every few months I skip out of dinner and drive about an hour and half to Montclair, NJ to attend the North Jersey Modern Quilt Guild meeting. I’m not much of a quilter, really, and I hate driving, especially on the congested roads that take me north. but I am a member of this guild and a passionate one at that. you gotta understand, the people in this group of quilters are really extraordinary. by that I mean open and accepting, warm and encouraging, non-competitive, bright and downright giddy about quilts. it’s like being back home in Minnesota, for goodness sake.
so when the guild arranged a field trip I jumped at the chance. I love these people, of course I’ll go on a field trip! we went as a big group to what looked like a regular old industrial zone in Cranford, NJ but inside was this:
beautiful Cloud 9 fabrics! Cloud 9 is an all-organic fabric manufacturer with an incredible ability to keep organic fabric both affordable and stunningly beautiful. this is Gina (she made her dress, of course) discussing the business side of their operations. at the bottom of the picture, on the table, are the latest gorgeous flannels from Rae and above that are the latest from Lisa Congdon. don’t worry, I touched all of it, lovingly.
and, this is Michelle, (she made her shirt, of course) who also designs the fabric in addition to working with all the artists they work with. she gave us sneak peeks into upcoming collections and shared the complete ins-and-outs of how they work with artists and what they are looking for.
both Gina and Michelle were 100% transparent about where their textiles come from and what mills they use to print their fabric, what kinds of working conditions they look for when they choose a mill to work with. their fabric is 100% organic cotton from India, uses low-impact dyes and workers, mostly in China, are treated to fair wages and good working conditions for their labor. they kept saying “What is the point of calling it organic if it doesn’t meet all three of those criteria?” for example, did you know that clothing, in a store, can be called organic if only 5% of the cotton in it is organic? Cloud 9 is not like that.
I will confess I walked in to Cloud 9 knowing that I “liked” their fabric but I walked out completed devoted to them. I’m a full-blown groupie! I was even lucky enough to get a chance to show them my new reversible hobo bag made with their geocentric canvas. I’m not anxiously waiting for them to release koi by rashida colmean-hale so I can make a dress and I’m dreaming up projects (maybe even a quilt!) for a creative mint by leslie shredding. needless to say, I came home ridiculously inspired. and before I knew it my studio desk looked like this:
others from the guild have told me they came home and got started quilting like made or designing a quilt like a crazy woman…for me, the inspiration translated into a need to hand-carve some stamps and get printing. so it was all bees and hot air balloons for me. who knew? and, wouldn’t you know it’s a rainy, wet day here and I have more supplies waiting for me…I think it’s a good time to get back to carving.