Shopping at FabMo has always been about as hands-on as you could get: after all, seeing items in person is the best way to discover the nonprofit's latest rescued treasures.
And, until the pandemic, in person was also the best way to get acquainted with the local artists and makers who create home goods, clothing and accessories from the discontinued designer fabrics and samples that the nonprofit has spared from going to the landfill.
For roughly a dozen years, FabMo has hosted an annual Artisan Showcase every fall, highlighting these artists. Due to the pandemic, the event was moved online for the 2020 edition last fall. The event did well enough that FabMo this year is hosting a spring counterpart, also online, which launched April 16.
A positive response from artists surveyed about the fall event inspired the nonprofit to host another showcase, according to FabMo Marketing Chair Kathy Bonte, but with reopenings of businesses and public spaces still uncertain, the decision was made to keep the event online. She noted that the new showcase is timed for spring and early summer events.
"We have Mother's Day and graduations — even if they're virtual — and Father's Day and Earth Day," she said.
In fact, the goals of Earth Day very clearly align with FabMo's everyday work, which, on average keeps about 70 tons of materials out of the landfill every year, according to the FabMo website.
The all-volunteer organization was founded by Hannah and Jonathan Cranch in the mid '90s when they discovered that samples from a San Francisco home-furnishing showroom were thrown away when displays were updated. Their effort began with rescuing fabrics but now also includes other home-decor materials such as tiles, carpet and wallpaper. The nonprofit, which was based in Mountain View for a number of years, moved to Sunnyvale in early 2020, just before the lockdown started.
Artisans who participate in the showcase are asked that their pieces contain a minimum of 30% rescued FabMo materials.
"But to be honest, most use quite a bit more than that," Bonte said. And she would know — she's also an artisan who's taking part in the showcase and estimates she uses up to 80% FabMo materials in her own creations.
About 30 artisans are participating in the spring showcase, which offers practical items, such as beeswax food wraps, aprons, yoga mat carriers and diaper bags, more decorative pieces such as pillows, wall hangings and mosaic furniture, and clothing and accessories, including face masks, purses, hats and jewelry. There's also stationery items like cards and journals.
The showcase includes artisans who can personalize their pieces for customers, such as custom pet portrait pillows and made-to-order spirit dolls
"Those would be great things for special occasions," Bonte said.
In addition to its artisan showcases, FabMo holds regular events and sales in which visitors can reserve a time and come to the nonprofit's warehouse to sort through the latest rescued finds. Though these events were put on hold during the lockdown, they have resumed, and FabMo also started featuring a selection of materials on its website to purchase for curbside pickup.
FabMo's Spring Artisan Showcase is available online through June 20 at fabmo.org/artisan-showcase.