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Meet Cathe Holden, Moda's Newest Designer

Meet Cathe Holden, Moda's Newest Designer

Written by: 
Linzee McCray

Whether she’s making assemblage art from vintage labels and keys, or repurposing a toy truck to hold clamps and scissors, Cathe Holden isn’t afraid to follow her instincts. And the latest place those instincts have led is to designing a line of Moda fabric.

Cathe Holden Toy Truck

You may know Cathe from one of a multitude of arenas: she’s been a contributing editor at Country Living and Molly Makes and her Inspired Barn renovation was featured in both those magazines, plus Where Women Create and Cloth Paper Scissors.

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She’s designed logos and packaging for the food and wine industry, including a line of 48 stencils.

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And she is the author of Rosette Art, published by Chronicle Books. And now she’ll be working her magic at Moda with her first line of fabric, Flea Market Mix, which you’ll find in stores in May.

The detail in the fabric is ultra-crisp, fine lines of text are clearly defined.  “The details are ridiculous!” says Cathe, marveling at the sharp renderings of intricately carved and molded buttons, florals sourced from antique trade cards, and collages created with the ephemera she collects and combines.

Cathe Holden Flea Market Mix Fabrics

Flea Market Mix reflects Cathe’s love of sifting through bins and tables at outdoor rummage sales near her northern California home for just the right pieces to bring a project to life.

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What started as a way to save money when she was home with her young children became the basis of her art. Her creative space contains oodles of just the right pieces to bring a project to life, but they all have a place.

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“You have to be super diligent about organizing,” she says with a laugh. “I enjoy the treasure hunting and collecting part, but once or twice a year I take things to a friend or to donate.”

The pieces she keeps become fabric collages, lampshades, and raw material for the workshop retreats she offers four to eight times yearly at her Inspired Barn.

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Most are day-long, but her recent two-day retreats enabled participants to spend more time on projects, visit a local thrifting site, and even venture out of the barn to visit the sheep Cathe and her husband raise on their one-acre property.

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“My husband had market lambs when I met him 30 years ago, and we’ve had them for the past 21 years,” says Cathe, who describes herself initially as a “reluctant country girl” but now loves living on the outskirts of Petaluma, where she and her husband, a retired fire battalion chief, raised their three children - their son is also a fire fighter and one daughter is an EMT.

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Growing up, Cathe lived mostly in Colorado Springs until she was 13, when they landed in Springfield, Missouri.  She remembers crafting with the office supplies and paper samples her parents brought home from their jobs, as well as incorporating items she’d find in alleys. “Today you’d equate it with assemblage art,” she says. Though she also sewed her own clothing and made things for her home and for gifts, she’s only made one quilt. She’s looking forward to seeing quilts stitched from her fabric, but Flea Market Mix also reflects her love of small projects. “There’s so much you can do with it—applique, bags and totes, dimensional crafts,” she says. The lampshades are covered with her fabric and here's an example of some wired leaves Cathe made with it. “Fabric was always very exciting to me and whenever I’d go and look at it, Moda was always my favorite.”

Cathe Holden Lampshades

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Cathe Holden Flea Market Mix Garment

While she’s obviously incredibly and diversely talented, there’s one more thing about Cathe that provides a vivid demonstration of the way she trusts her instincts: touched by an article she read about the shortage of donor organs, she decided two years ago to donate a kidney to a stranger, and her daughter did the same. Today she is an ambassador for Donate Life. “When I read what I read, I didn’t expect it to be a call to action,” she says. “Now it’s a big deal to me to help bring awareness.” And she’s done it!

Flea Market Mix Moda Catalog Cover

Welcome Cathe! We look forward to seeing what’s next!

Learn more about Cathe at her website, her Etsy shop, on her Instagram feed @catheholden. 

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