Harmony Art Interview and Giveaway!

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:
External Hard Drive Cozy
(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.

Organic Garden Cami.
(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!

For Dan
(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.

Entry Rules

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.

Be sure to browse around the Harmony Art website, check out the prints currently offered and the ones in the works. Or swing by Harmony’s blog and say Hi!

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.)


30 Responses to “Harmony Art Interview and Giveaway!”

  1. 1 Rachel at Stitched in Color July 18, 2011 at 10:57 am

    I am completely amazed every time I read about how much pesticides are required to grown conventional cotton. It has been my pleasure to have some experience with Harmony Arts. Their fabrics are so soft!

  2. 2 Cara July 18, 2011 at 7:33 pm

    I am amazed at the havoc created in conventional organic cotton farmers’ lives. The use of the pesticides causes them major health problems, and the financial burden causes many of them to commit suicide. Even if you don’t care about the harm that conventional cotton production is causing to the earth and her waterways, perhaps some attention should be paid to the high cost to humans that saving a few bucks per yard creates. Thank you Harmony Art for bringing all this and more to my attention.

  3. 3 Deidrea July 18, 2011 at 7:34 pm

    Harmony!!! I NEVER tire of reading about you, your life, the path that led you to Harmony Art or the change you are in the world!! I truly feel like I get to know you a little better (and love you a lot more!) every time I read about you! I LOVE that about business…we are SO much more than just businesses existing..we are the thoughtful individuals behind the businesses…WE are what makes our businesses ROCK (well, us and Harmony Art fabric!!)! And I am SO excited to have found Liesl Made; I fear my wallet may be lighter after I have time to peruse your beautiful things!! Thanks so much for brining more Harmony to us!

  4. 4 Denise July 18, 2011 at 7:52 pm

    Well, after I read this article and all the others to my very “green” daughter she really loves the fact that organic cotton don’t use all the toxic chemicals in the growing and making! She only wants to use organic cotton from now on! I’m with her! Way to go Harmony! Thank you for helping our earth and keeping it beautiful with your wonderful organic fabrics!

  5. 5 robin July 18, 2011 at 8:23 pm

    I learned about aldicarb, a deadly pesticide used in regular cotton production. Ew! Aldicarb is not used in the production of organic fabrics. :)

  6. 6 robin July 18, 2011 at 8:24 pm

    I like Harmony on Facebook! :)

  7. 7 Beth Lucas July 18, 2011 at 8:55 pm

    I love that because you couldn’t find a company to work for who shared your views and concerns you went and made that company–and comittment–yourself. That is truly inspiring.

  8. 8 Nancy Kowardy July 18, 2011 at 9:09 pm

    “A single drop of the pesticide, aldicarb, absorbed through the skin can kill an adult.”
    wow….I have read all this before but it never ceases to sicken and shock me.

    I have been using Harmony’s amazing inspiring fabrics since the very start of Harmony Art and LOVELOVELOVE her and her work!!!
    I am already a fan on FB. great article Leisl!(and love your work !)

  9. 9 Cindy July 18, 2011 at 9:24 pm

    Harmony’s mix of creative desire and environmental responsibility give me the impetus to do greater in my world. Her fabrics are amazing and inspiring! They come to life knowing, in essence, that they come from life. Thanks to her the world is a more beautiful place.

  10. 10 Lorrie July 18, 2011 at 9:24 pm

    What a breath of fresh air! I am so glad you did this interview with Harmony. It truly is fun to see how she brings her passion to everyone around her, and changes the world, one person at a time!

  11. 11 Lorrie July 18, 2011 at 9:31 pm

    By the way, I love all the samples you posted of things you’ve made with Harmony Art fabrics. You are really talented!

  12. 12 conni young July 18, 2011 at 9:56 pm

    Working in an eco-chic children’s boutique, I am familiar with the hazards of conventional cotton. Even moreso than the environmental havoc, I believe in organic cotton because it is the safe choice for my family and those who work in the cotton fields. I have searched for a long time for yummy, colorful organic cotton fabrics, and I was beginning to think they didn’t exist… Now I know!

    • 13 Harmony July 18, 2011 at 10:50 pm

      Thanks for finding us! There are more and more colorful, fun organic cotton fabrics on the market each day. You might also want to check out daisy janie, cloud 9, mod green pod, and birch fabrics… oh and Amy Butler is releasing organic prints later this summer.

  13. 14 Green Bag Lady Teresa July 18, 2011 at 11:58 pm

    Great interview! I have heard Harmony speak about organic cotton as well as read her site. It is unbelievable that practices like this go on in what we call modern civilization!

    Not only is Harmony’s fabric wonderful, she is one of the warmest people I know! Thanks for the interview!

  14. 15 Green Bag Lady Teresa July 19, 2011 at 12:00 am

    BTW, I’m doing a freebie involving Harmony’s fabric right now too!


  15. 16 Carla G July 19, 2011 at 12:33 am

    Wow! I can’t believe all the chemicals that is used to grow conventional cotton. Why would they use such products to harm the environment & hurt people… I’ll be looking for some organic cotton at my quilt store.

  16. 17 Carla G July 19, 2011 at 12:37 am

    I like Harmony Art on Facebook!

  17. 18 littlefoxesdesigns July 19, 2011 at 2:06 am

    I always enjoy the dresses you have made using Harmony fabric. It is amazing how many pesticides are used growing cotton. Growing up I always thought cotton was the safest and best choice, but than I heard about how much they are sprayed. Organic cottons make so much sense and I love all the amazing patterns they have available.
    Have a lovely day.

  18. 19 littlefoxesdesigns July 19, 2011 at 2:11 am

    I also liked them on Facebook
    The pattern choices are just so lovely:)

  19. 20 Kathy July 19, 2011 at 9:40 am

    I think it’s interesting that “ordinary” things like cornstarch and peroxide can be used in place of toxic materials…. seems so easy to make the switch! Thanks for educating me and for the chance to win a bit of one of these lovely fabrics.

  20. 21 ikkinlala July 19, 2011 at 9:41 am

    I learned that cornstarch is sometimes used to stabilize the warp fibres for organic fabrics. I knew quite a lot about the toxins that are used to grow conventional cotton, but it was interesting to see just how many steps in the process differ for the organic.

  21. 22 Chip Brannan July 20, 2011 at 3:05 pm

    Harmony, the passion and spirit that you express for your beliefs are inspriational. Everyone should find their purpose in life and fulfill it no matter what stage they are at. By taking your belief system and starting your own company you embody that purpose. Great inspirational interview… You don’t have to do all things within your chosen position to be great at it. All business owners should learn this. It’s empowering to those that work for us and with us to feel your support and appreciation for their creativity and work.

  22. 23 Cass July 20, 2011 at 9:21 pm

    I am sickened by the thought of all those chemicals going onto the cotton that becomes my children’s clothing. This information has greatly opened my eyes to the benefits of organic cotton and I will shop for fabric differently in the future. Thanks for the learning opportunity.

  23. 24 sleepyheadedmom July 21, 2011 at 11:27 am

    I knew that chemicals were used such as insecticides, but I had no clue there were that many chemicals. Kinda scary. I guess we fail to realize such things especially when things like cotton are marketed as natural. It’s natural to start with but there is nothing natural about how the get to a finished product.

    sleepyheadedmom at gmail dot com

  24. 25 Andrea July 22, 2011 at 11:17 am

    Wow. Thank you for all of the information. I had no idea that cotton growing is such an environmentally hazardous business. Thank you for the education. I will pass the word and try my best to only by organic cotton.

  25. 26 Melissa July 22, 2011 at 2:55 pm

    It’s scary to think that one drop of aldicarb can kill an adult. I never knew how many pesticides were used in growing cotton. Just assumed it was safe. Wow!!

  26. 27 Andrea July 22, 2011 at 5:32 pm

    I ‘like’ Harmony Art Organic Designa on Facebook! Thanks again for the giveaway!

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