As an advocate for consumer choice I believe consumers should have the option of using lead-free plastic and paper bags when they’re bringing home their groceries.”
I say, "As an advocate for clean oceans and land I believe consumers should be smart enough to use lead-free, plastic-free, paper-free fabric bags when bringing home their groceries."
ok... I'll jump off my soap box now. Sheesh.
To end this long post on a positive note, "Yesterday, the Marin County Board of Supervisors voted unanimously to ban single-use takeout bags." You can read the article in the local paper here. Three Cheers for Marin!
I meant to post this on Monday, but life sort of got in the way. Although the video isn't really about MLK Jr., it does quote him both at the beginning and at the end of this talk by Nic Marks titled: The Happy Planet Index. It's 16 minutes long and definitely worth watching/listening to, in my opinion.
If you aren't already familiar with the website TED it has just a ton of interesting lectures by people around the globe on all sorts of topics and all of them are FREE.
Mark your Calendars, again!
Sus and I plan to attend the opening of Ann Savageau's project: Bags Across the Globe.
"Bags Across the Globe is an interactive project that has reached out to friends and strangers across the globe, in an effort to bring attention to the environmental damage caused by plastic shopping bags and textile waste, and to promote the use of reusable cloth bags."
The main event is Sunday, January 23rd at the University of California, Davis campus. The lecture by Design Professor Savageau is from 1:30 to 2:30 at Art Annex followed by the opening reception at the Design Museum to 3:30 PM.
Ann is a good friend and this is a project she has been working on since 2008. I am very excited to see the show and hear Ann speak about the project. If you are in the area, I highly recommend you come. Also in attendance will be Harmony Art's own former intern Carol Shu, another power-house to keep an eye on.
Looking forward to seeing some of you there!
PS HAPPY BIRTHDAY MARY SUE! Thanks for all the love and support.
Keepin' it Local
If you are in the Gualala area, mark your calendars for February 18th. That's the day I will be speaking to the Pacific Piecemakers Quilt Guild (PPQG) at the Gualala Arts Center. You don't have to be a member to attend, but there is a $5 fee for non-members.
Here's the write up: "Organic Cotton - The Journey is the Prize - learn why Gualala's own Harmony Susalla left a successful career designing for the largest companies in the world (Walmart, Target, Williams-Sonoma, etc) to start Harmony Art Organic Design, her own organic cotton fabric company. If you were ever curious as to how textiles are designed and printed, this is a lecture you will not want to miss. Harmony will share her design inspiration, production challenges, manufacturing decisions and vision for the future. In addition, you will get an insider's view on the current "green" movement in fabrics, what it means and where it's headed."
In the last 6 years, I have spoken around the country at places such as FIT (New York), Yale (Connecticut), Belmont (Nashville) and for events such as the SDA Conference (Kansas City) just to name a few. It will be fun to be speaking locally for a change. I am really looking forward to sharing my journey with my community. The PPQG is a wonderful group that I am honored to be a fringe member of.
Yep, it was six years ago this month that we took the plunge and made the shift to working exclusively with organic fabrics. In that time, we have produced over 50 fabrics, supported over 200 small businesses and given at least 10 lectures all centered around organic cotton. We have watched as successful businesses sprouted to life, and have grieved when some have closed up shop. I would be lying if I said it had all been fun and painless. There have been many bump and bruises but I can say with all honesty that it has been the lovely, thoughtful, committed, caring people I have met along the way that have made it all worthwhile.
BIG thanks to everyone who has supported, purchased, shared, laughed, cried and sewed with us over the last S-I-X years!
In honor of the new year and our birthday, we are going to once again offer our gratitude challenge. The first person to send me a list of 2,011 thoughtful, unique things they are thankful for will win a FULL ROLL of the limited release or clearance fabric of their choice. All you pay for is the cost of shipping! Let the gratitude begin and spread! I'm grateful for you!
Note: this year was the 11th year that we made such a list to welcome in the new year.
Cheers to small pleasures
This happy kelp was discovered December 10th, 2010 on Cooks Beach in Gualala, California. Except for the words and heart, this photograph has not been altered.
How about starting the new year with a commitment to avoiding single-use plastic bags? The Green Bag Lady (my friend and hero) is offering 11 Harmony Art organic fabric bags in her current giveaway. All you need to do is comment on her post and then cross your fingers and let other people know her generous mission. Even if you don't win you can download the pattern for free (see link on the right hand bar of her web site) and make your own reusable fabric bag. Act quickly, you only have until tomorrow at midnight to be eligible for this giveaway.
Did you hear that Italy has banned single-use plastic bags as of 1/1/11? I think the new year is off to a fabulous start!
Founder of Harmony Art organic design.