Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Green Crafting

When you read the words "Green Crafts" what comes to mind? For me, a variety of craft activities and movements fight to be noticed first.There is:

The Wardrobe Refashionista, who take what's already in their closets -and on the racks at thrift stores- then cut, sew, design, dye, alter in some way to make a new wardrobe item.

The Guerrila crafter like Knitta who use scraps to create unconvention art pieces around the world.

Crafting a Green World that discuss using safer chemicals, organics, renewable items to make craft.

StashBusters (like our project here) that support using already purchased supplies instead of rushing to buy more. While this might be "green" in result, at the moment the impetus seems to be economic in nature, not inspired by concern for the planet.

Likely more different divisions.

Looking at these items, I'm not seeing much of a unifiying theme. Is "green" crafting concerned with saving the earth, saving our spirits or saving our wallets? Is it based on the resources we use or where we find them? Can it be forward looking?

These themes were recently discussed in one of Diane Gilleland's Crafty Podcasts: Crafting Green: What's It Mean? Gilleland prefers to consider the term "sustainable" instead of "green".

Examining the idea of sustainability, Gilleland first took the time to inventory her crafty supplies. Store like items together and make a list of what she already owns. Using this inventory list can be a jumping off spot for your crafty inspiration.. or assure you that acceptable substitutions do exist in your craft room.

My favorite of her suggestions? Examine the UFOs sitting in your room. Not those projects you are actively working on, but all those projects that you've realistically given up on. How many supplies do you have tied up in "never to be done" projects? Instead of torturing yourself with the reminder of these items, Gilleland suggests that you reclaim it - unstitching the sewn items to get back pieces; unknitting or uncrocheting to reclaim the yarns, undoing the beading to be able to now use those beads.

Hold a reclamation party with your crafty friends and maybe even swap some your now reclaimed supplies!

There are many links and ideas in the show notes. Make sure to check them out.

Listening to this podcast, I'm still struck that there isn't anything approaching a unifiying idea when it comes to "green crafting". The term I think is too broad and too all-encompassing for me to want to use anymore. Sustainable crafting, upcycled crafting, recycled crafting, stash busting, reclaimed materials, sustainable supplies, non-toxic supplies. These terms are all much more specific and understandable in use.

So although "green crafting" is a hot term, I will try to retire it from my conversations. Instead, I'll use the more descriptive term for whatever I'm trying to explain.

Other Readings:

After listening to this podcast, Rob Walker of Murketing reacted in Craft And Green.
All in all a very thoughtful discussion, and another example of why, when I talk to people about the book and they ask me what I’m keeping an eye on this year, I still say it’s this DIYism subculture.

In comments following the podcast notes, Betz White adds another thought on green crafting:
Something to add: Think about crafting items that encourage “green” habits, ie: sewing up a set of cloth napkins or reusable grocery totes.
Betz should know. She recently published a book called: Sewing Green.

And how about you? What does "green crafting" mean to you? How do you craft green?

I also blog at: Weight for Deb and BlogHer on Wednesdays and Saturdays.

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