At first glance an outsider would assume that green-crafting is only about reusing what most would automatically throw away. ‘Junk’, immediately comes to mind when I think of the word re-cycle. Who wants to recycle? I want new. I can assume I am not alone in this thought surrounding consumerism. New, bigger, better, brighter is what makes me feel part of the bigger whole. It bolsters my thoughts on living well and succeeding at living well.
But as with all things shiny and new there is a hefty price along with the additional price I inflict on the environment. How much stuff do I really need? Green-crafting is really about how to appreciate materials that are casually discarded as waste and eventually crowding our landfills needlessly. Green-crafting is also about lifestyle choices and a way in which I interact with the world. If I see beauty or a repurposing feature in materials that are regularly discarded I feel this spills over into my general behaviour and interaction in my world. It is sort of like, thinking before acting and being responsible by, thinking before throwing. I am more conscious about consuming less, more conscious about waste prior to consuming and more conscious about how I treat the earth and everything in it. This type of behaviour is also reflected in how I treat me.
I am not a perfectly green human; not be a long-shot. Unless I completely remove myself from the planet - the greenest I can become - but even then, death is difficult to do green, I don’t think anyone is completely and wholly green. There is no such thing as living perfectly green. But if I do my part then at the very least I feel less guilt about the times when I can’t be green and can’t avoid my own footprints.
Green-crafting spills over into my way of life effortlessly in all ways of thinking and doing. Green is about giving not receiving. Green is about living respectfully and mindfully. Green is about awareness and paying attention. Where ever I am on my green journey I can always be greener. Green-crafting is about green living. Green living teaches me to pay attention, to be more aware, to be more present and conscious in my changing world. Being green before being an artist has lead to opening my mind up to a new way of seeing creativity. Garbage is no longer garbage to me but rather presents a challenge to use the material in art-making. Green-crafting has made me into a better person and a better artist. As a green artist I am always looking at ways to re-use, up-cycle, alter and change materials to incorporate in art instead of buying new. When I use what is surrounding me in my space whether it is a found object, an old magazine, or a food box I am pushing my imagination to work harder at creating a greener way of living.
Melinda Erickson Barnett and I are aligned not only in our green thoughts as artist but also in what we want to create in art that is green. I was thinking about making a festive holiday village. I watched a video where the creator purchased paper-mache houses from the craft store. As a green artist I struggled to figure out how I could recreate a green holiday village. I thought and thought about it but nothing was surfacing for me. When this happens to me, and I cannot figure out what to do with my project, I give my brain a rest and trust the idea will surface when it is meant to present itself to me. I let go of the struggle but hold on to the idea.
As green luck would have it I visited Melinda’s blog to see what she had been up to as of late and there was her festive village staring me right in the face. She had been feeling the need to create a green village at the same times as me but had superseded me (which is not surprising) and had made her houses from cracker boxes. Brilliant! I had my answer.
Melinda and I met through GreenCraft magazine. I contacted her a year ago after receiving my artist’s complimentary copy of my published security stamped Christmas envelopes. I am happy to have connected with Melinda for many many reasons.
Melinda shares all she knows with the world in all ways green. She fills GreenCraft magazine with such ingenuity and creativity it is pleasantly mind-boggling. As a giving green person she also shares her tips and ticks so that you too can be a green artist. Sharing and giving is green in a larger way with positive impact and not a single footprint.
My creations below were stifled and stalled for a very long time until I read one of Melinda’s jewelry tips in the latest GreenCraft Magazine. I simply could not get passed my stumbling block and my shopping bag handle accessories were going nowhere fast. Finally inside the pages of the winter issue, in her article on Flower Pot Thimble Necklaces pg. 40, it was there: use a tooth pick to apply glue in hard to reach, tight fitting spots. Eureka! I found my answer to what felt like all my problems solved. Thanks Melinda for all the green goodness you share with the world, and with me!