During the Feb. 21 closing reception of Vargas Gallery’s Fab Fiber exhibit at Mission College, volunteers from FabMo distributed materials for creative projects. Materials included carpet tufts for stamping, dying or painting; small sample pieces of tile for the possible construction of a table or mosaic; and textiles, wallpaper and grass cloth that can be used for a variety of artistic ventures. FabMo accepted donations for their materials.
“The main purpose and reason the organization was formed initially was to find a way to distribute and find homes for usable high quality interior design materials that were being thrown away,” said Holly Welstein, Board Chair for FabMo. “FabMo started at least 20 years ago. The founders — Hannah and Jonathan Cranch — are still involved in the organization. We are a 501 (c)(3) non-profit organization. Our category is environmental. We exist to keep these materials from the landfill.”
Almost every Monday, FabMo volunteers go to San Francisco to visit design showrooms for donations of unwanted samples. These volunteers bring the donations back to FabMo’s Mountain View facility to be sorted.
“The biggest volume that we get is fabric — textile samples ranging anywhere from a two-inch square piece that’s mounted on a card, to the largest pieces that we refer to as wings, which are large samples that are roughly the size of a single curtain panel that are displayed in the design showroom,” Welstein said. “In addition, showrooms have other materials. We get carpet samples. We get paint chip samples. We get wood and other hard materials such as granite, tile and quartz countertop. Also, we have a whole section of wallpaper and Roman shades and window blinds and trim, which are the little glittery and dangly things on the edges of chairs and sofas.”
In addition to using the materials from FabMo to make clothing, home décor and art, people use the items found here for other creative endeavors as well.
“Costumers and people who work in theater come here,” Welstein said. “We get people who build things. We have had photographers come who want to use interesting cloths as backdrops. We have had people who work with clay come — they want to roll their clay on textured textiles. We also have people who use our tiles for home improvement. The wallpaper is used by people who make cards and books and do scrapbooking. Artists, teachers, anybody who works with groups — such as senior centers and childcare centers — have come. We get people who make things to give away, people who make things for themselves and people who are making things to sell.”
FabMo hosts two regular events where people can gather materials.
“Once a month on a Thursday, Friday and Saturday, we have a selection event,” Welstein said. “People make appointments online or they can come on Saturday without an appointment. They come in and wander through our public area. They pick whatever they think they can use. They put it in a bag and it’s theirs. We request that people give us a donation they feel comfortable giving to help us pay the rent in our Mountain View facility.
“We also have our special sale, which occurs about nine to 10 times a year,” Welstein continued. “Here, price tags are on all the materials that are available. Once we became established, we became known more in the mid-Peninsula community. Now we receive donations from workrooms and people who work with upholstery and drapery. Because people knew that we were a resource for materials you can sew, we started to get calls for people who wanted to donate their personal home sewing materials. Because these are not samples, we segregate them. We have a special sale where the materials we offer cost money. These sales are different from the monthly pick up event.”
Visit www.fabmo.org for details about future events and other information.