100% Organic Cotton Fabrics
For home sewers, businesses, retailers, and anyone who gives a scrap!
Meet Giraffa O'keefe - an eye pillow created by Herbal Animals. The fabric is a 100% GOTS certified organic cotton interlock. This fabric was a co-creation with Herbal Animals founder, Lauren. She wanted a giraffe design so we worked together to create a design that would work for her needs and then had it hand screen printed at a GOTS certified facility in India. She took half of the production run into her business and I have been selling the rest through Harmony Art. I love this co-creating process and am always happy to help people bring their vision to life.
I also LOVE LOVE LOVE witnessing the creative ways that different people use our organic fabrics in different ways! Stay tuned to our next blog post (I promise I'll get it up soon!) . . . where I will introduce you to Tamika our newest brand ambassador who has a whole new take on how to bring this Giraffe fabric to life.
Meanwhile, if you have a fabric concept you want help getting materialized (pun intended!), feel free to contact me. Let's talk!
Birth of a design . . . Uncomplicated
Uncomplicated Twill was one of our first organic prints. It was released for the first time back in 2007. The design was inspired by this flower. I do not know what kind of flower it is but I vividly remember taking this picture at the Thompson Heather Gardens in Manchester after we hiked on Manchester State Beach. As you can see I took liberty with the scale and the colors. Earlier this year we decided to reprint the design this time on organic cotton (USA) percale and in a pink colorway.
Big thanks to everyone who chimed in on facebook and voiced their opinion on which colorway we should release. I really love the co-creating process and now look forward to seeing how you bring the fabric to life. Sew Happy!!
Birth of a Design . . . Stornetta
I am often asked, "How do you come up with your designs?" Almost all of them start with a hike. I find nature to be an unlimited source of design inspiration. When I hike with the Thursday Ramblers I almost always have my camera with me and snap away at anything that grabs my attention. My most recently released fabric is called Stornetta after the land the flowers were found on. It's a magical place with fields, bluffs, cows, ocean views, a waterfall into the ocean, huckleberries, a spooky Halloween tree and much more.
Sometimes it's a plant, a texture on a stump, a flower -- really the design can start with most anything. In this particular case, the flowers on the hike beckoned to be put into a designs and I listened. . .
I have about 100 designs created and yet to be printed. How do I pick which is next? Sometimes I turn to my friends -- the ones who actually know what Harmony Art is and does -- that care and understand and maybe even sew.
In the case of Stornetta, Mary Sue and Bob picked it out. Their confidence and support of Harmony Art has been a constant source of strength and encouragement. So when they requested Stornetta in blue -- well, so be it! For the second colorway I turned to my facebook fans for suggestions and votes. They spoke too and I listened. I really love have having so many people involved. The journey is indeed the prize. Now the fun and patience begins as I wait to see what YOU create with it.
Wind Over Mountain (or Smacked Down)
The on-demand digital printer Spoonflower asked me to participate in their "Celebrity Smackdown" design competition. The theme we were given was The Elements and we were told to interpret as we liked. You can see the other entries and the winning fabric by clicking this link.
Above is the design I came up with and here's the explanation:
My design was inspired by the ancient I Ching, specifically reading number 53: Wind over Mountain. (The top leaves/petals have an image of grasses being blown in the wind. The lower leaves/petals contain photos of mountains.) The background of my design is the ancient I Ching coin (round coin with square hole in the center).
53: Wind over Mountain - Chien/Development - Those who persevere make continuous progress.
I really wanted to take the opportunity to do a design that could not be printed using rotary technology (which is how I print my stock fabrics). Rotary screens could never get the photographic effect that you can achieve with digital. I figured if I was going to do a design specifically for digital printing it should use those advantages.... unlimited colors with no per color screen charges - heaven!
I have done some digital printing in the past for special projects like a photo shoot for Modern Bride magazine or special pillows for an interior design project, but I had never printed with Spoonflower. I learned a few things in the process. Spoonflower is definitely geared towards automation. Their business model certainly seems to hing on this. See, I did the design, in repeat, uploaded it only to find out my esoteric 3" drop was not an option. WHA? I was shocked to learn that digital printing can be less accommodating than rotary. I had never in my 13 years of designing textiles been told that my drop had to be a particular size. So, of course, being me I had to ask why? It comes down to automation. To give everyone the right to make any drop would require different scripts to be written. Spoonflower only has automated 1/2 drops along with a few other more straight forward options. So, if you want to print with them you must get with their program. Wish I had realized this before I did the repeat - sigh - I did the repeat over. From their business model it makes complete sense. From a designer's perspective, I found it annoying.
I told Spoonflower I would ONLY participate if I could specify that my print only be printed on organic fabrics. I made the commitment to organic fabrics in January of 2005 and am not about to end that commitment for this competition. They agreed to my "terms" but are so far unable to limit what selection of base fabrics someone can choose. So, my design is not available for purchase at this time. They tell me they are working on it. This is another example of the down side of automation. On the plus side their printing is very reasonably priced and they seemed to have created a wonderful community of designers. If I were a new designer just the thrill of seeing my design on fabric would have me sucked in. Their weekly (open to all) contests are also a great way to get your designs seen and your name out there. Congrats to Samarra Khaja (representing the Spoonflower home team) for her takin' the win.
What would I have gotten if I had won? Well, the prize was that 20% of the sales of the fabric of any of the contestants would go to the charity of the winner's choice. Drat! That would have been fun to pick. Oh well... you win some, you lose some.
To quote the I Ching this design is based on again: " Those who persevere make continuous progress." Cheers to that.
New Designs in the Works
If you haven't visited our planted seeds page lately you may want to take a look. We have 4 new designs (well. . . 3 new designs and one recolored design) in the works. It is always fun for me to see new designs come to life.
I give the explanation of where the designs come from on each fabric page of my web site, but I thought I would go ahead and give you even more information about our new design Morning Dew. Here's the picture that inspired the design. The picture was taken on one of my hikes with the Thursday Rambler's group. You can see the morning dew being suspended by a spider web. I thought it made a lovely design and below you can see the pattern that emerged.
Nature provides me with an unlimited source of inspiration. Thank you spider. Thank you dew. Thank you for reading this. I am one lucky girl.
Founder of Harmony Art organic design.