You may have noticed that we have not posted but about 3 times in the past– well, almost three years. The sad reason for this falling-down-on-the-job is that my sister – my fellow founder, long-time business partner, and the primary researcher and first draft writer of this blog (started in 2009!), Leigh Anne, has early onset dementia. She can no longer work.
The absence of blog posts is evidence enough of my (Patty’s, that is. The two sisters are Leigh Anne and Patty. Leigh is the red head in the photo. I am the other one.) difficulty in accepting this reality. Leigh Anne was thoroughgoingly passionate about researching and investigating the safety and environmental issues of textile production and use. Continuing both the company and the blog is the best way to honor her. I have numerous blogs ready to go – even though, again sadly, most of Leigh’s blogs are still relevant as too little progress has occurred in fabric production.
As Leigh used to say, fabric gets no respect !
And, boy, should it.
Because fabric production requires gargantuan amounts of energy, chemicals, and water.
Simply through your fabric choices, you can improve climate change, toxicity pollution, and water pollution – and EASILY! You do not have to park your car and get on a bike.
Both Leigh and I have/had a tendency to report too many facts in an academic atmosphere. We don’t summarize well. I’ll be attempting to do that (summarizing) in the near future, so busy people don’t have to read through paragraphs and paragraphs of supporting evidence in order to get to the takeaway. (But we will direct you to the sources and evidence to support the facts we report). Please stay subscribed and let your friends know!
Leigh Anne and I used to disagree vigorously about many issues. Our husbands were always amazed about how we fought and fought but retained zero ill will, even in the same day. But one thing we agreed on: Reveal your black eyes. Be so honest that people trust you. We felt fine about revealing ridiculous mistakes to customers, investors etc., assuming they would know that we would learn from mistakes. Give people the information that we would expect (that is, everything). Do not interpret without supporting evidence. Have and reveal sources. State the truth or the truth in process (studies). Minimize opinion. Minimize marketing hype. Don’t have a strategy other than the truth and facts – above a product of value fit for its intended purpose, of course. Among our first three initial tag lines was “Ask for the data.” “Indulgent but responsible” and “Organic but Opulent” were the others. (We have only recently gone opulent! Thank you, John Koval).
We have never spent money on advertising, or even SEO. Our odd, overly technical blog on relatively obscure issues about completely unsexy fabric has been our only promotional vehicle. I’m not bragging about this. It is far from optimal (made necessary by a lack of capital). We will change this soon (money allowing). We think that we do still have a solid foundation for growth because people trust what we say. (Yes ! We make mistakes!)
Thank you for reading. Thank you for your interest. Onward and upward. There remains WAY too much greenwashing in textiles! Animals, your family, the planet – you can be a big part in helping to save them through your fabric choices. Change your choices. (Ask for, insist on, GOTS certified or Oeko-Tex certified as long as the fabric certified by Oeko-Tex is natural fibers).
Life is short. Hug the ones you love. And say a prayer to whomever you worship for Leigh Anne. She was and is a lovely soul.
34 thoughts on “Good Bye, Leigh Anne”
I read this with the greatest sadness, holding Leigh Anne as one of the most passionate and articulate truth-tellers on the planet. You two remain an inspiration to me. And your advice Patty, about how to talk publicly, is timely for me.
I couldn’t agree more with what Christine has written. I have admired you and your sister for years. Thank you for all you are and do!
Thank you both for your hard work and honesty in reporting the hard truth. Prayers said (to Isis, the alchemist). Best of luck to you moving forward.
I need to say that when I walk my dog past a certain home, I can always smell her dryer sheet, and without fail it makes me think of their beautiful German Shepard who died of cancer. They’ve been through a few dogs since then. Where do they all go? Why do they die? It’s hard for me not to write a note and leave it on their door.
To say there’s “no accountability” in the fabric industry is a euphemism.
Thank you for your most recent and heartfelt newsletter. I have been a longtime reader of your newsletter about textiles. I have commented in the past about the chemicals in textiles but it was not until I had a near-death experience in hospital under and following an anesthetic that my family doctor, who worked with lead came in stained glass windowmaking ended up as I did, toxic from working with my chosen medium of cloth. On my website you will find an article after doing research a number of years ago on the Toxicity of Textiles and the one comment that summed it all up for me, was the late Jeffery Gutcheon’s comment that “cloth is one big chemical bath from beginning to end”. jeffery was a quilt designer, teacher, musician and textile converter. He knew what chemicals went into cloth. He was part of the process at one time. I am now permanently chemically sensitive due to working with the cotton/polyester broadcloth of the 1970’s from teaching quilting in Toronto for nine years. I now cannot live in fossil fuel heating as a result.
Good luck with the future newsletters. I work in a volunteer capacity with seniors of which I am one and I am very familiar with early st ages of dementia. I understand your sadness and I wish Leigh well in her next journey of her life.
Sandy Small Proudfoot, Mono, Ont. Can.
I am so sorry to hear this. May you and your families find comfort, peace, and precious times yet to come, walking the journey together. What a wonderful life’s work Leigh and you do. What a legacy! May God bless you.
Patty, thank you for sharing the personal tragedy of Leigh Anne’s health. You both & your families are in our hearts and minds. Your dedication, passion, research, advocacy and SHARING have had a major positive impact on our lives…& the future of the planet and our children’s future. Words fail to adequately express our compassion and gratitude for you all. RIGHT ON! YOU ROCK!
I was deeply saddened to hear about Leigh Anne’s early onset dementia and her inability to work. It is clear from your message that Leigh Anne was a passionate and dedicated person, and her contributions to your business and blog were invaluable. I want to thank you both for the work you have done in promoting sustainable and environmentally friendly textile production. Your efforts to raise awareness about the impact of fabric production on climate change, toxicity, and water pollution have not gone unnoticed.
I appreciate your commitment to providing your readers with honest and reliable information, backed by facts and evidence. It is refreshing to see a business that prioritizes truth and transparency over marketing hype. I also commend you for your decision to change your promotional strategies and invest in advertising and SEO in the future.
I will continue to support your business and blog and share your message with my clients, friends and family. I believe that every individual has the power to make a difference, and choosing sustainable and environmentally friendly fabrics is a simple yet impactful way to contribute to a better future for all.
Please know that Leigh Anne and your entire family are in my thoughts and prayers during this difficult time.
Marcia Tucker Interiors
Patty, my heart goes out to you both. Thank you for being a truth-teller. It takes courage, time and hard work. I know how challenging it is to keep writing a blog and I have shared many of your wonderfully researched articles on my own and with readers.
I think you are on the right path to share summaries and optional references for people to dig deeper as so many skim their emails. Please keep writing. Every industry needs to be accountable for its practices and individuals can make positive choices and small steps to change their buying habits.
May you take strength in the days ahead with your sister’s illness knowing others care and support you and your work going forward.
Website https://www.themicrogardener.com/ | Facebook https://www.facebook.com/TheMicroGardener | *Pinterest https://www.pinterest.com.au/microgardener/ | Instagram https://www.instagram.com/themicrogardener/ | Twitter https://twitter.com/Micro_Gardener | YouTube https://www.youtube.com/c/AnneGibsonTheMicroGardenerDigIn *
Beautiful, Patty! Prayers.
Thank you for this letter, I have missed you.
I am very sorry for Leigh Anne. Have you heard of the hypothesis that dementia is diabetes 3? To “summarize” J one needs to remove all inflammatory foods, body care products, etc. No sugar, flour products, no gluten… Just tons of veggies and some fruit with fish. Same diet I am on to deal with leukemia, and it is very filling. AND, tons of prayer.
There is something to learn from Leigh Anne’s problem. We must Listen.
I am so very sorry. I am thankful I could get information from and purchase materials from the two of you. Your work is important and valued – so sorry that Leigh Anne can no longer be an active participant.
I am truly sorry to hear this. I have read and enjoyed and learned from your emails for years. Onwards and up wards! Jonathan X
Dear Patty and Leign Anne, Patty, you visited us at the University of Nebraska, not sure when, maybe 2011 or 2012. I loved meeting you and I want to wish you and your sister the very best in coping with all the future is bringing to you. I know you will find the strength and compassion to go on in your reconfigured relationship, as this message tells.
Wendy Weiss Professor Emerita of Textile Design University of Nebraska http://wendyweiss.org/
I love reading your posts. So sorry to hear about Leigh anne
I wish you all the best in your fight and appreciate your wisdom.
I was so sad to read this, Patty.
I’ve relished your insightful writing over the years. I lost my father (a scientist, musician and consummate polymath) to dementia. It was a tragedy. As is your situation.
with best wishes
div>this message has floated to you
Thank you for the email. I have been a subscriber for more than 10 years and appreciate your efforts.
All the best to you and the family.
Please drop me an email as I would like to engage on ‘nylon/polyamide’ in the lingerie market.
What happens to it when users are dispose of them? There is no ‘true’ recycling of this fibre.
THANK YOU both for your amazing work. You are beautiful souls and I pray things unfold in the gentlest way possible, despite the emotional hardship.
Sending you much love and hugs
I am so sorry to read the news about Leigh Anne. I wish you and her all the best as you navigate her journey. My younger brother has early onset dementia so I have some sense of the sad scope of this disease.
Please don’t hesitate to contact me if I can help you with editing. Every time I’ve read one of your posts I have not only been informed but inspired. I would be happy.
Kind regards, Sarah Kelley
Sent from my iPad
Bless you both. My sister and are exactly the same – instant forgiveness after a hearty discussion.
My prayers for you both – in natural textile
Thank you for sharing. I’m so sorry about your sister! All the best to her, and to to you too! If possible, please keep up your good work! We all need it. Thanks!
So sorry to hear about Leigh Anne’s diagnosis. I do look forward to future blogs technical or not.
We are very sorry to hear of Leigh Anne’s condition, hope she is well and content, otherwise.
I love the technical writing of textiles issues, so hope you don’t summarize too much in future blogs!
We are still plugging away at fiber flax projects and just hosted a Flax Growers workshop yesterday by zoom as the kick off to a year of seminars for how to grow fiber. We will have five visits to demonstration fields in Oregon over the season.
It is the first project of the North American Linen Association, established in late 2021. We have just opened membership for the organization and would love for OEcotextiles to join! Please see the membership page here:
Wishing you all the best,
Angela Wartes-Kahl Fibrevolution Inc firstname.lastname@example.org http://www.fibre-evolution.com 541-602-6012
Hod bless her soul
May God bless her lovely soul
Much love to you in this difficult time. Thank you for your amazing newsletters on very important topics.
so sad for the two of you, my very special textiles heroes. best wishes and strength to carry on regardless.
I have been an enthusiastic reader of your unique and intelligent articles for years, and was truly sorry to learn of Leigh Anne’s condition. The two of you have had an enviable relationship. I am also glad to know you have the courage to continue the textile battle.
I have recommended your newsletter to my more avid students because nothing quite like it exists elsewhere on the internet. And the greenwashing continues, with polyester (and other synthetics with limited recycling possibilities) crazily taking a larger share of the market each and every year. We need your brave and bold articles — and your fabrics still!
Positive energy to you both and best wishes in finding your new balance ✨
I am sorry to read this. Wishing you both the very best for the future. Nancy Wheeler
Dear Patty & Leigh Anne
So sad to hear the news about Leigh Anne’s dementia. It is a cruel illness.
I hope that she at least is in good spirit and will not suffer from the downside of this illness; the angry and black side of it. I hope that she will be happy with a bright mind.
I am so happy that you will continue the blog post.
Yes I have noticed that there has been silence for quite long time. But it is really happy news that you will continue the work in the future.
I have to say that even your blogs has been with many details, academic atmosphere, it has challenged me to really read everything very carefully and take the time to try to fully understand every word.
It has been very useful for me.
I will be looking forward to your next post.
Meanwhile, do take care and send my utmost best regards to your sister. Thank you so much for the hard and very important work she has made and contributed with.
The work the two of you have made is so very important.
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Dear Patty & Leigh Anne, Thank you for being the amazing women that you are!! My heart goes out to you both with many prayers. Huge thank you for all you have done towards transforming textiles, providing exquisite & safe options, educating the industry and being a light in a tunnel of toxicity. You are warriors, thank you for all your amazing, detailed, informative and comprehensive hard work. Sending you loving energy and warm hugs, your friend Annette
Patty, Thank you so much for sharing. I know it is a difficult to watch a loved one’s abilities decline and then after a while their personalities change.I know you will play Leigh Anne’s favorite music, make special, labeled photo albums for her, and perhaps she will eventually want to just “handle the fabrics” as they will be familiar to her.
I thank you both for your posts on textiles; I have learned so much about the textiles and their manufacturing processes. I try to base my purchases on the information you have shared and I am spreading the word about the toxicity in textile manufacturing to any one who will listen.
Thank you Leigh Anne,
Your contributions have been well appreciated. Just letting you know we feel for you both way down-under in Australia and think the combined work you have both done is a great resource and lovely to have such integrity and transparency in your work.
You can see some of our fairly simple resources here… https://srd.org.au/fashion/ and then recently to help nurture a genuinely ‘Responsible Living Economy’ read our international conference paper then share your input: “Responsible Design is the Apex Design Mode to create our sustainable future” https://bit.ly/ResponsibleDesignIsApexDesignMode
Kind Regards, Greg Campbell
DesignOz m: +61 417 289 601 http://www.designoz.com.au http://www.designoz.com.au/ (temp site) SRD Charity Chairman 2022-23 / SRD Convenor 2005-23 / founder SRD Change National / creator SRDpro 2019 / Frank Fenner Foundation board member 2017-2022 / Founding Design and Communications manager 2016-2018 for Young Persons’ Plan for the Planet Program . . . . . . . . . . . . Society for Responsible Design Inc. (ACNC Charity SRD) https://srd.org.au https://srd.org.au/ https://linktr.ee/SRDchange
Dear Patty, Good luck with everything and hugs for Leigh Anne. I am so sorry to hear about her dementia. Even without such extra challenges, It is certainly not easy to communicate such complex issues as we try to take on… (avoidable risks to health in particular in my case) Don’t give up. It is important! best, Rachel
*** Rachel Aronoff, PhD
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