We had a whole day on Manufacture and Sustainability at Uni today. A slight coincidence that this was the day after Renegade. These are two aspects that I have a lot of views and thoughts on- particularly in relationship with my 'practice' or my artwork/business. I'm not going to go into great detail about it all, but we had a few lectures from various people on our economy and our role as designers and what the kinds of problems/solutions that are out there.
As a small business woman- or at least someone who makes things and sells them, this was great to hear what other people were thinking about on this issue. Personally, I'd quite happily go back to the age of apprenticeships and learning a skill and trading things made with that skill for things made with another skill by another person. But in reality, the world we live in is based on consumerism and there is that pesky old thing called money.
We touched on a lot of topics during the day and it got me thinking about how I personally use and consume things, how much waste I am making- and the positive things I'm already doing to minimize my effect on the planet. And why I'm making these things at all. (It was good to know I had good answers to these already!)
One of those things is my love of reusing and making new things out of something old or something that would just be thrown away. I keep cardboard, envelopes and other papers to use in my artwork. My mum thinks I'm crazy because depending on what I'm doing at the moment, I can sometimes have massive stacks of cardboard in my house. But I love making things out of it (In fact, all of the Framed Swatches are backed with reused cardboard instead of new card).When I opened up my Etsy shop, I bought a whole load of envelopes for packing and sending out orders. It felt wrong to be buying paper products that would just be thrown away at the other end, which would also increase the amount you'd have to pay for shipping. After a few months of this I realized "HEY! It's your business. Do the packaging like you want to." So I decided that I would try and make as many of my envelopes and packages from reused papers and packets. I had a few accidents at first, but then perfected it. We stick cereal box cardboard inside the envelopes and tape the edges now so nothing gets crinkled or hurt in the travel.I know it's just a little thing, but it has saved me hugely money-wise and it feels good to know that these envelopes get a second (or even third!) life when they travel across the world to you. Feel free to re-cover or sticker over them when you get them and send a friend a letter.
So when you buy from Art Equals Happy please know that every part of the process- from concept to shipping- has been thought through with sustainability in mind and there is very little waste. :]
P.s. I took these photos this afternoon.