100% Organic Cotton Fabrics
For home sewers, businesses, retailers, and anyone who gives a scrap!
I have started to take a close look at my wardrobe. Just where are my clothes made? Here's one day's tags:
My underwear was made in Canada, but the tag was unreadable. My shoes had no country indicated, at least not that I could find. And my socks . . . I have no idea.
According to the US Department of Labor, in 1996, the American textile industry employed 624,000 people. In 2013 that number had fallen to 120,000.
It is quite staggering that as almost everything in my lifetime has increased in cost (healthcare, college tuition, ice cream, rent, apples, gasoline, etc., etc.), clothing seems to be a glaring exception. By now I think most of us realize it is mass production and cheap overseas labor that has led to the concept of disposable and fast fashion. Most of us have overstuffed closets and have bragged about the "deal" we got on some new item of clothing. Simultaneously, we also complain about outsourcing and manufacturing jobs disappearing in our own country.
There is a paradox here that I am still grappling with. Is Cheap a good thing? A bad thing? The enemy? Are we willing to give up our ever changing wardrobe in exchange for fewer US made items? Is this a global economy and to fight this inertia towards cheap clothes just a losing battle? Is this the golden age of cheap? Will the effects on people and planet eventually catch up with us?
I have many conflicting thoughts on this subject and over a decade of experience attempting to produce organic cotton fabrics in the USA. I haven't "solved" anything, but this year I am trying at least to pay better attention. To look at my labels when I put on the items. To thank the cotton growers, the spinners, ginners, cutters, sewers, designers, wholesalers, retailers, and more whose labor literally clothes me no matter what country they are in - to pause and say thank you.
Here are a couple of interesting posts that touch on this touchy subject: https://www.elephantjournal.com/2014/02/why-does-american-made-clothing-cost-more/ and https://www.elephantjournal.com/2013/12/3-simple-ways-to-inspire-mindful-consumption/
Are you willing to take a close look at where you wear? If so, please list the "made in" locations of the items you have on today in the comment section below.
This isn't about judgement or scolding. Just an exploration into something we all have in common. To start a dialog perhaps or maybe just a place for me to process the noise in my head. Thank you for reading this.
I found it intriguing that during his inauguration speech Trump spoke of bringing jobs back to the USA and of buying American made goods. So, in response to that directive, I decided to investigate if the inauguration swag being sold on every street corner was made in the USA?
In stark contrast.... the vast majority of these were hand-made in America. I only found one person actually selling the "pink pussy hats".
To me, this illustrates that perhaps both “sides” do share some of the same values with each other. Do you think we should be "buying American"?
UPDATE: Apparently all "official inauguration swag" is made in the USA but alas I couldn't find any in DC at the end of January.
Trudy (pictured on the right) and I traveled to DC to participate in the Women’s March on Washington on January 21st, 2017. Trudy is 84 years young and one of my best friends.
One of the hardest parts leading up to our trip, was trying to figure out what our sign(s) should read. After much debate and suggestions from friends, I opted for "Fear Less" and Trudy's side of the sign read "Speak Up".
Trudy's parents were Jewish immigrants. All of her mother's family were killed in the Holocaust. I think this influenced her choice of words and fuels her need to make sure we are acting thoughtfully and compassionately to those around the world who are suffering in other countries.
"Fear Less" has become my mantra for 2017. It feels like there is so much fear surrounding us that it is easy to slide into the depths of despair. Fear of what might happen blinds us to the beauty that IS happening here and now.
For me, the beauty of January 21st was that by all accounts it was the LARGEST WORLDWIDE protest in the history of the planet and to the best of my knowledge there was not one arrest. (If I am wrong about this, please fill me in.) To quote Trudy:
In an attempt to explain the tremendous success of the Women's Marches all over the country and the world, comments like "that's because women were in charge" don't really tell the whole story. In our view, the credit goes not only to women, but to the amazing number of men; the wonderful diversity of color, of ethnicity, of generations. In DC, where we were, considering that three times the expected numbers attended, it was more like a "shuffle" than a march; people packed so closely that it was rife for frustration. But unbelievably, not only were there no arrests; there were not even skirmishes, impatience or unkind words! It was a beautiful spectacle of creative hats and signage and compliments/chatting being exchanged.......it didn't matter if one could see the stage during the rally or even hear the speakers....the dynamic energy during the entire day was extraordinary!
It was an honor to be a part of peaceful history in the making.
Normally I start the year with my annual gratitude challenge but this year I am a little behind. However, I believe it is NEVER to late to be grateful so here we go:
Be the first person to send me a list of 2,017 thoughtful things you are thankful for and win a FREE roll of organic cotton fabric. The fine print: the free roll must be chosen from my "limited release" fabrics (scroll down for list) and although the entire roll (approx. 50 yards) is FREE, the recipient is responsible for the shipping (UPS ground) charges. You are only eligible to win this giveaway one time.
What are YOU grateful for?
If you want to read more you can look at some of our past posts/winners here: 2015, 2013 and 2012.
You guessed it - Harmony Art turns 12 this month! I am so incredibly blessed and amazed - My HEART is overflowing with gratitude for the freedom, creativity and flexibility Harmony Art has afforded me the last 3 years. The kind, thoughtful, caring people I have met along the journey have been inspiring and encouraging. What more could a gal ask for? THANK YOU! THANK YOU! THANK YOU!
My very first textile job was designing pajamas for Karen Neuburger (KN). One of my first assignments was to create an "election print" for the 2000 election. I was told that they wanted 3 prints that were identical except that the color and the animal would change. They wanted a donkey, elephant and eagle (for the reform party). It ended up being a huge PR campaign with all the candidates and their wives getting complimentary pajamas of their parties. KN also sent pjs to our local female Senators. I was told that Barbara Boxer liked them so much she purchased a pair for every woman in the Senate! They even were worn in Chicago down Michigan Ave in a "get out the female vote" parade. I don't know if the President of the United States ever slept in his pjs or not.
It's hard to believe that was 17 years ago (design was done in 1999)! What a wild and crazy journey this has been.
I hope EVERYONE reading this will vote in next month's election!
Eyes of the World was one of the three original designs we printed back in 2008. Originally we printed it in shades of green. Years later we decided to reprint it in a new colorway. After polling our facebook fans and talking with out current customers we decided to go with this fresh yellow and grey version. Originally the yellow was a lighter lemony color but our distributor in the EU (Pure Fabricz) suggested a more mustard shade. I LOVE co-creating and am so grateful for Monique's suggestion.
I am always open to ideas and requests. I can't always deliver on them, but I do my best to make decisions collectively and with YOU in mind.
The title "Eyes of the World" is another Grateful Dead tune and here's a few of the lyrics to ponder:
Wake up to find out that you are the eyes of the world
The heart has its beaches, its homeland and thoughts of its own
Wake now, discover that you are the song that the mornin' brings
But the heart has its seasons, its evenin's and songs of its own
The latest edition to the Harmony Art organic fabric line is Franklin's Tower. This design was inspired by one lonely leaf -- actually it was this very leaf (pictured above). Almost all of my designs start from a walk in nature. I LOVE to hike and being around the natural world somehow grounds and inspires me.
So a sharpie pen and many months later Franklin's Tower was created (see below for grey on natural 300tc organic sateen version).
You may be asking, why that title? Well, just as my designs are typically inspired by nature, my titles are typically inspired by music. Franklin's Tower is a song by the Grateful Dead. One of my favorite lines in the song is, "when you get confused, listen to the music play." The last 2+ years of my life have been -- in a word -- CONFUSING. Like nature grounds me, music soothes my soul. I am SOOOO very grateful for both! Can you imagine life without music or nature?! Yikes!
This version (below) of Franklin's Tower on organic canvas in Black and White was a direct result of a request from our customers and friends at All Natural Dog. They wanted a heavier fabric and a black and white design. Together we decided on this.
We love helping our customers find the organic fabrics they need and sometimes if they don't exist, we work together to MAKE IT HAPPEN. That's how this fabric came to life. For me, collaborating is the most enjoyable way to work.
So if you can't find what you need, please don't hesitate to contact me and we'll put our heads together and see what we can do! Often I have to direct you to others but sometimes we can collaborate to create your vision!
As my dad would say, "The answer is no if you don't ask!". Thanks for those wise words, Pops. Even though your days on this planet have ended, your influence and sense of 'right' encourage me to live up to your high standards.
Some years we have had winners respond early in the year.
Some years we have had zero participants but in 2015 we had our first last minute winner. . . Jane!
She completed the 2015 challenge with just 1 day left in the year!
The good news is a new annual challenge has begun and this opens up the opportunity for another grateful soul to win a full roll of organic cotton fabric (a value up to $750!)
For more details read our previous blog post.
On December 30th 2015 I received and email from Jane stating, "as of just now I have 2,132 thankful thoughts, but I do want to continue on through the end of the year for a final count. The count is not nearly as important as the whole work but I do want to do it up right. You are so right; it changes lives; all in a good way."
Yesterday I delivered the winning roll (she picked Vein) to Jane. She is using the fabric to make Therapy Dolls. You read more about Jane's work on her site - Reborn Therapy Dolls and at the moment she is the featured designer on our Service Professionals page. Thank you Jane for ALL you do! I am grateful for YOU!
Earlier this month Harmony Art turned 11 years old! It's hard for me to believe it. The number of wonderful, thoughtful people I have met on this journey has been awe inspiring. Last year (2015) was a rough year for me personally and my business was definitely neglected. I sincerely appreciate each and every one of you who stuck with me through my prolonged absences and had patience when orders were delayed because of it. THANK YOU!
I am welcoming 2016 with open arms and a happy heart. ALSO . . . I want to launch this year of posts with another Gratitude Challenge! As in pervious years: Be the first person to send me a list of 2,016 thoughtful things you are thankful for and win a FREE roll of organic cotton fabric. The fine print: the free roll must be chosen from my "limited release" fabrics (scroll down for list) and although the entire roll (approx. 50 yards) is FREE, the recipient is responsible for the shipping (UPS ground) charges. You are only eligible to win this giveaway one time.
We had a winner of last year's challenge sneak in at the last days of 2015. I will post about them in the very near future. Meanwhile . . . let the gratitude begin!
Cheers to ALL OF US!
Founder of Harmony Art organic design.