Kate Barrett

Bolt owner Kate Barrett is pictured above in her new shop at 219 North Cloverdale Blvd.

A new fabric and home décor store has debuted in one of Cloverdale’s oldest historic buildings. Located in the Isaac E. Shaw building, Bolt Fabric + Home combines a colorful inventory of fine fabrics with items for the home and an interactive environment for the community to engage in creative projects.

Longtime Healdsburg resident and Bolt owner Kate Barrett studied art history and museum exhibition design in college, and came to the Isaac E. Shaw building after her brother David Barrett, a real estate agent, and his partner Peter Rosson bought the property in December of 2013. Now Barrett heads the fabric- and sewing-centric portion of Bolt, while Rosson oversees the business’s home décor side.

After remodeling the structure’s interior, Bolt opened for business on Aug. 29. The store’s inventory includes a sizeable library of fabrics, as well as furniture, table-top items and antiques.

For Barrett, opening Bolt allowed her an opportunity to return to her creative roots. Previously, she worked in retail management for 20 years, hiring and training retail managers across the county. “I got out of it in recent years, and I moved up here, recently doing organic certification consulting,” she said. Yet Barrett said she sought a steadier source of income in the long term.

“So I thought, what do I do well and I love?” she said. “I think I do retail management well, and I love to quilt.” Her own creations, as well as quilts from the talents of locals Lucy Diggs and Marge Gray, add diverse hues and textures to the store’s walls.

In creating a business model and design aesthetic, Barrett said that the Bolt crew worked to create an inviting space complete with comfortable chairs and a gas stove for the winter months.“We wanted a space where people would feel comfortable just coming in and hanging out,” she said. For those who sew, crochet, needlepoint or knit, Barrett said the space provides an opportunity to socialize while they work on their respective crafts.

“Even if you’re not a quilter or a sewer or do anything in the fiber arts, we have things that will appeal to many people here in the store,” she added. “We have the home decor.”

Bolt also has installed a sewing workshop area, complete with several sewing machines, an ironing and cutting station, as well as a design wall for planning quilts. “People can come in and use our little sewing area free of charge,” she said.

Barrett said that Bolt will also start offering classes, including beginning sewing and item-specific classes for making canvas totes, zippered pouches, aprons and hand applique. Eventually, she hopes to introduce courses on basic garment sewing and quilting. “You’re giving opportunities for people to more comfortably start a new art form if they want to learn to sew,” she said. “It really is easier if you have a teacher and it’s more fun if you have people learning at the same time.”

As a craft, Barrett said that sewing appeals to people for a variety of reasons. “It’s all about exploring new territory - or it is for me,” she said. “For others, it may be just doing the steady, regular type of sewing is meditative or therapeutic after a stressful work day. So there are lots of reasons why people come into it.”

For her fabrics, Barrett said she made a point of providing unique styles and materials.  “Because I have a very limited offering compared to Jo-Ann’s or someplace, I made a point of selecting fabrics that are unusual and high quality,” she said. “The point of that is to give customers more selection, more variety, without having to travel to San Francisco to hit up their fabric stores and get more offerings.”

Bolt stocks organic fabrics and organic cotton thread, as well as American Made Brand fabric in solid colors, which is produced entirely in the United States, from cotton to the final dyed product.

Barrett said that the American Made Brand fabrics help bolster the textile industry in the United States, which has otherwise gone overseas entirely. “It’s reintroducing that as a viable manufacturing option,” she said. “It’s a smaller carbon footprint than to come from China or Pakistan or India and it also is a lot more strictly controlled or enforced as far as the processes, so they have less environmental harm.” Domestic labor regulations, she added, help ensure that the textile labor force isn’t working in substandard or dangerous conditions.  

Bolt Fabric + Home is open Thursday to Monday, 10 a.m. to 6p.m. at Cloverdale’s Isaac E. Shaw Building (219 North Cloverdale Blvd). For more information, visit www.boltcloverdale.com or call (707) 894-2658.

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