100% Organic Cotton Fabrics
For home sewers, businesses, retailers, and anyone who gives a scrap!
In late March I had the pleasure of speaking in Madison, Wisconsin. I had never been to Madison before and I was blown away by how lovely the city is. I thought I would share some of my favorite things about Madison:
The PEOPLE! Here are two of the three people responsible for bringing me to Madison. On the left is Misty Lohrentz, Community Events Coordinator, Monona Terrace Community & Convention Center and on the right is Carolyn Kallenborn, artist, filmmaker and professor at University of Madison, Wisconsin. (Not picture is the super talented and busy Jennifer Angus.)
Owners (and sisters) of my favorite store in Madison, Anthology (store front photo below). I am not a shopper at heart so the fact that I bought 2 things there is truly noteworthy. (An organic cotton t-shirt and a hair clip. My next post is going to be all about the hair clip!) I honestly liked just about everything in their store. They are super cute and thoughtful with what they select for their store.
Cool photo taken my husband in the Museum of Contemporary Art. The Museum is FREE. We checked out the Houdini exhibition while we were there and also had a snack at the roof top restaurant. Additionally, there was a FREE movie that night at the Museum in one of the downstairs rooms. The movie was:
If a Tree Falls. I highly recommend it. Warning: it is pretty heavy.
One of the highlights of the trip was seeing the home my mother grew up in. Here it is! Next time I get to Madison I am going to bring my mother with me! I definitely want to go back. We saw a lot but there are still plenty of things we didn't have time to experience.
Thanks Madison! We'll be back.
Ok, you asked for it... How did I end up having lunch in Timber Cove with Laurie and Tony from Sapphire International Ltd. (the makers of the Breganwood brand organic towels)? Well, the connection started in Kansas City. I was a keynote speaker for the Surface Design Association's annual conference (Off the Grid*). I was the first speaker of the week long events which is my favorite place in the line up since after that I can relax and enjoy the experience without my nerves getting in the way.
Well, I believe it was the following night, I was approached by a lovely woman who said (paraphrasing) "I could have given your lecture." Pardon me? "Truly, your story of feeling fed up with mass market and leaving to do your own more thoughtful thing, that's me too!" The conversation continued and I must admit our lives were pretty synched. No, Jennifer Libby Fay doesn't have an organic cotton line of fabric, but she did design for mass market (like me) and she left that world to create her own-one-of-a-kind fine art. She lived part time in Fayetteville, AK and part time in Bodega Bay, CA.
Now, the odds of anyone attending the lecture in Kansas City knowing where Gualala, CA is were slim . . . but having someone actually live a mere 1.25 hours away in another small coastal town was really quite extraordinary. So, how does this relate to Sapphire and China production? Well, Jennifer's husband is a mover and shaker with his own green line of kitchen products. Jennifer felt we should meet. It was Bill who eventually introduced me to Laurie and Tony over Caesar salad with pacific salmon overlooking the coast at a restaurant midway between Bodega Bay and Gualala. Laurie and Tony were on a business trip from Hong Kong and I had the good fortune of our chance meeting.
That lunch happened exactly 2 years ago today, October 18th, 2009. As my hubby always says, "You never know where a conversation may lead." In this case from Kansas City to California, Australia to China and then some.
*Note: They recorded the event and you can purchase a DVD recording of my talk and the others from the conference, in case you are interested.
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.
I will be speaking at Belmont University in Nashville on October 29th at 10am. All are welcome. The title of the talk is "The Journey is the Prize" and it will be about how Harmony Art organic design came to life - from seed to selvage.
While in Nashville, I will be connecting with my good friend The Green Bag Lady who has created a grass-roots movement to help rid the world of single-use plastic bags. I will FINALLY get to meet the wonderful Bagettes who help Teresa (aka The Green Bag Lady) bring this project to life. I can't wait!!!
I will also be meeting for the first time (in person) Rebecca, another woman whose selfless generosity inspires me and whose mission I am personally supportive of. Here's a bit about what Rebecca is involved with:
"TASSC's (Torture Abolition and Survivors Coalition) new Healing Threads Project strives to assist Survivors of torture as they begin or continue their new lives. Many of them have come from countries with corrupt governments that use the torture of ordinary citizens as a means of quieting an entire nation. Some Survivors speak little English when they arrive here. Others are fluent and held high ranking, well-respected positions, such as doctors, accountants, professors, human rights leaders, business leaders, in their home countries. Regardless of where they came from, they find themselves in uncharted territory, away from family and friends. Often times they have absolutely nothing, but they had no choice to leave. They had been captured and tortured and feared they would not survive if they stayed. Sometimes it was for simply having some information, other times it was due to peacefully marching against human rights violations, and then other times it was simply for the government to prove the point that they have the power. The organization of TASSC in Washington D.C. is able to offer them the support they need, whether it be legal, medical, shelter, clothing, support. Now, TASSC is pleased to be able to offer a special program, The Healing Threads Project. By teaching the Survivors to sew or giving them the tools and resources to continue their skills, Survivors are able to focus on the task of creation of art as an expression of their soul. It has been amazing to see the peace and joy these Survivors express when they are working with a crochet hook and yarn or a needle and thread.
If you would like to help the Healing Threads Project, please email Rebecca, a TASSC volunteer. Donations of fabric, yard, and notions are greatly appreciated."
If you know of any other "Nashville Women who Rock" please comment about them on this post. Hope to Meet you in Nashville!
Tomorrow night (Sept. 14th) at 7:00pm I will be speaking to a quilt group in Santa Rosa, CA. If you are in the area and would like to join the festivities - please feel free to contact me and I will provide you with the details. (NOTE: rumor has it attendees will go home with free fat quarters!)
Big thanks to Sue Roberts for arranging the gathering. Hope to see you there!
Founder of Harmony Art organic design.