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Mendocino is Shipping!

Heather Ross6 Comments

I am so pleased to announce that Mendocino, my newest line of printed fabrics from Westminster is shipping this week, and should be arriving in your fabric stores and online stores as I type this entry... 

Here is the "brackish" colorway, you can see the other colorways, Sunset and Jughandle, by visiting my website or Free Spirit's website...

What to make out of this fabric you ask? Check back in a day or two, I am working on a great little dress project for you to download...


Mendocino is named for the small town that clings to the rocky northern California coast about three hours north of San Francisco. I lived there in my early twenties, just after college, and worked as a naturalist in Jackson State Forest. My home was tiny little cabin a few miles from town (part of the Mendocino Woodlands) under an enormous canopy of redwood trees, just next to a mossy little creek that was filled with mysterious creatures including the tiny red-bellied newt. My job involved wandering around the forest with groups of kids, inspiring them to connect with the natural world. It was seasonal work, spring and fall, and in the summers and winters I lived in another tiny cabin very near the ocean, where from the window up in my loft bed I could see an occasional grey whale scoot by. In the summers I worked as a guide, leading cross country trips on horseback, exploring the expansive  wilderness that surrounded Mendocino and its neighboring towns. Eventually, the desire to build a career as an artist led me down a path that now finds me in New York City, of all places, but few days pass without thinking of those times.

Almost by accident, I reconnected with two very close friends from those days last year. They left Mendocino too, one of them, Domenica, has become a celebrity chef (her's was the house where dinner parties happened in those days) the other, my good friend Daniel, now works in another redwood forest in Santa Cruz, where my sister lives. It was this re-introduction last year and all of the memories that came flooding back about those glorious days in mendocino that inspired the artwork for this new line, even the "brackish" colorway is meant to mimic the rich red found only on the belly of a fire-bellied newt. Many of my friends are here, the illusive octopus and cheerful sea-star, the stay-at-home-dads of the sea: seahorses, even the mermaids (I didn't actually know any mermaids personally in Mendocino, but we went to a LOT of the same parties.) with their flowing hair and sea-star bikinis. I hope you love them too, and can't wait to see what you do with them!

Photos Below: Me backpacking on the lost coast (and with terrible bed-head), just north of Mendocino, the town of Mendocino and it's strange but beautiful statue atop a building in the village, and my little cabin in the Mendocino Woodlands.

 and of course, a closer look at  the red-bellied newt..... here in a field study from one of my sketchbooks. These tiny little dragons are only found in this part of the world, and are perfectly suited to its cold, clear streams and their mossy banks. They are extremely gentle, easy to catch and marvelous to look at. If you hold one up by placing a finger and a thumb under his tiny front legs, you will see that he has an underside that is the color of fire. It's his little warning signal, his little "Don't mess with me, Nature Girl." He swims like a little eel (though once I saw one paddling across the top of the water, rather than underneath it, and when he reached shore I could see that this was perhaps because one of his little eyes was a tiny bit swollen) and walks like a very small kimodo dragon, flashing the underside of his hands with every plodding step.