Giveaway is closed. Winner will be announced tomorrow morning (July 23rd, 2011.)
The lovely Harmony of Harmony Art has agreed to do a little interview and giveaway here on the Liesl Made blog! For those of you who read my blog, you know I have a wee crush on Harmony Art fabrics. They are so lovely to work with. I mean, organic cotton sateen, need I say more! (Almost) all the photos in this post are things I’ve made in the past with Harmony’s fabrics. You can see a lot more creations from other clever, talented people over at the Flickr pool or the album over the Facebook page!
I have a confession to make: when I started looking into buying and sewing with organic fabrics, I was afraid everything would be earthy and brown and look like granola. (Don’t get me wrong, I love granola, but not when it comes to design.) So this fresh, mod-loving sewer was pleased to be wrong when I found Harmony Art fabric, which offers beautiful, modern fabric designs. (My personal favorite is the elegant Black and White Whispering Grass–as seen in the creations above.) It seems to me organic fabric is starting to catch on more with the average sewer, but I love the certainty that when I buy Harmony Art fabrics I’m supporting an independent company that is truly committed to being environmentally and socially responsible.
Onward to the interview:
(An external hard drive cozy I made by patchworking some Garden and Fields of Honey.)
Tell us a little about yourself, Harmony!
Well, that’s a very wide-open question . . . hmmmm . . . I’ll see if I
can touch on some of those fun facts that might help your reader
understand a little about me.
I am an oddity. In the past, when I have taken a personality test, my
results always come back as “none of the above” or “all of the above,”
but never have I fallen into one legitimate personality category. I
can be introspective and reclusive—so much so, that I often like to
refer to myself as a hermit in the woods—but that’s not the whole of
who I am. I also love public speaking; and when I am in the right mood
or with good friends, I can be downright unabashed and goofy.
I have a compulsion to pick up trash. Walking by it (unless it looks
like toilet paper) gives me anxiety.
I use to hold a stock brokers license and spent 5 years working in the
financial district of San Francisco.
I feel most sane when I am hiking out in nature.
My pet peeve is stickers on produce. I must remove them immediately,
before the fruits and veggies are put away.
I talk to the redwood tree outside my studio and refer to it as my mentor.
I grew up in a suburb of San Francisco; spent high school in St. Louis
at a Christian Science boarding school; some of college in Eugene,
Oregon; and, for the last 10 years, I have lived in the very remote
coastal town of Gualala, California. To give you an idea of how small
and remote, there are zero traffic lights in town. The closest
Starbucks is over an hour away. The closest Home Depot or Target is
two hours away. We call our house The Tree Fort, because every pane of
glass (including the sky lights) is deftly screened by trees—and no
neighbors. If you like redwood trees, rivers, and ocean bluffs, you
would love it here. If you like malls, great restaurants, and
shopping, you would be miserable.
I have been married for 13 years (this month) to someone who has been
described as a “sheep in wolf’s clothes.” His hair is long, he has a
beard, and can look somewhat like a mountain man; but beneath the
rough exterior is the kindest, most considerate, thoughtful, amazing
person I have ever met. His patience and kindness never ceases to
amaze me . . . oh, and he is an excellent cook!
Every year, to ring out the old year and bring in the new, I create a
list of things to be thankful for, whose number of items on the list
coincide with the coming year. So the last list I made had 2,011
things of which I am grateful. I typically start the list at
Thanksgiving and finish by midnight before the new year begins. So,
if anyone reading this wants to play, the first person to send me a
list of 2,011 thoughtful, unique things he or she is thankful for will
win a FULL ROLL of the limited release or clearance fabric of their
choice. The only cost to the reader would be for shipping! So far, no
one has claimed a roll for 2011.
Now can you tell us a little about Harmony Art Organic Fabrics?
I launched Harmony Art Organic Design in January 2005. It took eight
months to find a supplier and to get our first three fabrics printed.
All of our fabrics are produced and printed in accordance with the
Global Organic Textile Standards (GOTS) for processing. So, in
addition to the cotton being grown without pesticides, the consumer
can be comfortable knowing that the manufacturing process (printing,
weaving, dyeing, etc.) is also done in an environmentally (and
socially) responsible manner. Now, six-and-a-half years later, we have
more than 30 organic designs on eight different base fabrics (knits,
flannels, sateens, etc.) being used by more than 200 companies (and
home craftspersons) worldwide.
(A cami I made with Garden.)
You were a conventional fabric designer first, when did you switch
over to designing organic fabrics?
In 2004, I designed products for big-box stores (mainly bedding, bath,
and kitchen soft goods), but I was becoming more and more
uncomfortable with the how, who, and under what circumstances my
designs were created. Eventually, I realized that what I was creating
was, quite simply, pretty landfill, which was poisoning people and the
planet in the process. Upon that revelation, I began looking for a
designing job with an organic cotton company, with the hope that my
life’s work would then be something I could really feel good about.
Guess what? They didn’t exist! So, with experience in textile design
and NO business background, I threw caution (and a lucrative steady
paycheck) to the wind and launched Harmony Art Organic Design.
Have you found any differences or limitations when it comes to
designing organic fabrics?
Yes. The main difference or challenge has been a lack of printers who
are GOTS certified. The other limitation has just been a lack of
consumer awareness and a lack of business and fabric production
experience on my side. WHAT A JOURNEY!
(An oven mitt I made my brother with Space Cowboy and a secondhand linen.)
I know every interview probably contains this question, but I have to
ask: Where do you most often find inspiration for your designs?
Hiking. Hiking. Hiking. Nature offers an unlimited supply of
inspiration for me. I try to hike at least two days a week. If any of
your readers is interested, he or she can visit my seldom-publicized
and purely personal hiking blog, which chronicles the adventures of my Thursday hiking group. It’s funny, but I have near-flawless
memory of where inspiration was found: I remember the exact place on a
hike that I found the stick with lichen that inspired Pink Moon or
where the Star Lily’s were blooming in my yard that inspired
Whispering Grass. Don’t ask me what day, week, or year it was—I would
have to look that up—but the inspiration point is locked tight in my
somewhat sieve-like brain. That being said, inspiration can strike
anywhere . . . even in a plane. Space Cowboy was inspired by looking
out a plane window. I basically go through life looking for patterns,
both in the material world and in behavior; it’s just the way my brain
is wired I guess.
I think I remember you saying you yourself aren’t much of a sewer. Is that true?
Shhh . . . yes. Funny, huh? Ironic? Probably. In my own defense,
though, I think it’s because I don’t sew myself that I get even more
excited about other people bringing the fabric to life. I never have
that “Oh, I could do that!” reaction, but rather, I am in awe of each
sewer’s talent. I guess it’s a good thing that I like having “my
place” and I do not feel the need to be good at everything. Working in
collaboration with others is the best part of the journey.
(Photo courtesy of Harmony.)
What is your favorite thing (or the most interesting thing) you’ve
seen someone make from your fabrics?
This may be the toughest question I have ever had! There have been SO
many creative, kind, thoughtfully designed products over the years. Of
course I LOVE, LOVE, LOVE my Liesl Made business-card holder and the
fabric coasters (lovingly and stylishly protecting my desk from the
condensation off my water glass). If I had to choose, perhaps my
all-time favorite would be the Eyes of the World bridesmaids dresses
and groomsmen vests and ties that were used in my friend’s wedding. To
have them choose my fabric for this day was an honor beyond compare.
If your readers want to see what others have made, go to my facebook
fun stuff photo album. You can
also see some of the companies that use our fabrics in their products
by visiting here. And one last
thing, PLEASE feel free to post your own creations on the Harmony Art
facebook page so others can see and enjoy them too!
Since most of you readers here are sewers as well, Harmony has graciously offered up WINNER’S CHOICE of 1 yard of fabric!
This giveaway is open to entrants worldwide.
It will run until sometime Friday, July 22nd at night US Eastern time.
The winner will be drawn at random.
Go to this page and this page on Harmony’s site, read up on organic fabric then come back and leave a comment and sharing something you learned about organic fabrics.
Leave another, separate comment if you “like” Harmony Art on Facebook.
If you’re interested in buying some fabric right away, check out this convenient page to find a retailer.
(Do you want to do a giveaway/interview on my blog? Contact me at liesl52 @ gmail.com! I reserve the right to decline anyone/anything I feel won’t appeal to my readers.)