Transparency & Ethics
I believe there should be transparency in business practices. What does it cost to make something in terms of labor, materials, time? How are things made? What’s in the “guts” of a piece you love? What is the material, honestly? Is it vintage, synthetic, natural, reclaimed, ethical? If I don’t know I will always be upfront. Though I am pretty knowledgable in many mediums and practices, I am not an expert by any means – and won’t ever pretend to be.
Honesty : that is the backbone of my brand.
Until the regard for handmade is considered of value for time and expertise required, and materials, I will cannot charge truly the cost. As a maker I need to be reasonable in the worth to a consumer and trade it for what it is worth my time and interest in creating it. For example of interest, my mom, an avid knitter thinks I should make yarn bowls. I don’t think they’re practical, it’s not of interest to me (or interesting) and ultimately I don’t think it’s the most rational medium for the job. Plenty of people like to make them and so you should support them if you like them. On practicality, a goo example of time is explaining the time making a hand knit sweater. It may take 5 months (4 hrs/day x 5 days). That’s roughly 400 hours. Even at $1 an hour could you afford a $400 sweater for the time alone. Would you be willing to pay $60-$120 for high quality beautiful yarn needed to make it?
If we cherished pieces more; bought what we love and need the way we used to before the industrial age, we just might have a more sustainable mindset.
In the supply chain of a solopreneur like me it is one persons work. Me. I am a capable spinner, weaver, knitter, sewer and dyer so I will do all of this when the project merits. I am cognizant of the cost of time and materials. If a project is too costly to make you will never see it.
I won’t go on sale any more than a couple times of year because I value my experience, craft and dedication in time and price without upcharges as large brands do. This is not fair. I’ll never attempt to “move merchandise” as this is a gift of my love and life and nothing more. I want you to cherish it, not buy it because it was a good price.
Lastly, I do rely on “the machine” as the days simply are not long enough and I do not have an estate with a smithy, shepherds, ceramic barns and storage silos. I would never want to be that self-sustaining or choose to avoid needing other people. We all have a value and place in this world and we should embrace community.
In my professional life I have worked for small creative boutiques and large fashion and retail brands in the private and corporate sectors. The supply chain and operations has never been lost on me. In the way we live today, the machine and the factories will always be a way of life. It has a place with as much importance as small batch creation with nature; by hand and with purpose. New items are still needed right alongside reclaimed and repurposed. There will always be need for things like hardware, tools, clays, buckets, sewing machines, needles, zippers, fabric, wool, etc. To say zero waste is a misnomer and there is no such thing.
My promise is that whenever possible, I commit to resourcing as consciously as I am able. Diligently supporting small businesses and farms, locally when possible. As I take relationships seriously it may take me across state lines or across the globe when a common mission is for this earth or it is so specialty I simply have no choice. Whenever possible it is Made In the USA to limit footprint. This is not a nationalist point of view, it’s carbon conscious viewpoint. I source wool and cotton from New York State when I can and travel for my work as little as possible. Everything crafted is made in my studio. Sewn pieces are often powered simply by my hand with a no-electricity Singer 201 vintage handcrank machine. I have 3 other remarkable vintage machines that I rely on (all for different reasons). Botanically dyed items are primarily sourced in walking distance in the abundance of this terrain or in the dye garden I have designed and nurture regularly near the house. Ceramics are created here and will be fired more efficiently with sustainable methods, utilizing raw materials as local as possible with plant materials. Ceramics is not a sustainable medium, but by creating sample pieces or small batches there are not items fired without a home waiting for them.
Practices and Beliefs
Plastics have a place but not for everything. Clamshell cases to protect scissors is the biggest oxy moron I know and in my opinion is ill conceived. Their purpose is to prevent theft rather than protect the earth. Plastic, shock-proof containers to keep items from spilling and breaking though do. I don’t openly choose plastic unless it has a purpose. Oftentimes there are better substitutes and openly chose those substitutes if only to increase demand for better technology, ie. cornstarch and sugarcane plastic bags and biodegradable compost bags/containers. And even with that there are arguments that there is not enough oxygen when compacted to breakdown. I believe any steps to move away from fossil fuel burning when not necessary is the right step.
Acid and Reactive Dyes
Any chemical that is harmful to the earth is not something I take lightly. I am not perfect, but generally I will not use these dyes as I enjoy extracting from plant matters far more. Seasons effect harvest availability, but I do believe our constant demand for what we want when we wanted needs to be tamped somewhat. All good things are worth waiting for. There are plenty of dyers out there that insist on intense, brilliant colors. There’s a place for every taste level but as I understand how poisonous and dangerous acid dyes are for our skin, bloodstream and water systems I just simply will never use them for the health of my body and yours.
This is the most conflicted of the issues for me. I see both sides. If there is a more rational, efficient way of seeing something that will always guide my decisions. I appreciate the dedication of vegans and vegetarians. Since I am quite slight of frame, for health reasons, I eat meat. Simply, though, whatever the argument, there is a circle of life that is must bigger than us. If we stopped eating meat there would be a surplus of animals, the balance of predator and prey would be off balance. Overcrowded habitat, starvation. We would hit animals with the cars we refuse to downsize or limit. The issue is the humanity in how we deal with this issue. Do we need fur lined hoods for our performance jackets? How about the microfleece that is “vegetarian”, made from synthetic materials that are polluting our waters and killing our sealife? Silk fiber. Incredibly strong, lustrous, light and breathable, one of the most supreme fibers kills the pupa whether it is “cruelty free” (starved when hatched not having enough food source) or are killed instantly when boiled. There are no clear answers to any of these.
The best option that is the most rational. I would always chose natural fibers that breakdown on this earth over time. Leathers are strong and can be rejuvenated over and over again if well cared for, cottons from fair trade, organic fields bring home less illness to the family of those that tend the field. Fiber from animals that is spun, woven, knit, crocheted, knotted (macrame) into hard wearing, beautiful and warm pieces is using an animal in important ways.
Shipping / Packing
As I won’t ever be, or wish to be Amazon, I will happily reuse their boxes or anyone elses, local newspapers and/or any packing needed to get your item to your door safely. Your hard-earned money is not meant to pay extra for packing as well shipping costs. I can not control shipping costs but I can control packing costs. I love a nice presentation. This is my background as a Graphic Designer and believe you do deserve it for supporting me, I just hope you can understand that I love the earth and don’t mind the dig.