greener crafting: share your ideas

I can be a total bleeding heart sometimes and often wonder about the impact of my craft(s) on the environment.  Living in a small city fairly well removed from any major metropolis doesn’t help that as options for truly eco-friendly suppliers are limited locally, forcing us into the toss up between buying local but possibly not ethical or buying ethical online and the carbon kick-back to go with it.  That being said, as a whole Peterborough is made up of a pretty eco-minded population.  As a lot of what I do is working with the textiles, and the textiles industry being notorious for corrupt, inhumane, environmentally unfriendly practices I get asked a lot about the steps I take to minimize my ecological footprint and that’s a challenging question to answer.  Here are some of the things I do:

-I use and reuse just about everything: I keep buckets for all kinds of scraps and ends depending on size.  Serger trimmings become stuffing for display items, stuffies and pillows.  Stabilizer scraps are used for buttonholing and other small items.  Cutting scraps become scarves and appliques, etc…

-When I come across a good, ethical online supplier I buy in bulk.  I try to keep a monetary stash for just such things because that’s often what is required to do so.  I also open it up to group purchases to spread the costs out and offset the footprint even more.

-I reuse a lot.  Luckily I have a great network of supportive family and friends who keep their eyes open for potential sources of reclaimables for me.

-I encourage fixing over throwing away and buying new.  I really don’t like mending jobs but I would rather see a zipper replaced on an otherwise good winter coat than see that coat in landfill.  I sometimes charge for this but most times open up my tools and resources to others so they can learn to do it for themselves.

-I shop at home to make my creative space more efficient and productive.  I believe almost every craftsperson hits a plateau wherein their space just doesn’t seem to be able to accomodate everything it needs to hold anymore.  Rather than rushing out and buying new stuff I’ll have a look through my home to see if there’s already something here which could be switched up to accommodate things better.  Sometimes that means heavy bargaining with other members of the household, but negotiations are healthy too.

I’m sure there’s more which is too close to see but that’s a start.  I would love to hear your thoughts and ideas on crafting greener too!



Filed under artgasms, domestics

4 responses to “greener crafting: share your ideas

  1. I totally understand where you are coming from. I use a lot of cottons and otherwise “vegan” materials. When I do want to buy wool/alpaca/etc, I will try to find out as much about the company from which I am buying (animal husbandry practices, whether the company is ecologically sound in it’s production and shipping, etc.) Whenever possible (which is almost never right now) I try to find suppliers locally. It is my absolute dream to run a yarn farm, the amount of fluffy kids that would be required would have me waist deep in happy for years.
    I am also a notorious frogger. I will unwind any project that isn’t being used on a regular basis to scavenge yarn for reuse in a gift or something that would actually gain use in our house.
    I’ve already told you about my hope to make yarn out of tee shirts, however I have always wanted to learn to spin yarn and use natural dyes made from teas, berries, and natural bleaches such as lemon juice. I have a lot of ambitions, and if I was able to achieve even one of my plans, I would be very happy.

  2. Love your post! Great ideas, makes me think about what else I could re-use in my house to craft more greeting cards. 🙂


  3. CT

    Excellent post! Loved it! – CT

  4. Great eco tips there, Melanie. In my shop, it’s “waste not want not”. I even use the scraps to keep my house warm!

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