If you’re creative, you absolutely must go to Fabmo. I’m a big fan of this Mountain View nonprofit that diverts over 70 tons, per year, of fancy designer samples from going into landfill. That’s right, it’s all high end stuff, everything from fabric (silk, cotton, linen, lame, vinyl, wovens and knits, anything you can imagine really) upholstery, carpet, tile, leather, wallpaper, and so much more, whatever the design houses around the bay area are clearing out to replace with newer designs.
Fabmo volunteers collect the materials from design showrooms, and bring them to their Mountain View warehouse to be distributed to local artists, who turn it into one-of-a-kind, handmade items that are sold at local boutiques, craft fairs, and on etsy. The distribution events are about 3 times a month, in Mountain View, and also in Santa Cruz. You need to sign up for an appointment in order to enter the distribution events. It’s very organized.
I’ve been there in the past and waited in line and then a certain number of people were allowed to enter and I really enjoyed chatting with the people around me and hearing what they were looking for and what they were making. Once on the inside, I always see people talking to their neighbors about whatever ate project they were working on.
FabMo's Textile Arts Boutique is at the Palo Alto Elks Club, on Sunday, October 28, 2018. You can apply to be a vendor through their website. 50 vendors will be selected and at least 50% of the materials used in their craft items need to be from Fabmo. How cool is that?! Add it to your calendar right now and plan on attending. Fabmo is also involved in the Maker Faire, Earth day events, and various county fairs in the Bay Area.
What kinds of things can you do with the materials that you get from Fabmo?
Glad you asked. I think they would be perfect to: use in art classes, to keep kids occupied over the Summer, if you’re trying out a new hobby and need some high end, almost free supplies, for making mosaic projects, learning to sew, making wallpaper gift-wrap ever, or lining drawers or cabinets. Collages out of wallpaper samples? Yes!
The possibilities are endless, whatever your imagination can dream up, you can probably figure out a way to use these gorgeous materials. You could ask the other shoppers what they’re going to do or go to Instagram and search on #fabmo to see hundreds of examples of what other artists are doing. I just tried that and there were over 700 posts.
I say “almost free” because they simply ask for a donation. The actual price of the sample items that you’re going home with would be hard to calculate, but substantial. I feel good about giving them 10 or 20 bucks for the bag of treasures I collect. “Whatever you feel like leaving” is perfect. There are items in front of the warehouse that are free and you can take as much as you like from that area.
Arrive with an open mind and let your imagination decide what goes home with you.
People come to Fabmo from as far away as Hawaii, and all across California, and the Pacific Northwest. Fabmo was started by Jonathan and Hannah Cranch, in their garage in Menlo Park. They moved it to Mountain View in 2010 and filed for 501(c)(3) status. Just imagine how much material they have diverted from landfill if they’ve been rescuing over 70 tons a year.
I would recommend getting your name on their mailing list. The newsletters have info about classes, distribution events, and special events.
Be sure to bring a shopping bag, or something to carry your loot. I saw one lady there, dragging around a laundry basket. I absolutely love Fabmo and you will too, if you don't already.